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


Because there's never been a better time to binge-watch "Bunheads" (via Freeform)

5 of the Danciest TV Shows Streaming Right Now (and Where to Stream Them)

We're about two months into #SocialDisDancing, and let's be real—while we all wish we were spending every spare minute stretching, cross-training, or taking online classes, sometimes we just need to Netflix and chill.

We figure, if you're going to be watching TV anyways, why not make it dancy TV? After all, watching pros dance on-screen is basically dance class homework...or at least we'll say it is. Here are five of the danciest TV shows for you to watch—and where to find them.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Larry Saperstein on "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series" (Disney+/Fred Hayes)

Celebrate National Tap Dance Day with "HSM" Star Larry Saperstein

Happy National Tap Dance Day, friends! We're marking the occasion by catching up with one of our favorite talented young tappers: Larry Saperstein. The "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series" star began taking tap classes at 12 years old, studying at the American Tap Dance Foundation, where he quickly discovered his love for the art. These days, he's putting his skills to good use as Big Red on "HSMTMTS." (Who could forget that iconic moment at the end of season one where he broke out into a tap routine that shook us all!)

We chatted with Larry about why he loves tap so much, and why the art form needs more and better representation in the dance world (and the world world).

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

2020 Dance Grads: We Want to Put You on Our Cover!

Hello, all you members of the great Dance Class of 2020. With the world on lockdown, this hasn't been the graduation season you expected. You likely weren't able to go to prom; your commencement ceremonies have probably been delayed or canceled; and you might not have been able to take your planned-for final bow onstage.

Since you're missing out on so much, we'd like to give you a virtual ovation, to recognize all you've accomplished. And what's the highest honor we can bestow? The cover of Dance Spirit!

Here's the plan:

  • If you're a high school or college senior dancer, use this form to submit your information and dance portrait.
  • Each day during the month of May, we'll create a digital Dance Spirit cover starring one of you, chosen at random—31 covers in total.
  • At the end of the month, we'll create a "commencement video" featuring even more of your submitted dance photos.
  • 100 of you, selected by lottery, will also receive free one-year subscriptions to the print magazine.

Merde, 2020 graduates, as you dance your way into the future!

High School and College Senior Dancers: Submit Your Photo Here

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search