Leta Biasucci

Leta Biasucci’s passion for dance is obvious as she flies through the air in a grand jeté. Her jump is perfectly placed, pointed and strong, and yet it soars with a sense of abandon. She stretches every bit of her tiny five-foot three-inch body to the max, eating up space and demonstrating incredible command. Even though Leta is just 19, she tackles each class and role with the confidence of a seasoned pro: You’d never guess she just joined the ranks of Oregon Ballet Theatre in her first professional gig!

Christopher Stowell, artistic director of OBT, praises the new company member. “Leta has attack in her movements,” he says. “She uses her upper body generously and has an acute musical sense. She also pays attention to detail, like presenting the feet and punctuating phrases with flair.”

Leta attributes these qualities to years of performing experience at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet in Carlisle, PA, where she trained for seven years. While there, Leta danced difficult roles like Swanilda in Coppélia (by the time she was 15!) and the Sugarplum Fairy in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at 16. “CPYB offered me such a fantastic foundation for technique,” she says. “And on top of that, to get as much stage time at such a young age gave me a good base.”

Though her experience at CPYB was phenomenal, Leta left Carlisle when she was 16 to attend San Francisco Ballet School’s trainee program. There she danced as the “Waltz” girl in Serenade for the student showcase and earned rave reviews for her performance. A critic from the San Francisco Chronicle even commented on her “robust passion.”

Despite this early success, Leta still faces some personal challenges. “Being in a field where you’re always being criticized is difficult,” she confesses. “When you feel that everything can always be better, it’s easy to lose your bearings. You’ve got to keep your wits about you.”

Leta also fights against being typecast in “short girl” roles, so it’s a good thing Stowell looks beyond height when sizing up a dancer. “Physical traits can influence a career,” he says, “but the qualities that have the biggest impact are a good attitude, reliability, taking personal responsibility, making the most of opportunities and being fun to work with. Beyond that, dance big and make things your own. Be irreplaceable!”

To handle the obstacle of height, Leta also finds inspiration in fantastic dancers—of all sizes! She thinks petite and powerful Tina LeBlanc of SFB, another CPYB alumna, is a fantastic role model. “Tina has such effervescence,” Leta sighs. “She’s so beautiful.” Plus, the dancers at OBT motivate Leta. Although she was offered jobs elsewhere, she decided on the company in Portland because the dancers are hardworking and humble, creating an atmosphere that appeals to Leta’s strong work ethic.

So what’s next for this petite brunette with spiral curls and a modest demeanor? Leta looks forward to doing everything possible. “I want to be introduced to contemporary things, to be able to dance Forsythe-esque sort of stuff,” she says. “I want to do all the full-lengths. Swan Lake has always been one of my favorites. And Giselle!” To get there, she’ll keep working hard. “I think it’s important to dance everything, even in class, not just go through the motions,” she says. Given her enormous potential, Leta’s dreams of doing it all might be realized sooner than she thinks.

Photo: Roslyn Barnfield

Latest Posts


Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo courtesy of Brittany Conigatti

Go Behind the Scenes of Annie Live! With Brittany Conigatti

Unwrap your candy canes, pour the hot chocolate and round up your fellow theater lovers: NBC is kicking off the Christmas season with its latest live-broadcast TV musical. Annie Live! premieres December 2 and features a star-studded cast, including Harry Connick Jr., Tituss Burgess, Megan Hilty and, as the title character, young phenom Celina Smith.

Luckily, people got a taste of what the special will entail when the cast kicked off the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a performance last week. But since you’re never fully dressed without a Dance Spirit exclusive, we caught up with Brittany Conigatti, one of the young orphans and adult ensemble members in the show, to learn what it was like putting together a large-scale live production for the small screen.

The cast of Annie Live! poses for a group photo. The cast of Annie Live!Photo courtesy of Conigatti


Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search