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Jean Weidner Goldstein, Founder and Chair Emerita, The Sarasota Ballet

“Investing in the arts is an investment in our future.”

Presented by The Sarasota Ballet September 27, 2021

Jean Weidner Goldstein’s philanthropy and leadership have impacted the Sarasota community for over 30 years. Born in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in southern Africa, Jean enjoyed an illustrious career, performing all over the world and attaining the rank of Principal Ballerina with John Cranko’s Stuttgart Ballet.

As a community leader in Sarasota, Jean has influenced nonprofits throughout the city. Boards on which Jean has served in addition to The Sarasota Ballet include the Sarasota Orchestra, the Sarasota Opera, the Sarasota Arts Council, the Film Festival, the Asolo Repertory Theatre Company, and presently Selby Gardens as co-chair of the strategic plan. She co-founded the Designing Women’s Charitable Boutique. Her greatest impact, however, has been the founding of The Sarasota Ballet. Through her leadership and philanthropy, it grew from a regional presenting company in 1987 to now being one of America’s internationally recognized ballet companies. 

In addition, Jean’s dream for The Sarasota Ballet included using dance to inspire new generations of children, regardless of economic background. This idea became Dance – The Next Generation, the keystone of The Sarasota Ballet’s community engagement programs, and has brought thousands of students into the dance studio and onto higher education. 

Today, The Sarasota Ballet continues to expand upon Jean’s foundation. Under the leadership of Director Iain Webb, Executive Director Joseph Volpe, and Assistant Director Margaret Barbieri, The Sarasota Ballet has received national and international recognition for its artistry and artistic integrity. Combined with a remarkably diverse and prestigious repertoire of ballets, and sold-out national tours, The Sarasota Ballet has gone from strength to strength, ensuring an everlasting legacy for its founder.

About Our Community Programs

  • The Sarasota Ballet’s Community Engagement Programs bring dance to thousands of people each year, at little or no cost.
  • Dance – The Next Generation touches the lives of over 150 students every year, providing free dance education and enrichment to those most at need.
  • Joyful Movement Through Parkinson’s, in partnership with the Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson’s, uses dance and carefully constructed simple exercises to positively affect those living with the disease.
  • Silver Swans offers a dance and movement program specially designed by the Royal Academy of Dance for those over 55.
  • Public School Performances and Programs bring the artistry of ballet to thousands of students a year, providing vital access to arts education.

The Sarasota Ballet
5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34243
(941) 359-0099