Lake Erie Academy of Dance - Faculty


Leslie Lista Petasis

Leslie was trained as a classical ballet dancer in the Vaganova (Russian) tradition at the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet.  Her teachers were principal dancers of the National Ballet of Cuba, Margarita de Saa and her American husband, John White.  Margarita was understudy to the legend, Alicia Alonso, and Mr. White studied the Vaganova Method in Russia and brought it to the National Ballet of Cuba School, which he helped to create.  Leslie studied under their tutelage for 8 years and danced in the Performing Group in her last two years at PAB.  Leslie went on to become a Ballet Performance Major at Indiana University’s School of Music in Bloomington, IN, receiving a Music Merit Award and performing with the Indiana University Ballet Theater group for five semesters.  Over the years, Leslie has danced in the Nutcracker, Les Sylphides, Firebird, and excerpts from Giselle and Coppelia.  She ultimately transferred to the Biology Department and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biology at IU, and then a Master’s degree in Science Education at the University of Pittsburgh.

Leslie returned to ballet after moving with her husband to Allegheny College, where he is still Professor of Physics.  After taking a couple of dance classes and performing in several dance concert there, Leslie was offered a position in the Dance & Movement Studies Department teaching the Upper Level Ballet Technique course.  It is here that she developed her ballet teaching skills, and even took her former teacher, Mr. White’s, Vaganova Seminar, with funding from Allegheny College.  Leslie also developed her choreographic skills at Allegheny, creating pieces with students from her classes for several December Cookie & Milk Concerts and an original piece for the Spring Concert one year with dancers by invitation only.  Leslie is currently the Administrative and Instructional Design Assistant for the Master’s in Medical Education Program at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.