Leadership Team

Leadership and experience are necessary to run a successful organization. The Ballet Conservatory is exceptional in that it is a two-tiered non-profit ballet academy and pre-professional company. Our faculty and staff have exceptional knowledge in the non-profit and arts community, and are committed to providing each student with the necessary tools and education to achieve their artistic goals.

Dede Barfield

School Director

Born in Ft. Worth, Texas, Ms. Barfield began her training in Ft. Worth with Gayle Corkery and continued at the Etgen Atkinson School in Dallas. At the age of 14, she began studying during the summers at the School of American Ballet in New York City. By the age of 16, she moved there to study exclusively.

Ms. Barfield joined the Pennsylvania Ballet in 1984, was promoted to Soloist in 1987 and to Principal in 1990. Her repertoire includes a wide variety of classical roles including Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Myrtha in Giselle, Vera in Robert Weiss’s full-length production of Winter Dreams, Les Sylphides, the title role in Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella and Juliet in John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet. On June 12, 2004, she gave her last performance as a professional dancer as her favorite role of Odette/Odile in Christopher Whealdon’s Swan Lake.

Since leaving the Pennsylvania Ballet, Ms. Barfield has been busy teaching at Bryn Mawr College, The Performance Garage at Jeanne Ruddy Dance, The South Jersey Ballet School and with the Pennsylvania Ballet’s Outreach Program. She has been a guest teacher for the Chamberlain Ballet in Plano, Texas, The Country Day School in Ft. Worth, The Brandywine Ballet and the Dance Theater of Pennsylvania. Ms. Barfield also taught ballet classes at the University of Las Vegas during the 2007 Spring semester.

In addition to Ms. Barfield’s extensive ballet training and experience, she has studied Pilates since 1979 and in recent years completed a 2-year advanced teacher training seminar with her mentor for 20 years, Karen Carlson. She is certified in all apparatuses and mat and is currently the Artistic Coordinator here at the Ballet Conservatory of South Texas.

Ms. Barfield has been with the Ballet Conservatory since 2007.

Elysia Petru Hulings

Executive Director

Elysia Petru Hulings is currently the Executive Director of The Ballet Conservatory of South Texas, the only nonprofit ballet academy and pre-professional company in San Antonio.  Elysia’s career has paired a passion for the arts with a commitment to public service.  She started early, holding a company position with the only professional ballet company in San Antonio at the age of 14.

Elysia later pursued a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Texas at San Antonio, which included more than a year studying art restoration at the Lorenzo de Medici School of Art in Florence, Italy.  After school, Elysia served as Executive Director of the Texas Burn Survivor Society, a nonprofit that helps provide treatment and care to burn survivors. Elysia then left San Antonio with her now-husband and moved to Washington, D.C., where Elysia served as a finance consultant for multiple elected leaders and policy development organizations, including the New Democratic Coalition, Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), and Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI).  After several years in Washington, Elysia and her husband moved to Del Rio, Texas, where Elysia served as the Marketing and Sponsorship Director for Laughlin A.F.B. She also started her own ballet company, Border Ballet, through which she produced community ballet productions and worked with young dancers across west Texas.

After Elysia and her husband were transferred back to San Antonio, Elysia worked closely with multiple nonprofit organizations to expand their development programs and improve their operations.  Along with her leadership of the Ballet Conservatory, Elysia has served as the Development Director (working remotely) for the School for Ethics and Global Leadership, a nonprofit semester school dedicated to molding the next generation of American leaders in Washington, D.C.  She is the former Chapter President of the Texas Humane Legislative Network, and was the Development Chair and member of the Board of Directors for Healthy Futures of Texas.  Currently, Elysia stays involved by serving on her neighborhood HOA, and being selected as Mayoral Appointee to the SA2020 Commission on Strengthening Family Well-Being.

Elysia received her Masters in Public Administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a Certificate in Nonprofit Management, and enjoys spending all her free time with her husband and very active son.