ABS Staff Biographies

Artistic Staff


MEGAN CONNELLY
Classical Teacher 

SIMON DOW
Choreographer 

JIAYIN DU
Classical Teacher

Jiayin Du is a dedicated classical teacher to our Level 6 career and has enjoyed an extraordinary career as a Principal Dancer before joining The Australian ballet School in 2015.

Jiayin Du was born in Liaoning Province in China and began his full-time ballet training with School of Dance affiliated to Shenyang Conservatorium of Music from the age of 11. His natural talent was noticed at an early age in 1996 when he was selected by Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China as a contestant in a ballet competition in Paris. In 1997, Jiayin won the First Prize/Gold Medal in two significant competitions: The 5th China National Ballet Competition and The 6th Asia Pacific International Ballet Competition (Tokyo). Following the championship, Jiayin was offered as few opportunities to continue his ballet career/study overseas, in which he decided to take the dual scholarships from The Australian Ballet School (Gary Norman’s Scholarship) and Hong Kong Jean Wong Ballet (Tsinforn C Wong Memorial Scholarship) for his further study at The Australian Ballet School.

Upon his graduation with honours from The Australian Ballet School in 1999, Jiayin began his career with the Australian Ballet, where he performed the leading or solo roles in major classical ballets including Don Quixote, Coppelia, The Sleeping Beauty, La Sylphide, Giselle, Swan Lake and more. In 2004, with the strong support by The Australian Ballet, Jiayin took part in Varna International Ballet Competition (regarded as the Ballet Olympiad) as an Australian contestant. Jiayin was also invited as guest principal artist to perform in other ballet companies/institutions including Liaoning Ballet of China Gala Performance, The Australian Conservatoire of Ballet, etc.

After a long and successful career, Jiayin joined us in 2015 as a classical ballet teacher for Level 6 students. In the meantime, he started studying the ballet teachers’ course with The Australian Ballet School and was granted Graduate Diploma of Elite Dance Instruction in 2019.

CHRISTINE HOWARD
Character/Folkloric Teacher

Christine Howard studied Classical Ballet with Audrey Nicholls and Eve King. She was accepted into The Australian Ballet School in 1969 where she studied Character Dance with Madam Marina Berezowsky AM.

After graduating, she worked extensively under Madam Berezowsky and guest teachers, refining her skills in performance and character dance. Performing regularly with Kolobok Dance Company of Australia in festivals, she was rewarded with Principal Dancer status. Having retired from the stage she commenced teaching for Audrey Nicholls, Eve King and The Victorian College of the Arts.

Ms Howard has choreographed works for The Australian Ballet School for the Winter Arts Program, Morning Melodies and International Workshops. She has been invited to teach over several years at summer schools around Australia, New Zealand and overseas and has been the character teacher for The Australian Ballet School since 1974. 

IRINA KONSTANTINOVA 
Classical Teacher 

Irina Konstantinova was born in Russia and trained at the prestigious Vaganova Academy in St Petersburg. Upon graduating, Ms Konstantinova joined the USSR State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre. After winning the Grand Prix International Competition in Baku (USSR), Ms Konstantinova accepted a position with the Kirov Ballet (later Mariinsky Theatre). 

Ms Konstantinova had always felt a calling to the nurturing and training of aspiring dancers. She joined a relatively new classical company, the Tachkin Company, as a Principal artist, enabling her to accommodate its five year intensive study of ballet training for teachers as required by the Vaganova Academy. She emerged from this training with top marks and as a fully qualified teacher in the Vaganova method.

Ms Konstantinova accepted an invitation to guest teach at The Australian Ballet School in 2001. Such was her rapport with Australia and the School, she was lured from job opportunities at the famed Vaganova Academy to Melbourne. In 2002 and 2003 Ms Konstantinova performed with other Australian Ballet School staff members in Leigh Rowles’ Nutcracker – The Gift of a Dream.


SERGEY KONSTANTINOV
Classical Teacher

Sergey Konstantinov began his ballet training at ten years of age following selection for the legendary Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg. Upon graduating, he performed for the Ashkabad Opera and Ballet Theatre, winning second prize in The Baku International Ballet Competition (USSR).

In 1991, Mr Konstantinov was invited to join the Kirov Ballet (later The Mariinsky Theatre). Throughout his eleven years with The Mariinsky, Mr Konstantiov performed a wide number of leading roles including Swan Lake, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker, Don Quixote, Romeo and Juliet, Bayadere, Manon, Petrushka, Sheherezade and many others.

Mr Konstantinov has worked with choreographers such as Jacobson and Neumiere and toured all of Europe, America and Asia with the Kirov. Mr Konstantinov joined The Australian Ballet School in 2004.

SABRINA LENZI
Classical Teacher

Born in Italy, Sabrina Lenzi received her dance training at the Opera of Rome, finishing her ballet formation at the “Academié de Dance Classique de Montecarlo" with Marika Besobrasova. She began her career with the Stuttgart Ballet, where she rose to the rank of principal, performing many of John Cranko’s ballets leading roles. Ms. Lenzi joined Birmingham Royal Ballet as a principal, continuing to expand her repertory including works by Asthon and MacMillan.

Ms. Lenzi worked with many leading figures in the ballet world such as Marcia Haydée, David Bintley, Peter Wright, Maurice Béejart, Hans Van Manen, Jîrí Kiylián, John Neumeier, Mats Ek and James Kudelka, among others. She performed principal roles such as Aurora (The Sleeping Beauty), Odette/Odile (Swan Lake), Giselle (Giselle), Swanilda (Coppelia), Tatiana (Onegin), Juliet (Romeo and Juliet), and created several roles including Isabel (Bintley’s Edward II).

After retiring Ms. Lenzi completed the Pilates Teachers Training Program with Alan Herdman in London, focusing on anatomy and injury prevention. In 2003 Ms. Lenzi moved to Houston, Texas, joining the Houston Ballet Academy under the direction of Ms. Power and Mr.Welch, becoming Houston Ballet II Ballet Mistress and Principal of the Upper School.

During this time Ms. Lenzi also taught, coached and rehearsed Houston Ballet Company, co-staged Mr. Welch’s’ “La Bayadère” for the Joffrey Ballet Company, guest taught for the Colorado Ballet Company and Academy, Arizona Ballet Academy, Southland Ballet Academy, KKBallet and Architanz in Tokyo.

Sabrina was involved in the artistic collaborations between Houston Ballet II and the Hungarian Dance Academy in Budapest, with San Francisco Ballet School in San Francisco, and also with Hamburg Ballet School in Hamburg, for the weeklong 20 year celebration of John Neumeier’s “Yondering”.

In 2017, Sabrina joined the Australian Ballet School, where she is currently Artistic Teacher of Classical Dance for level 4 and level 6 female. 

Kirsty Martin

JOANNE MICHEL
Ballet Mistress & Classical Teacher 

Joanne Michel began her ballet training at the age of four with Katerina Druzins followed by the Bryan Lawrence School of Ballet and The Australian Ballet School. Joanne was offered a place with The Australian Ballet in 1977.

Joanne was promoted to Soloist in 1980 and was chosen to dance her first principal role as the Swan Queen in Swan Lake opposite Alexander Godunov. In the same year, she was awarded the Pavlova Prize by Serge Lifar during his trip to Australia. Having been promoted to the rank of Principal Artist, Joanne danced the lead roles in Onegin, Romeo and Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Giselle, The Nutcracker, La Sylphide, Don Quixote, Coppelia, La Fille Mal Gardée and many 20th century contemporary and classical works. Joanne has worked with choreographers and producers such as Glen Tetley, Alicia Markova, Irena Baronova, Choo San Goh, Erik Bruhn, Graeme Murphy, Jiři Kylián, Serge Lifar, Claire Motte and many others.

Joanne travelled overseas in 1986 to work with the Nederlands Dans Theater under choreographer/director Jiři Kylián. Returning to Australia, she performed in a special Gala performance of The Nutcracker in honour of Dame Margaret Scott and in choreographer Robert Ray’s Melbourne Dance Theatre projects. Joanne joined the staff of The Australian Ballet School in 2003.

ANDREW MURPHY
Classical Teacher

Andrew Murphy is a Ballet Master and 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, 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.

Christine Vavladellis

Lynette Wills

MARAGARET WILSON
Contemporary Teacher

Margaret Wilson studied ballet with Paul Hammond, obtaining the Royal Academy of Dance Solo Seal in 1970.  The following year, she commenced her professional dance career with Ballet Victoria performing many roles including The Glade by Rex Reid and Clara in The Nutcracker.

In 1972, Margaret joined Nederlands Dans Theatre where she worked with such choreographers as Jiri Kylian, Charles Czany and Jaap Flier and danced in works created by John Cranko, Hans Van Manen and Benjamin Harkarvey.  Later she performed with Scapino Ballet in Amsterdam dancing in Coppelia, The Nutcracker and many other ballets choreographed under the directorship of Armando Navarro. 

As a principal dancer with Australian Dance Theatre (ADT) from 1977 to 1985, Margaret gained recognition for her performances in works created by Christopher Bruce, Glen Tetley, Jonathan Taylor and Norman Morris. Margaret was also awarded a study grant from the South Australian Ministry for the Arts to study contemporary dance in New York.

Margaret has taught Classical Ballet and Contemporary Dance at the Centre for the Performing Arts in Adelaide and Contemporary Dance at the Victorian College of the Arts. She has been the Contemporary Dance teacher at The Australian Ballet School since 1990.