Photo: Alexander Iziliaev
The Philadelphia Youth Ballet (PYB) was founded in the fall of 2011 to inspire dedicated young dancers by providing them with a professional training environment and additional performance opportunities. PYB rehearsals and performances present an opportunity for young dancers to develop their artistry and build confidence, enhancing the technical precision demanded in their daily technique classes.
PYB members perform in the Nutcracker, their own Spring Concert, and Community Events and Festivals each year. Details on each of these performances opportunities as well as some FAQs are below.
Online audition forms must be completed in advance. There are separate forms for Nutcracker, PYB, Boys Ballet Scholarship Program, or placement for the school year.
Links to these forms are available on our homepage each summer in advance of audition day.
All Philadelphia Dance Academy ballet students age 5 and older have the opportunity to audition for our annual production of the Nutcracker. Philadelphia Youth Ballet members must participate in the Nutcracker. Most Nutcracker rehearsals are held on Saturday afternoons (typically 1pm – 5pm) from mid-September through mid-December (we are off Thanksgiving weekend). We have an occasional Sunday afternoon rehearsal for dances that need additional rehearsal time. Students may not miss more than 2 rehearsals. These absences should really be reserved for sick days.
Annual Spring Concert
PYB produces a performance of both classical and contemporary repertoire each spring. The concert is usually in mid-March. The show features choreography by PDA faculty, students from Drexel University Dance Department, and, sometimes, PYB members. Rehearsals for the concert are held on Saturday afternoons (typically 1pm – 5pm) from the first week back in January after Winter Break through mid-March (we are off Presidents’ Day weekend). Due to the very quick turnaround time between Winter Break and this concert, students may not miss more than 1 rehearsal. This absence should really be reserved for a sick day.
Community Events and Festivals
PYB performs regularly in Philadelphia and the surrounding community. Each time we book a community performance, we will email the rehearsal and performance details to all members and ask for their availability. The ensemble also holds periodic community events and seminars. Recent performances have included:
-National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C.
-South Street Festival
-Welcome America 4th of July Celebration
-Old City Fest
-Taney Park Festival
-Liberty Place Tree Lighting
-RiverRink Tree Lighting
-Headhouse Square Winter Wonderland
-LOVE Park’s Christmas Village
Drexel University: ongoing collaboration – PYB members audition to be part of works choreographed by guest choreographers from Drexel University. Works are presented in the Annual Spring Concert.
Spoke the Hub Modern Dance Ensemble, Brooklyn, NY: April 2013 – Dancers from the Brooklyn-based studio visited Philadelphia and participated in our spring concert. PYB then traveled to Brooklyn to perform in Spoke the Hub’s Young Artists’ Workshop.
Play On, Philly! and Live Connections: May 2013 – PYB members partnered with young musicians from Play On, Philly! and Live Connections to present a student-produced original work at World Café Live as part of their Classic Alive! Series.
ArteProyecto, Guatemala: April 2014 – In the spring of 2014 we hosted Guatemalan youth dance ensemble ArteProyecto for a week of classes that culminated in a showing of work by both companies.
Downtown Performing Arts Center, Lambertville, NJ: June 2014 – 2014 featured another performance exchange, with DPAC students joining our spring concert and PYB members performing with DPAC at the Washington Crossing Open Air Theatre.
PYB Student Choreography Project: March 2015 – The 4th Annual Spring Concert was the first one to feature work by PYB members. Those who expressed interest in choreographing were placed into groups of 3 and worked for weeks on setting work on fellow PYB members.
Intergenerational Project: March 2016 – Judith Sachs of Anyone Can Dance facilitated a movement exploration that crossed generations.
Annual Spring Showcase
At the end of each school year, PYB presents excerpts from classical story ballets as part of The Philadelphia Dance Academy’s Spring Showcase.
How old do you have to be to join the company?
Students age 8 and older enrolled in level Ballet 3/3X and up are welcome to audition.
What are the training requirements?
Ensemble members are required to take a minimum of two ballet technique classes weekly, up to six technique classes weekly for older students. Ensemble members are also required to train over the summer, although that training does not need to be here at PDA.
How do you become a member?
Annual auditions occur each Summer/Fall on the same day as our annual Nutcracker audition. Dates are posted in advance.
Who should audition for the company?
Students who love to perform and are willing to commit to the PYB Saturday rehearsal schedule in addition to taking a minimum of two technique classes per week. IMPORTANT: Membership in PYB is a year-long commitment. Students may not miss more than two Nutcracker rehearsals or one rehearsal in the spring (after Winter Break, PYB returns to Saturday afternoon rehearsals to prepare for their Spring Concert). Members are expected to act as role models for younger students here at PDA. A mature, respectful attitude is expected at all times.
What are the benefits of joining the company?
Company members learn a varied repertoire of classical ballet, contemporary, and other styles, which allow them to develop the versatility that is required for a career in the performing arts. They have regular performance opportunities in a wide variety of venues, from small informal festivals to large professional theaters. The diversity of these experiences fosters confidence and improves performance skills. As company members, students learn the intrinsic reward of working together towards a common goal and seeing the results of their hard work and discipline in each successful performance.
What is the performance/membership fee?
PYB annual membership fee is $425 ($250 plus the $175 Nutcracker fee). The performance/membership fee covers: the cost of costumes, backdrop and prop rentals and purchases, theater rental, theater technical staff, professional guest artists, program printing, and faculty for weekly rehearsals.