In 1974, The Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet was established by Margarita and John White. 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 saw the First paid Lecture Demonstrations in public and private schools.
Then in 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.
The following year, the first group of graduates began to work professionally in the United States and abroad.
In 1979, John and Margarita purchased and renovated a warehouse/garage 2 blocks up the street from the Movie Theater relocating to 29 N. Narberth Avenue.
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.
From 1980 to 1984, PAB is nvited by the Philadelphia Orchestra to perform in their Children’s Concert series at the Academy of Music.
In 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.
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.
In 1996, The University Press of Florida published Teaching Classical Ballet authored by John White.
In 2005, PAB 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.
In 2008, PAB 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.
The University Press of Florida published Advanced Principle in Teaching Classical Ballet authored by John White in 2009.
In 2011, PAB was invited to perform at the screening of Mao’s Last Dancer in Philadelphia, PA hosted by author and former dancer Li Cunxin.
In 2013, 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.