Amazing Women of the Suncoast: Jean Weidner Goldstein

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SARASOTA, Fla. - Our dedication to the arts is one thing that sets Sarasota apart and attracts other art lovers and supporters from all over the world. Today's Amazing Woman has had a big hand in shaping the art world here on the Suncoast.

Jean Weidner Goldstein was born in South Africa, into a family of six. Her dad was a former Soccer Coach. She started dancing at 4 and a half, and in her teens was spotted by professional  Cape Town companies, but her mother insisted she complete her business education. And Jean says that has been an immense help, as she went on to found two Ballet Companies and a upscale consignment shop called "Designing Women".

She joined the Struttgart company, danced with them for 14 years, married her conductor and when he moved to the United States and started an orchestra in Indiana. Jean moved there, too,  and started a ballet company that is still going strong today, 27 years later.

When that marriage broke up , on a visit to Sarasota she met Kenneth Weidner. Things really got serious on a fishing trip while he announced that he was "Hooked" by Jean. . So  in 1987 she moved to Sarasota. She started the Sarasota Ballet a few months later, and a program called "Dance, the next Generation" for underprivileged children.

She and some of her society friends started "Designing Women" an upscale consignment shop, which has become the coolest place in town to shop. They have raised lots of money for local arts groups.

After being a widow for 10 years, Jean recently married long time friend,  Al Goldstein. And she says she is a very happy woman. Her life lesson, "If you're a leader you have to lead from the front. Do anything you ask anyone else to do. Always express your thanks to people."

She is really excited about the Sarasota Ballet Production "John Ringling Circus Nutcracker". It's at the Van Wezel this weekend.