Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet remembers Marcia Dale Weary

Carlisle, Pa. – Marcia Dale Weary passed away at the age of 82 on March 4.

Marcia was born in Carlisle on March 31, 1936, the middle daughter of Dale and Melva Weary. She is survived by her sister Sandra Weary.

Marcia attended elementary schools in Pennsylvania and Alabama. She graduated from Carlisle High School in 1953. Marcia was passionate about two things – she loved to teach and she loved to dance.

She studied dance at local schools and spent summers in New York City attending classes at the School of Ballet Repertory. She was an instructor with the Hopper School of Dancing. While Marcia never danced professionally, perhaps her greatest accomplishments are in the world of dance.

Marcia founded the Marcia Dale School of Dance in 1955, where she taught classes daily and developed a teaching curriculum that is now trademarked and renowned in the industry for turning out exceptional dancers. Her vision was to give every child the opportunity to have access to exceptional ballet training. In 1962 Marcia Dale Weary and Richard Wynekoop of Carlisle founded the Ballet Guild of Central Pennsylvania to create a performing company that would present full-length ballet programs.

In 1974, the Marcia Dale School of Dance became Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet – a nonprofit school and performing company. Today, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet is an internationally recognized school of classical ballet. Thousands of young people have passed through its acclaimed studios. Alumni are principals, soloists and corps de ballet members in the top companies in the world, including American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Boston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, and the Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance, to name a few.

Marcia was hailed as one of the greatest ballet teachers of the time. She forged the path from a local dancing school to a global institution. Her unequaled dedication to her school, students and instructors and her unique teaching style have brought Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet to the top of the dance field as a celebrated leader in dance education. In 1989, the New York Times stated that Weary is “considered one of the country’s foremost ballet teachers.” It also stated that Ms. Weary produces “dancers well known in the ballet world.” According to Dance Teacher magazine, she “produces students who have the whole package – attention to detail, early technical development, and a broad socialization into the arts. She and CPYB have been featured in leading newspapers and magazines, television news and features, books and in the award-winning documentary film presented on national public television, ‘Children with a Dream’.”

Marcia was the 1992 recipient of the Distinguished Service to the Arts Award for Central Pennsylvania; and the 2000 Carlisle Regional Arts Award, of which she was the first recipient. In June of 2005 she was recognized by the Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives for the 50 years of contributing to the cultural enrichment and enjoyment of countless citizens in Central Pa.

In 2007 Marcia received the Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for the Arts for Outstanding Leadership and Service to Youth; the 2009 Distinguished Citizen of the Commonwealth Award; the Central Penn Business Journal 2010 Woman of Influence Award for her leadership, integrity and accomplishments; and most recently, an Honorary Doctorate of Performing Arts from Dickinson College in recognition of her contributions to the performing arts.

Marcia, as the founder and director of the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, never wavered from her vision to provide rigorous dance training for serious students and to enhance the cultural climate of the Central Pennsylvania Region through ballet performances. Marcia remained active in CPYB throughout her life, teaching more than 25 classes a week into her eighties.

Under Marcia’s leadership and guidance, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet has grown to a staff and faculty of 95, currently has 300 academic year students and an average of 600 students who come from around the world for the acclaimed summer program. In addition to producing successful dancers, Marcia has helped develop teachers, choreographers and administrators who have impacted the dance industry. Her exponential influence on the dance world is a ripple that can never fully be measured.

“Marcia built Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet from the ground up. She has passed down her practices to the faculty and staff of Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet so that her teaching and values will live on forever. Her beauty will continue to echo throughout the walls of the studios and into our hearts,” said CEO Nicholas Ade.

Marcia once said, “At every possible opportunity, I hope to instill in children a love for the arts and for classical music. Along with that, I hope to help them develop self-discipline, generosity, and the ability to focus.” There is no doubt that Marcia accomplished all of this and more in her life dedicated to teaching and dance. Her legacy lives on in all the lives she has touched and the strong organization that is Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, which is well positioned to continue to inspire, educate and impact the lives of its students, the community, and the world at large.

In lieu of flowers, donations made be made to Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet to honor Marcia’s legacy.

For more information about the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, visit

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