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Meet our Teachers

SIMON DOW
Classical Teacher & Resident Choreographer

Simon graduated from The Australian Ballet School where he went on to dance with The Australian Ballet. He was the first male dancer to win the Australian Cecchetti Junior Medal. After building on his repertoire, Simon ventured overseas to take up positions with the Stuttgart Ballet and Washington Ballet. He eventually returned to Australian to dance as a Principal Artist.

Highlights of Simon’s career have included making frequent guest appearances at some North America’s prestigious dance festivals including the Spoleto Festival, the International Festival of Danca in Cuba and the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Simon has also danced the leading roles in major classical ballets and has worked with renowned choreographers including George Balanchine, Maurice Bejart, Glen Tetley, Jriri Kylian and more over the years.

Notably, Simon has acted as the Associate Artistic Director of the Washington Ballet for two years and the Artistic Director of the West Australian Ballet where he commissioned a number of new works.


JIAYIN DU
Classical Teacher

Jiayin began learning classical dance in China where his exceptional ability was recognised from an early age. After winning two major ballet competitions: The 5th China National Ballet Competition and The 6th Asia Pacific International Ballet Competition in Tokyo, Jiayin was invited to pursue a dual scholarship from The Australian Ballet School and Hong Kong Jean Wong Ballet to continue his education at The Australian Ballet School.

Jiayin danced with The Australian Ballet upon graduating and he performed the lead or solo roles in major classical ballets including Don Quixote, Coppelia, The Sleeping Beauty, La Sylphide, Giselle, Swan Lake and more. Over the years, Jiayin has been invited to perform as a guest principal artist for other ballet companies and institutions including the Liaoning Ballet of China Gala Performance and The Australian Conservatoire of Ballet amongst others.

After a long and successful career, Jiayin joined us in 2015 as a classical ballet teacher for Level 6 students. He also graduated from our Teacher Training course in 2019 with a Graduate Diploma of Elite Dance Instruction.


KATRINA EDWARDS
Conditioning Specialist and Student Development Coordinator

Katrina was born in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales in 1968. Attending school in Wagga Wagga up until the end of Year 9 all the while fostering a passion and love for dance, music and drama at every spare moment. At age 15, Katrina shifted to Melbourne to attend the Australian Ballet School. Katrina graduated from The ABS in 1986 and performed 3 seasons with TAB before heading into musical theatre. Katrina performed in several musical theatre productions such as West Side Story, My Fair Lady, Phantom of the Opera and Beauty and the Beast, finishing a 10-year performing career with a principal role in Showboat. 

Katrina has since had 2 children, and established a Pilates studio and a Pilates teacher training business, which has just celebrated 20 years in business educating Pilates teachers and students. Katrina has been teaching the Pilates method for 25 years and is currently consulting as a Sports Science Consultant for Melbourne City Football Club. Katrina also teaches as part of faculty for her own businesses Aligned for Life Pilates and National Pilates Training. 

Katrina returned to the Australian Ballet School in 2016, taking up the position of Conditioning Specialist and Student Development Coordinator. Katrina has contributed to the health and wellbeing of our students taking care of the conditioning programme alongside and as part of the health team.



CHRISTINE HOWARD
Character/Folkloric Teacher

Christine graduated from The Australian Ballet School and was given the opportunity to study Character Dance under Madam Marina Berezowksy AM. After graduating, Christine performed with the Kolobok Dance Company of Australia and became a Principal Dancer during the inaugural year of the first full-time character dance company in Australia.

After retiring from performing, Christine commenced teaching with The Victorian College of the Arts before joining us and has been invited to teach character dance around Australia and overseas throughout her career.

Christine has been a teacher with us since 1980 and has choreographed many memorable performances for our students.


IRINA KONSTANTINOVA
Classical Teacher

Irina trained at the prestigious Perm Ballet School in Russia before joining the USSR State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre. During her time as a Principal Artist there, Irina danced the lead or solos roles in many famous ballets including Romeo and Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, La Sylphide, Don Quixote and more!

After receiving a laureate from the Grand Prix International Competition in Baku (USSR), Irina accepted a position with the Kirov Ballet (later The Mariinsky Theatre) in St Petersburg. Irina also studied at the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet where she graduated as a fully qualified teacher of the Vaganova method before joining us in 2001 as a Classical Teacher and Curriculum Development Assistant.


SERGEY KONSTANTINOV
Classical Teacher

Sergey studied ballet at the prestigious Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg and upon graduating, danced with the Ashkabad Opera and Ballet Theatre. Sergey was invited to join the Kirov Ballet (later Mariinsky Theatre) after winning second prize at the Grand Prix International Competition in Baku (USSR).

During his 11 years at The Mariinsky, Sergey performed soloist roles in famous ballets including Swan Lake, Giselle, Nutcracker, Don Quixote, Romeo and Juliet and more. He has additionally worked with acclaimed choreographers such as Ratmansky and Neumiere and has toured Europe, the US and Asia.

Sergey joined the School in 2004 and has since contributed to the development and success of our young dancers.


SABRINA LENZI
Classical Teacher

Sabrina graduated from Academié de Dance Classique de Montecarlo and began her career dancing with the Stuttgart Ballet. As a Principal, Sabrina performed the leading roles in many of John Cranko’s ballets. Eventually Sabrina joined Birmingham Royal Ballet as a Principal dancer where she performed in works by Ashton and MacMillan. Over the years, Sabrina has worked with many prominent figures in the ballet world including Marcia Marcia Haydée, David Bintley, Peter Wright and Maurice Béejart among others.

After retiring from performing, Sabrina joined the Houston Ballet Academy where she became a Ballet Mistress and Principal of the Upper School. She has also been invited to teach at the Houston Ballet Company, Colorado Ballet Company, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet and Architanz in Tokyo over the years.

Sabrina joined The Australian Ballet School in 2017 where she has coached and mentored our female students, providing an incredible wealth of knowledge over the years.


KIRSTY MARTIN
Classical Teacher & Yoga Instructor

Kirsty is a former Principal Artist of The Australian Ballet and graduate of The Australian Ballet School. After graduating, Megan travelled to New York to continue her studies with Gesley Kirkland and Twyla Tharp.

In 2000, Kirsty joined the Nederlands Dans Theater in The Hague where she dance contemporary works choreographed by Jiri Kylian, Johan Inger and Paul Lightfoot before returning to Australia.

Over the years, Kirsty has danced countless leading roles at The Australian Ballet including Grame Murphy’s Swan Lake, Stephen Bayne’s Raymonda and Giselle, Don Quixote, Paquita and André Prokovsky's The Three Musketeers.

Kirsty was the first Australian and first member of The Australian Ballet to win the Prix Benois de la Danse award in 2009.


JOANNE MICHEL
Ballet Mistress, Classical Teacher

Joanne graduated from The Australian Ballet School and danced with The Australian Ballet at the beginning of her career. Joanne’s first Principal role was performing the Swan Queen in Swan Lake opposite Alexander Godunov. She has also danced the lead or solo roles in famous ballets including Romeo and Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, The Nutcracker, La Sylphide, Don Quixote and more during her time as a Principal Artist. Joanne has also worked with choreographers and producers such as Graeme Murphy AO, Glen Tetley, Alicia Markova, Choo San Goh and Serge Lifar.

Before joining us in 2003, Joanne travelled overseas to work with Nederlands Dans Theatre under choreographer and director, Jiři Kylián. Our students are privileged to benefit from the tutelage of Joanne.


SAKIS MICHELIS

TBA.

 

ROBERT MILLS
Classical Teacher

Robert grew up in Sydney, and graduated from the New Zealand School of Dance. He danced as a guest with the Royal New Zealand Ballet in their 2000 National Tour, and accepted contracts to dance with Singapore Dance Theatre and West Australian Ballet.

Throughout his career, he performed roles such as the Nutcracker Prince, the lead in The Rite of Spring, and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. He danced in works by George Balanchine, John Cranko, Jiri Kylian and Glen Tetley. He also worked with notable choreographers such as David Dawson, Ohad Naharin, Natalie Weir, Lucas Jervies and Lucette Aldous, among many others. In 2013, he was recognised as a Distinguished Graduate by the New Zealand School of Dance.

Robert taught classes intermittently during his performance career, and sensed a calling to help young dancers to achieve their goals. He shifted his full attention to teaching in 2015 with opportunities to instruct classes for the West Australian Ballet Education Department, RAD Genée Dance Challenge (Perth), and Cecchetti Society WA. He relocated to Melbourne in 2018 to finalise his teacher training at The Australian Ballet School.

 

ANDREW MURPHY
Ballet Master, Classical Teacher

Andrew has devoted many years to the development of our aspiring dancers, taking particular interest in the advancement of males in ballet.

Andrew began his career at The Australian Ballet where he danced as a Senior Soloist before moving to the Birmingham Royal Ballet as a Principal Dancer. Eventually, Andrew joined the Houston Ballet as a Principal Dancer and has had the pleasure of dancing the leading roles in productions by Maina Gielgud, Graeme Murphy AO, Rudolph Nureyev and more throughout his expansive career.

Before joining The Australian Ballet School, Andrew was a Principal Instructor and Men’s Program Coordinator at the Houston Ballet Academy.


LYNETTE WILLS
Classical Teacher

Lynette Wills danced as a Principal Artist at The Australian Ballet for 17 years after graduating from The Australian Ballet School.

Lynette began her career touring with The Dancer’s Company (The Australian Ballet’s Regional Tour) before being promoted to Senior Artist. During Lynette’s time at The Australian Ballet, she toured extensively overseas and travelled to Italy, London, China, Japan, United States and Taiwan. Her first Principal role was performing Gamzatti in La Bayadére, and she also performed The Baroness von Rothbart in Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake many times. In 2005, Lynette visited a Cambodian dance company as The Australian Ballet’s ambassador in a joint initiative between the Company and CARE Australia.


LUCAS JERVIES
Contemporary Teacher

Lucas Jervies is an Australian choreographer and director who works across ballet, contemporary dance, cabaret, opera and theatre. He is a graduate of The Australian Ballet School and the National Institute of Dramatic Art (in Directing).

As a dancer, Lucas performed both classical and contemporary repertoire with The Australian Ballet, Dance Works Rotterdam and Scapino Ballet Rotterdam. As a choreographer, Lucas has created dance for companies worldwide, including The Australian Ballet, Sydney Dance Company, Queensland Ballet, West Australian Ballet, Opera Australia, Scapino Ballet Rotterdam, Louisville Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre, Milwaukee Ballet, Korzo Theatre Den Haag, Noverre Society Stuttgart Ballet and CoDarts Rotterdam University for the Arts.

Other credits include choreographing Spartacus for The Australian Ballet, adapting and directing Roald Dahl's The Witches for Griffin Theatre Company, and directing and choreographing Hidden Sydney: The Glittering Mile, an immersive cabaret for Vivid Festival. Lucas was choreographer for Belvoir Theatre's award-winning production of Mr Burns; dramaturge for The Australian Ballet's production of The Sleeping Beauty; movement director for the Helpmann Award nominated opera Fly Away Peter for Sydney Chamber Opera; choreographer for AIDA Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour for Opera Australia; and director and choreographer for Apples and Eve with Expressions Dance Company for Queensland Theatre’s Greenhouse Series.

Lucas has held positions as Affiliate Director at Griffin Theatre, Artistic Director of Buzz Dance Theatre, Rehearsal Director at Sydney Dance Company, Resident Choreographer at Louisville Ballet, and co-director of JACK Productions.

Lucas was appointed Contemporary Teacher at The Australian Ballet School in 2021.


PHILLIPA ZIEGENHARDT
Student Counsellor

Philippa grew up in Perth, Western Australia, where she began dancing as a child. She completed her training at The Hamburg Ballet School in Germany and danced professionally for 6 years with Hamburg Ballet – John Neumeier before returning to Australia, where she retrained as a Counsellor, obtaining an advanced diploma and a graduate certificate in Counselling and Family Therapy.

Philippa has been working with performing artists for the last 10 years in private practice as well as providing online performance mindset training for dancers through her online platform StageMinded.com. Philippa is currently School Counsellor at The Australian Ballet School, where she has enjoyed being part of a leading team of health professionals supporting dance students’ wellbeing and performance since 2017.

 

NATALYA BOBENKO
Guest & Melbourne Community Access Teacher

Natalya has been teaching for over twenty years, participating in all Summer and Winter School programmes and guest teaching at the ABS since 2000.

Studying in many styles of dance, Natalya has had an extensive performing career in television, film and musical theatre. Natalya’s most recognised role was Maria in Saturday Night Fever, touring Australia, Asia and New Zealand – for which she received a Green Room Nomination. Dream Ballet Laurey in Oklahoma! (The Production Company) and dancing in front of Queen Elizabeth II at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester were career highlights.

For the past 20 years, Natalya has taught in prestigious schools around the country; and in the last 10 years, Natalya has played a major role in establishing the dance programme at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) for the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Musical Theatre). Natalya is thrilled to be a part of The Australian Ballet School’s faculty to assist, motivate and inspire our young budding participants.

 

MEGAN CONNELLY
Guest Teacher

Megan has been working with our students since 2010 and has completed a Vocational Graduate Certificate in Elite Dance Instruction.

Megan joined The Australian Ballet in 1991 and performed in works such as The Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, Giselle and Symphony in C. Following her passion for teaching, Megan later became a Principal Teacher at the Christine Walsh Dance Centre and in 2000, Megan was Ballet Mistress for the Sansouci Music Festival in Berlin.

Megan returned to The Australian Ballet where she became Assistant to the Artistic Director and Ballet Coach. Megan also returned to the stage in 2009, performing in Alexei Ratmansky’s Scuola di ballo.