Founded in 1998, the mission of International Ballet Exchange (IBE) is to bring high-quality, classical ballet education and performances to Philadelphia public school students from diverse racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds; to foster valuable artistic and life skills, international understanding, and aesthetic awareness; and to make appreciation of and participation in ballet accessible to all.
IBE grew out of a partnership in the 1990s between the Wissahickon Dance Academy in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia and the Donetsk Ballet of Ukraine. IBE’s presence in the Philadelphia public schools began in 1999 with a pilot at Simon Gratz High School in North Philadelphia: 25 students received free ballet lessons with a ballet master from the company and then had the rare experience of performing with the Donetsk Ballet in a free community performance of Peer Gynt.
Since then, IBE has brought more than 40 great ballet performances to more than 70,000 Philadelphia school students, teachers, and community members; provided more than 1,600 public school students the experience of performing in a fully staged ballet with professional artists and advanced-level students, and given nearly 1,800 local ballet students a chance to perform with world-class professionals.
International Ballet Exchange is an approved Strategic Partner of the School District of Philadelphia.
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