By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – While announcing the Pennsylvania Ballet’s 50th Anniversary celebration and the upcoming season, the company paid special tribute to its founder.

As company dancers rehearsed next door, a roomful of grateful followers, including Pennsylvania Ballet Artistic Director Roy Kaiser, praised Barbara Weisberger’s profound influence on the contemporary American ballet scene:

Pa. Ballet dancers rehearsing (Credit: Steve Tawa)

Pa. Ballet dancers rehearsing (Credit: Steve Tawa)

“Barbara is an icon. She doesn’t like it when I say that. She says she doesn’t feel like it.

She founded the Pennsylvania Ballet in 1962 and led the company for the next 20-years.

“Barbara did more than found a ballet company. She helped a movement. She helped take this art form out of new york city,” Kaiser said.

Ms. Weisberger told the crowd the now 50-year-old company is representative of what Philadelphia is all about.

“The sassiest, brave, still doing wonderful things in repertoire, and sure as heck, the lovingest,” she said.

Then the room sang happy birthday to the now 87-year-old visionary leader.

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