As we welcome you to our final term of 2017, I would like to start by congratulating
our students on their individual achievements in Term Three. There have been
so many wonderful moments.

In July our Level 8 students (The Dancers Company) toured Tasmania and Victoria on The Australian Ballet’s Regional Tour performing Giselle. They are now on the second tour, currently in New South Wales, gaining valuable professional experience as they near the end of their training at the School.

In September we had a busy month with both our Sydney and Melbourne Showcase performances. Our Sydney Showcase involved all full-time students travelling to Sydney to rehearse and perform at The Concourse theatre; a huge logistical undertaking for the School and challenge for the students and staff, premièring four completely new works plus revivals of Mark Annear’s Allegro Vivo and Jubilation, Simon Dow’s Garland Waltz and of course Balanchine’s Serenade.  Melbourne’s Showcase at the State Theatre had the added excitement of being able to present all 116 students of the School on stage in Paul Knobloch’s newly created Grand Défilé (photo above by Lynette Wills). The preparation for both these performances gifted our students with the invaluable experience of being involved in the creation of new works by the School’s Resident Choreographers Margaret Wilson (Vitae) and Simon Dow (The Call­), as well as with new creations by former graduates Lucas Jervies (Gorilla) and
Paul Knobloch (Hadyn Symphony, Grand Défilé).

The chance to perform such a diversity of ballets, as well as the opportunity to be involved in the creative process, enhances our students’ creative thinking and artistic development and it is most exciting to witness their joy and growth through that process. It provides an invaluable chance for our students to experience and learn how to work with a choreographer by exploring movement and music; as well as enabling and encouraging them to develop their own choreographic skills and vocabulary.

Other highlights across the term included the completion of Levels 1 to 6 Character examinations; with the Level 6 students singing a Russian folk song, taught and accompanied by our very own pianist Izabella Mouguerman and her husband Yuri, playing the Balalaika. These students will delight us again with this diversity of skills at the upcoming annual Music Behind the Dance – an event not to be missed! As well Levels 3 to 5 Contemporary examinations were completed and some very exciting school debates by our Level 5 and Level 6 students were also held. Topics included ‘Pointe shoes are unnecessary for classical ballet!’ and ‘Is technique more
important than artistry?’

Over the school break we welcomed 150 Level 1 and 2 ITPs for their Intensive Training Session as well as 16 Japanese students for our second International Intensive.

Here’s wishing all students and staff an exciting and fulfilling Term Four.

Lisa Pavane, Director of The Australian Ballet School



Start by doing what's necessary
then do what's possible
and suddenly you are doing the impossible”
Francis of Assisi

Sarah is the physiotherapist to The Australian Ballet School and has been for
many years. Her keen interest in working with ballet dancers began with
her own training as a young dancer in Oxford, England.

After finishing school, Sarah trained and qualified as a physiotherapist in London. Having gained general hospital-based physiotherapy experience, she worked for
five years as the physiotherapist at The Royal Ballet School. She also worked
at the Remedial Dance Clinic in London, a clinic that provided physiotherapy
services to student and professional dancers as well as other performing
artists from the West End Shows.

Sarah met and married her Australian husband, physiotherapist Michael Ralston, in England. Arriving in Australia in 1987, Sarah established The Melbourne Dance Clinic, the first physiotherapy clinic in Australia devoted solely to the treatment of dancers. She was invited to provide physiotherapy services to The Australian Ballet School and, subsequently, The Australian Ballet, in 1988.

Sarah and Michael are principals of Physio on Collins, which incorporates The Melbourne Dance Clinic. As well as consulting dancers from other full-time and part-time training schools, their practice also supplies physiotherapy services to The Victorian College of The Arts Secondary School.

"When I was a little girl, growing up in rural England,
I wanted to travel to Australia to become a “Koala Nurse!”

Currently, Sarah provides physiotherapy services to The Australian Ballet School
three days per week. She has a keen understanding of the relationship between technique, physical makeup and injury, and is able to give guidance to young
dancers on how to optimise their body’s physique, giving them the best
chance to reduce injury and enhance their technique.          
Sarah also teaches Anatomy to the Level 6 students as part of their Diploma of Dance and, during study block periods, teaches anatomy to Levels 4 and 5.

Sarah believes a basic understanding of anatomy is of utmost importance for students in learning how their bodies work.

(Photo by Sergey Konstantinov)


Showcase 2017 performances in Melbourne and Sydney were very well received and
we would like to thank everyone involved for their hard work and commitment.
Following is a selection of reviews and feedback from the show.
(Photo above by Sergey Konstantinov)

"They presented their fine technique
and developing artistry with
confidence and commitment."

"Have dancers reached a point of technical perfection?
 The Australian Ballet School students
come close to that unattainable word."

"performed with striking precision
... capably illustrated the breadth
and depth of the students’ talents"


"From the minute the showcase started until
the very end it was absolutely breathtaking.
Best production I have seen in a long time."

"brilliant talented young dancers,
couldn't take my eyes off the stage."

"a truly memorable display...
Magnificent. Bravo to all !"




BBM Youth Support, the Australia China Business Summit and the China Cultural Centre have worked together to develop a new student exchange opportunity between China and Australia for talented young ballet dancers. The exchange has been developed with a view to support closer cultural ties and sharing of skills
between the two countries.

Teacher, Simon Dow and students, Jacob and Slade (above) recently returned from their two-week exchange and reported a very rewarding experience. Our students were integrated into Level 7 at the Shanghai Dance School, participating in 2hr classical classes daily as well as having the opportunity to observe further classes and rehearsals. Simon Dow was also invited to share his skill in teaching
classes throughout their visit.

Simon, Slade and Jacob were in awe of the state of the art facilities at Shanghai Dance School, Ballet Company and University; each of which consisted of an individual 5-level building with large, open and airy dance studios and loved the chance to communicate through the universal language of dance (with a little assistance from
Google translate and translators).

Last Thursday we welcomed our reciprocal exchange students from Shanghai, Wenjin and Jinliang, along with their teacher Yilei Yang ,to The Australian Ballet School. Wenjin and Jinliang are joining Level 7 classes and residing at Marilyn Rowe House. In addition to their dance classes, our guests took the chance to visit Melbourne Zoo over the weekend with some students and ABS staff member, Jiayin Du (photo below)
and see some Melbourne sights.

To complete the cultural exchange, Yilei Yang has kindly accepted the invitation to teach some classes whilst in Melbourne and so our staff and students are looking forward to experiencing, sharing and learning from her approach to teaching class.

Both exchanges have proved to be a wonderful learning and network building opportunity for staff and students alike.


Over the course of the year we are pleased to be able to introduce you to our Level 8 Students for 2017. In this issue you will learn a little about 2 more of our Level 8s.


Eilis Small, 18

I started ballet in Canberra when I was 3 and moved to Melbourne in 2015 to train at The Australian Ballet School. Right now I am on a regional tour with The Australian Ballet performing Giselle. I am happy to report I will be starting a contract with Birmingham Royal Ballet after I graduate. This is the fulfilment of my desire to travel and experience as much as I can to develop myself further as a dancer.


Shunyo Mori, 18

I started dancing when I was 11 years old. I came to The Australian Ballet School after reaching the finals of the Prix de Lausanne in 2014 and being offered a scholarship. A highlight of this year was taking the lead part in Simon Dow's The Call as part of Showcase 2017 in Sydney and Melbourne. I am a passionate and dedicated dancer and I am currently seeking a contract in Europe.




Over the last few months, our Development Team has been working to reunite with alumni of The Australian Ballet School. travelling from Wellington (photo above) – where they were hosted by His Excellency Peter Woolcott, Head of Mission to the Australian High Commission to New Zealand – then Brisbane and Perth, the Team brought former students together with those currently at the School to effect our vision of honouring the past, achieving in the present, and creating the future.

We are reaching out to past alumni of The Australian Ballet School in order to build our community and offer opportunities for Alumni to keep in contact with their fellow peers from the School. We aim to organise various annual social events Australia wide, and internationally, as our connections expand. Participation by Alumni in this survey will enable us to tailor our alumni programmes and we encourage all past students and staff of the School to participate in the survey by clicking the link below.


In our last issue we introduced you to our board as a whole. Going forward we are pleased to highlight one individual board members in each issue of the newsletter.
In this issue we would like to introduce:

W. Brind Zichy-Woinarski Q.C.

Zich joined the Board of Directors on 25 May 2017. He has been a member of the Philanthropy Committee of The Australian Ballet School since 2012. Zich holds a Bachelor of Laws with Honours from the University of Melbourne and has practised as a barrister at the Victorian Bar since April 1970, practising in a wide variety of law including white collar and commercially related criminal matters, professional disciplinary matters, equal opportunity and discrimination law. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in November 1987. Zich was a founder of the Criminal Bar Association, a former Chairman and is an Honorary Life member. He served on the Victorian Bar Council between 1990-1994, was a member of its Executive, Junior Vice-Chairman in 1994, and was Chairman of the Ethics Committee from 1993-1999. He has been a member of the Advisory Board for the Sir Zelman Cowan Centre at Victoria University since its inception. Zich has been a director of the Newsboys Foundation since December 1991 and its Chairman since December 2009. He was a member of the Board of Try Youth and Community Services from 1972 to 1995 and 1999 to 2008, was junior Vice-President between 1989 and 1995 and was appointed a Life Governor in 1989. He is a past Vice-President of the International Commission of Jurists in Australia, Victorian Branch and was also a member of the Board of Westside Circus.


Mark Kirkby

Mark is a Chartered Accountant and an experienced senior executive with a track record of successfully managing the business and financial affairs of commercial organisations, both private and listed, in a variety of industry sectors.

Mark currently holds a senior executive position in a substantive Melbourne Family office and is a non-executive director on a number of commercial and not for profit boards; including the Betty Amsden Trust.




Term 3 finished at Marilyn Rowe House with the arrival of our Japanese International visitors (pictured above). This year saw 17 Students from all over Japan come to stay in Marilyn Rowe House. As always, it is a great pleasure to have students from overseas stay in the House and bring with them new learning experiences for all MRH staff.

The start of Term 4 has see us welcome the return of ITP Saya Ikeda for a further period of training with the School, Saya has been missed by the students within the House who will I am sure make her feel most welcome. We have also just welcomed two students from Shanghai Ballet School who stayed at the House for a couple of weeks. This was part of the exchange programme initiated by BBM Youth Support, the Australia China Business Summit and the China Cultural Centre
as reported previously in the newsletter.

Finally, as has already been announced to the students and parents within the House, on November 3rd Steven McKee will be leaving his role as Head of Boarding with
The Australian Ballet School.

"Having spent the past two years working towards establishing and growing the boarding programme at Marilyn Rowe House, I feel that it is now the right time to allow someone else to come aboard and continue to develop the programme. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the students, parents, staff and benefactors who have assisted on this memorable journey. I am pleased to advise that following an extensive National and International search which led to a large number of applications, I can confirm that my successor has been selected and will be joining the School for Term 1, 2018."

Steven McKee


As the new Head of Boarding at The Australian Ballet School for the start of 2018, Benita comes to us with a long history with and passion for, education. After completing her initial teaching degree at Australian Catholic University, Benita continued her learning through completing a Masters’ Degree in Education at Monash University and a Post Graduate degree from Melbourne University in Student Welfare. Having taught primary and secondary aged students over many years and led teams of educators across a variety of educational settings, Benita has most recently worked in North Queensland as Director of Boarding focusing on creating a warm, secure and peaceful ‘home-away-from home’ environment for 140 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island girls. Benita believes that the boarding house environment is a place of respect, nurtured relationships and security to continue to become the best version of ones’ self. It is an environment where adolescents can continue to build the important life skills of communication, resilience and perseverance, time-management
and life-long friendships.

Benita has two independent adult children and enjoys all aspects of the arts,
a variety of water sports, walking, travelling and reading.

Benita is privileged to have been appointed to the position of the Head of Boarding at The Australian Ballet School and, following the outstanding leadership of Steven McKee, is looking forward to continuing to contribute in a positive and effective way to Marilyn Rowe House’s growth and development and to maintain its status as an excellent Boarding House that nurtures and supports the next generation
of elite dancers.



Friday 8 December, 7:30pm
Saturday 9 December, 1:30pm & 7:30pm




Lady June Porter was much loved and admired by all at The Australian Ballet and The Australian Ballet School. She joined the company's board in the 1970s and served on it for 17 years; she was awarded an Honorary Life Membership for her service and dedication to the company. June loved both The Australian Ballet and The Australian Ballet School. She particularly loved the dancers, and made them feel they were a part of one family. She was deeply interested in every aspect of the ballet business and travelled the world with the company; a particular highlight for her was the 1988 tour to London and Moscow. We salute Lady Porter for her remarkable leadership and philanthropy. We will forever be grateful for the legacy she bestowed on
The Australian Ballet and The Australian Ballet School. We extend our deepest sympathy to her family and friends.




Facebook Twitter Instagram Pinterest Youtube Website Tickets