Looking back

Message from the founders

One of our most important achievements is to have had the privilege of providing a place where thousands of students of all ages have been able to experience the challenges and joys of discovering the art of classical ballet in a wholesome, creative atmosphere.

-Margarita and John White

  • 1974

    Founders Mr. and Mrs. John White posing for a portrait in the 1970's.The Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet was established by Margarita and John White.

  • First studio

    Students of the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet at the barre in 1974.The original location was rented space on the second floor above the Narberth Movie Theater. Their goal was to provide a quality education in the art of classical ballet to serious students of all ages.

  • 1975

    First generation owners Margarita and John white posing with students of the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet in 1975.First paid Lecture Demonstrations in public and private schools.

  • 1977

    John White gave his first Vaganova Teachers’ Seminar. To date Mr. White has given his seminar in both national and international venues to over seven hundred novice and professional teachers, ballet masters and directors.

  • 1978

    The first group of graduates began to work professionally in the United States and abroad.

  • 1979

    Dancers rehearsing in the new studio at 29 N. Narberth Avenue.John and Margarita purchased and renovated a warehouse/garage 2 blocks up the street from the Movie Theater relocating to 29 N. Narberth Avenue.

  • 1980

    In 1980, students who received contracts with professional companies began signing '"the wall."The tradition of signing “The Wall” at PAB began and continues to this day. Once a PAB student is offered a professional contract they are invited to sign. To date the wall is signed by alumni dancing and working in classical, modern, Broadway and theatrical venues around the world.

  • 1980-1984

    Invited by the Philadelphia Orchestra to perform in their Children’s Concert series at the Academy of Music.

  • 1986

    The Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet Society was founded as a non-profit organization to train and help gifted pre-professional students find positions in professional companies and to offer high quality, low cost performances bringing the joy and art of classical ballet to all audiences.

  • 1990

    After performing excerpts of the Nutcracker Ballet in several different locations, PABS was invited to sponsor the staging of the complete ballet in the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center. This annual production, casting students and alumni of PAB, attracts thousands of attendees every year.

  • 1996

    The University Press of Florida published Teaching Classical Ballet authored by John White

  • 2005

    mirrorDancePAB was featured in the PBS documentary “Mirror Dance” the story of Cuban-born identical twins Ramona and Margarita de Saá White, who become estranged through politics when one moves to the United States and the other remains behind.

  • 2008

    RussiaAprilPAB sponsored a trip to Saint Petersburg, Russia where students and parents visited many cultural and historical sites. Highlights of the tour included visiting and observing classes at the Vaganova Academy and attending several performances of the Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet at the Mariinsky Theater.

  • 2009

    The University Press of Florida published Advanced Principle in Teaching Classical Ballet authored by John White

  • 2011

    Screening of Mao's last dancer in Philadelphia, PA hosted by author and former dancer Li Cunxin.PAB was invited to perform at the screening of Mao’s Last Dancer in Philadelphia, PA hosted by author and former dancer Li Cunxin.

  • 2013

    Second generation owner Melinda Pendleton with her parents, Margarita and John White.PAB becomes a 2nd generation owned business when Margarita and John White pass the torch to daughter (PAB Alumni and former professional dancer) Melinda (White) Pendleton.