John White Jr.

Profile Updated: March 15, 2009
John White Jr.
Class of 1952
Residing In: Narberth, PA USA
Spouse/Partner: Margarita
Children, Grandchildren: Son, John, born in Havana, Cuba. Married to Laura. Two children - Alex and Anthony. Live in San Juan More…Capistrano, CA.

Daughter, Melinda, born in Hollywood. Married to Ernest (Pendleton). Two children - Ernest and Nikki. Live in Wynnewood, PA.
Occupation: ballet teacher-author
Yes! Attending Reunion
Occupation/Career(s) Details:

After graduation from SPSMHS in 1952 I went to Occidental College (BA 1956). During that time I studied classical ballet and continued pursuing the goal of dancing professionally in Hollywood.
I danced in ballet productions at the Greek Theater in 1958 & 59. After a year in New York my dance journey took me to Cuba in 1960, when Alicia Alonso invited me to join the new Ballet Nacional de Cuba. Later that year I married Margarita de Saa. As luck would have it, I was able to travel and perform in the Soviet Union and tour extensively other satellite countries as a soloist and later ballet master of the company.
Not long after our return to Havana, Soviet ballet masters were sent to Cuba to work with the company and help us establish a new national school based on the Vaganova method. A small group of us were selected to learn the syllabus. Today, you can see the results of our early efforts in establishing that school which is now directed by Margarita’s sister, Ramona de Saá. It is consistently turning out some excellent world-class dancers.
After returning to the U.S. I was invited to join the Pennsylvania Ballet Company. Five years later Margarita and I opened our own school (Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet) in 1974. As we needed teaching help I began giving teacher-training courses. These workshops gradually expanded until, to date, I have taught over 700 novices and experienced teachers how to teach the Vaganova (Russian) method. Now, I give annual seminars at Bryn Mawr College nearly every summer. Teachers come from all over the world and the U.S. to attend. I have also given seminars abroad and in other states.
During the years our school has attracted some pretty good students. Over 70 have danced professionally in companies all over the world, with several winning high honors in national and international competitions (Varna, Jackson, Tokyo, Prix de Lausanne, etc.). Our daughter, Melinda, who also danced professionally is now our assistant director.
In 1996, the University Press of Florida published my first book, TEACHING CLASSICAL BALLET. It was well received. Eventually, the Press asked me to write a follow-up. ADVANCED PRINCIPLES IN TEACHING CLASSICAL BALLET has just been released (spring, 2010). Both books are available from and directly from the UPF.
I also collaborated on the writing/editing of a biography on the great Russian pedagogue, Agrippina Vaganova, written by Vera Krasovskaya and translated by Vera Siegel. As the translator was not a ballet person, her approach was strictly verbatim and lacked theatrical color or nuances. The UPF publisher asked me to work on the writing with her. It is recognized as the best book on Vaganova’s life in the English language.
I am also actively engaged in writing a novel, an espionage tale. It is near completion, and I need an agent or a publisher.
As a diversion to the above myriad of activities, I play a little golf. Although I don't get a chance to play often, I can still break 80 when I'm on.
Both of our children are married and have two children of their own. For you math majors that makes four grandchildren.
Our other diversion is spending time at our second home in Cape May, New Jersey, a well known Victorian shore community. We renovated a 100-year-old house two blocks from the beach.
We visit Southern California at least once a year to spend time with our son and family who live in San Juan Capistrano. Other relatives still live in the area.

Different places I have lived:

1934-56 South Pasadena, CA
1957-58 Hollywood CA
1959 New York City, NY
1960-64 Havana, Cuba
1965-67 Idyllwild, CA
1968 Alhambra, CA
1969 San Mateo, CA
1969 to present Philadelphia, PA

Family history living in South Pasadena:

Born in Alhambra. First home on Monterey Road. House burned down. Family temporarily lived with grandparents on Brent Avenue. Rented house at 1130 Oxley Street, near the public library and El Centro School. Attended El Centro and SP Junior High before attending SPSM High School.

Family members who also went to SPHS:

Father attended SPSM High School. Brother Richard also attended, class of 1953. Lives in Los Angeles. Brother Paul also attended, class of 1962. Lives in Springfield, PA.

Other SPHS graduates I keep in touch with:

Don Shorts, class of 1951. Lives in Ventura, CA.

School Memories:

Played two years on the B football team. First string right end and co-captain.
Three year letterman on the varsity track team. Broadjumper.
I won the school decathlon 1951 and 1952. My name is on the trophy along with my father who won it twenty or so years earlier.