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Megan Connelly announced as the new Artistic Director & Head of School

by The Australian Ballet School |

Megan Connelly will be the fifth director in The Australian Ballet School’s 60-year history, building upon the legacy of outgoing director Lisa Pavane and esteemed predecessors, Marilyn Rowe AM OBE, Gailene Stock CBE AM and founding director Dame Margaret Scott AC DBE.


The Artistic Director & Head of School is a strategic and creative leadership role responsible for artistic and educational excellence and student wellbeing. This key role requires deep experience within the art form, an understanding of ballet trends, strong national and international networks, and expertise in elite ballet instruction and performance.


Megan Connelly is an internationally recognised expert in vocational training and education, dancer rehabilitation and classical ballet pedagogy, with more than 30 years’ experience in Australia and abroad.


The Chair of the Board Sarah Matheson AM said:

“This significant appointment was made following a global search that attracted outstanding candidates from Australia and abroad. The depth and breadth of Megan’s industry knowledge will be an incredible asset to the School. She has a remarkable record of artistic leadership, a passionate commitment to vocational training at the highest level, and a drive to pioneer diversity and best practice. We know that Megan will build upon the ‘School for Life’ philosophy embedded in this iconic institution by Lisa Pavane. With her empathy, drive, and leadership skills developed throughout her career, Megan is perfectly positioned to take the School to the next phase in its development.” 


The selection committee was comprised of Australian Ballet School Board Directors and sector experts, including ballet luminaries David McAllister AC and Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, David Hallberg.


Describing her as “one of the best ballet specialists in this country,” Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet David Hallberg said:

“Megan’s deep knowledge and unwavering commitment to ballet make her poised to propel The Australian Ballet School into its bright and ambitious future. It is without doubt that with our history together, the relationship between our two institutions will be a partnership  backed by a genuine commitment to the future of dance here in Australia. I am thrilled to realise and strengthen even further the pathway between The Australian Ballet and The Australian Ballet School.”

Megan Connelly said:

“I am deeply honoured to be appointed Artistic Director & Head of School of The Australian Ballet School. My profound respect and gratitude go to outgoing director Lisa Pavane and the previous directors who have each influenced my journey in their roles as teachers, dancers, mentors and changemakers. It is thrilling to be entrusted with continuing the proud legacy of Australia’s national ballet school, particularly in its 60th anniversary year. I am so excited to begin working with the talented students and staff of the School as we embark on the next 60 years of educating, shaping, sharing, and enriching our artists and artform in Australia.”


Megan will commence at the end of May 2024, working alongside Lisa to ensure a smooth transition.


The Board of The Australian Ballet School Board is grateful to our specialist cultural search partner, REĂ Consulting, and thanks them for their expert management of the recruitment process.


About Megan Connelly

Having received her early training in Melbourne, Megan was taught by luminaries including Anne Woolliams at VCASS and Gailene Stock CBE AM at The National Ballet School. Her most influential training was at the Princess Grace Classical Dance Academy in Monte Carlo where she studied the Vaganova and French systems under the Academy’s founder and world-renowned teacher, Marika Besobrasova.

Megan joined The Australian Ballet in 1991 before following her passion for teaching. This significant appointment marks a return to The Australian Ballet School for Megan. From 2010 to 2020, while also working at The Australian Ballet, she was a member of the School’s teaching faculty—first under the directorship of Marilyn Rowe AM OBE and, subsequently, outgoing Director Lisa Pavane. During her time at The Australian Ballet School Megan auditioned, taught, and assessed students across the full-time and part-time training programs and contributed to the development of the School’s curriculum.


Since 2010 Megan has been a Repetiteur and the Rehabilitation Specialist at The Australian Ballet. She has taught and rehearsed works for main stage performances and is responsible for the technical and artistic development and well-being of company dancers. Megan was part of the team that rehabilitated David Hallberg to return to the stage after a complex injury that almost ended his career as a Principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre and the Bolshoi Ballet.


Megan was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to research dance training, coaching and rehabilitation methods at major international ballet schools and companies, which enabled her to benchmark both the School and The Australian Ballet against the best in the world. Her global networks range from local dance studios and national companies such as Queensland Ballet, Sydney Dance Company and Bangarra Dance Theatre to the School of American Ballet, New York City Ballet, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, American Ballet Theatre, Royal Ballet School, Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Mariinsky Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet School and Paris Opera Ballet.


Photo by Pierre Toussaint.