Our training is based on the Russian method of ballet (Vaganova), with a Balanchine influence. All classes, no matter what level or style of dance, are taught with an emphasis on clean technique.

Students dance on a raised hardwood floor covered with non-slip material. They receive individual attention to ensure proper development.

The Royal Academy of Ballet is also the official school of the Greater Buffalo Youth Ballet.


Director and owner of the Royal Academy of Ballet, Elizabeth DiStasio-Waddell brings a well-rounded dance education and professional performance experience to her students.

She began her ballet career, at the age of nine, under the training of Ginger Burke, founder of the Royal Academy of Ballet. She continued her training at Mercyhurst College, the Boston Ballet, the Hartford Ballet, and the University of Buffalo, where she received her Bachelor of Arts. She is also the Artistic Director of the Greater Buffalo Youth Ballet.


Elizabeth has performed throughout New York, New England, and locally with:

Performing Credits

Elizabeth was also the Ballet Mistress for the children performing in the Moscow Ballet's and the Pittsburgh Ballet's Nutcracker.


Ginger Burke, Our Founder

The Royal Academy of Ballet was founded in 1947, by Ginger Burke, Buffalo's Grand Dame of Ballet. Prior to starting the Royal Academy of Ballet, Ginger Burke danced both nationally and internationally. She danced with the Shea's Ballet Company at Shea's Buffalo Theater. After the ballet company dissolved, Ginger teamed up with another dancer, creating a sister act, known as the Burke Sisters. Ginger also worked with George Balanchine, founder of the New York City Ballet (NYCB). He personally chose Ginger to attend five seminars at the School of American Ballet (sponsored by the Ford Foundation), which were taught by Mr. Balanchine himself.

Miss Burke also produced several ballets for television, including "Three Wishes". Many of Miss Burke's students are teaching and dancing throughout the United States and Europe. As a faculty member of the University of Buffalo's Theatre and Dance Department for fourteen years, she introduced pointe classes to their curriculum. After her retirement, Miss Burke left the Royal Academy of Ballet in the care and trust of Elizabeth DiStasio-Waddell, who is now the Academy's director and owner. After her death in 1996, the Royal Academy of Ballet carries on her tradition of dedication to the art of ballet.

Royal Academy of Ballet Students

Many professional dancers, choreographers, and teachers have studied with the Royal Academy of Ballet:


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Royal Academy of Ballet and Dance
949 Englewood Avenue • Buffalo, NY 14223 • 716.835.3585
e-mail: royalacademyofballet@hotmail.com