About IBE


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.

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Ballet is for everyone. The diversity of our dancers and the blending of students and professionals on stage—hallmarks since our founding—importantly connect our student and community audiences with this art form that too often is perceived as being for only a few.

A high-quality education is every child’s right. A high-quality education that builds cognitive, social, and emotional skills includes experiences with the arts as an audience member and as a participant.


1. To make ballet accessible to young people across Philadelphia through the experience of ballet as a performance art.

  • Our free, 30-week ballet course for the Philadelphia public schools thought by highly skilled professional dance educators, culminates with participation in performance,
  • We present fully staged ballet exclusively for school audience, To deepen the experience of seeing a ballet we provide their teachers with educational materials to use pre-and post-performance 
  • Our performances provide meaningful opportunities for local students of ballet to perform with professionals and to share their art with others.

2. To share the experience of ballet to the Greater Philadelphia community through accessible, affordable ballet performances featuring diverse casts and that blend students and professionals on stage.


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.

IBE is a member of the Pennsylvania Dance Education Organization 

IBE is a member of the RISE Partnership 2020 Readiness Cohort

IBE is a member of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance and participates in DataArts.

IBE has received Guidestar's 2021 Platinum Seal of Transparency.

IBE is expanding its fee-based services and reach! If you are interested in having an IBE teaching artist lead a workshop, guest intensive, or residency, please contact us at internationalballet@verizon.net. Our fees are based on the type of program, location, number to be served, and period of the activity.

In its delivery of programs and services, International Ballet Exchange does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, religion, creed, citizenship status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, genetic information, national origin, medical condition, veteran status or any other protected status under applicable law.