Term One 2017 has certainly flown and with the Easter break upon us, I wish to acknowledge and congratulate all the staff and students of the School for a
wonderfully productive, healthy and creative term.

Highlights have included our Level 7 students completing their Intensive Spanish Programme, Parent Access Week where the studios were opened up to families offering over 80 classes for viewing, plus across the term we have welcomed many esteemed visitors including David Bintley (Birmingham Royal Ballet) and Will Minson (retired AFL Western Bulldogs player). Rehearsals have commenced on new creations by Simon Dow, Margaret Wilson and Paul Knobloch and we have also been busy reviving Paquita, A Singular Sequence and two works by Mark Annear,
to name just a few.

Our Level 4 students attended Lord Somers on their VCASS camp, whilst Level 5 students participated in the VCASS SHAW Programme. Our warmest congratulations are extended to Hilary Bland, who after stepping into role of Acting Principal in Term One, has now been officially appointed as the new VCASS Principal. We look forward to continuing our long and close VCASS association through her.  Students from Levels 4 - 6 participated in our Connecting with School Community Programme and all students have enjoyed the opportunity of ‘mufti days’ organised by our school leaders, raising funds for the Heart Foundation and Good Friday Appeal. Towards the end of term we all enjoyed the students ‘House Cheers’ alongside a great day of fun and games at our Annual House Day. Congratulations to everyone involved but especially Helpmann (green) House for taking out the coveted trophy.

Over the school break we are looking forward to welcoming our Level 3 and Invitee Females for their April Intensive Training Session. To all our students and families in the After School, Full-time, ITPs/Invitees, Early Learning, Boys and Extension programmes, please enjoy a restful Easter break; we look forward to welcoming all students in all programmes at the commencement of Term Two.

Lisa Pavane, Director of The Australian Ballet School


Congratulations to all our School Leaders for 2017:

Sara Andrlon
Matthew Bradwell

Vice Captains
Emma Koppelman
Lilyana Scott
Eilis Small
Pol Andres Thio

Level 7 Class Leaders
Annaliese Macdonald
Alexander Mitchell

Level 6 Class Leaders
Belle Urwin
Adam Elmes


Level 5 Class Leaders
Annabelle Watt
Luca Armstrong

Level 4 Class Leaders
Jessica Stratton-Smith   
Nicholas Johnson




“The task of the modern educator is not to
cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts”

C.S Lewis

Joanne Michel was born in Canberra of Polish parents. She studied ballet with
Katerina Druzins until the age of eleven, after which she studied with Bryan
Lawrence and Janet Karin, both former Principals of The Australian Ballet.

At the age of fifteen Joanne was accepted into The Australian Ballet School, which was running at that time as a two year course. Joanne was accepted into The Australian Ballet in 1977 reaching the rank of Principal in 1982. Joanne has had the privilege to work with many choreographers including Glen Tetley, Graeme Murphy AO, Jiri Kylian, and danced leading roles in Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Onegin and Romeo and Juliet to name a few. Joanne was awarded the Pavlova Prize by Serge Lifar in 1981 and the Inaugural Dance Australia Award for the most popular Female Dancer.

Joanne began teaching in 1987, freelancing around Melbourne and also
adjudicating for the RAD and Cecchetti Society. In 2002/03 Joanne was Ballet
Mistress for The Dancers Company, having been a Guest Artist on the first tour
in 1980. For the last 13 years Joanne has been teaching the Level 8
(graduate year) female students of The Australian Ballet School.

"To nurture, develop and watch the next generation of dancers become
the future of dance is both challenging and rewarding. Teaching through experience and an understanding of what it takes to be a professional
is why we are here. To pass on knowledge and develop not only the
technique but the artistry of dance."

Joanne Michel




In 2017, five graduates from The Australian Ballet School joined The Australian Ballet as members of its entry rank, the corps de ballet: Daniel Idaszak (photo above by Sergey Konstantinov), Yuumi Yamada, Alexandra Moore and Yichuan Wang graduated in 2016. 2015 graduate Saranja Crowe, a regular participant in the company’s Storytime Ballet and Regional Tour programs, also joined the corps de ballet.

In other news, Asja Petrovski commenced a short term contract with Ballet du France
in February, Elise Foster has accepted a short-term contract for the Swan Lake season with Royal Swedish Ballet and Saki Isonaga has recently joined Het Nationale Ballet training programme in Amsterdam. Tene Ward has joined
The Australian Ballet's Storytime Ballet.

"I’m absolutely loving it over here in Europe. I’m currently in Munich
and doing classes at Tanzprojekt Munich with some great teachers who
have a lot of experience in various companies in Europe. It has been really helpful to be in situations where I don’t know anyone, there are different styles of teaching and class, and even different languages!
Anastasia McDonald-Spicer




The Australian Ballet School recenly held its House Day for 2017 with creative House Cheers at our studios and then a great afternoon of food, fun and games at Marilyn Rowe House. In the past we have held a swimming carnival but this year a mini-olympics of games including giant sized versions of Jenga and Connect Four kept students of all ages entertained. There was also time to play and relax on bean bags on the lawn, a well-earned respite from the rigours of the ballet studio.

The four houses of the School are Coe (Yellow), Helpmann (Green),
Gorham (Red) and Van Praagh (Blue). The overall winners of House Day
were Helpmann and best House Cheer was taken out by Gorham.

 It was a great day once again and wonderful to see the students having so much fun! A big thank you to students and staff for all your efforts and thanks to Steven McKee and the boarding programme staff for hosting us at Marilyn Rowe House.




You are invited to our annual 2017 Gala Dinner featuring a special performance
of Almost choreographed by Graeme Murphy AO and a sumptuous feast by
Fred & Ginger Catering. All in support of providing access and services to students
at The Australian Ballet School, school of The Australian Ballet.

Thursday 18 May 2017 at 7.00pm for 7.30pm
Studios, The Primrose Potter Australian Ballet Centre
2 Kavanagh Street, Southbank VIC 3006

Black Tie
RSVP by Friday 5 May 2017 (
$500 per person (includes a tax-deductible donation of $350)
$5,000 per table of 10 (includes a tax-deductible donation of $3500)




Term 1 has been incredibly busy at Marilyn Rowe House, as students new and old have settled in and new friendships have developed. With an increase in numbers, we have seen a core of 13 returning boarders joined by 17 new students. We have also had the opportunity to welcome visitors throughout the term, most noticeably new Australian Ballet Company Member and former Marilyn Rowe House boarder Yichuan “Jerry” Wang. A number of significant changes since 2016 have included the introduction of our new catering team from Cater Care led ably by Harriet. Dinner times have become a noisy place with students and staff alike sharing stories of the day and enjoying the food. In addition to this, we have created an additional senior student common room for our Level 7 and 8 Students to have an area all to themselves in order to get away from the hustle and bustle of the main house.

Australia Day saw students both new and old throwing themselves in the “Amazing Race – Melbourne” this day was a chance to experience Melbourne on a Public Holiday and see some of the amazing tourist destinations that are on our very doorstep. From photos with Sailors at The Shrine of Remembrance to Tram Selfies, the students seemed to have a good time and countless stories have developed from this great day. Congratulations to Stephanie Moore, Annabelle Watt, Sophie Kerr, Samara Merrick and Tom Soepono for being the eventual winners of the day.

As we look ahead to Term 2, we have plenty of activities planned for the students and I am sure that a whole host of new adventures and experiences will lie ahead. Enjoy the break and we will see you on the 17th.


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 litte about 4 of our 15 Level 8s.


Pol Andres Thio, 19

“I'm really passionate about dance and choreography. Through my studies at the School, I aim to build a strong technique so I can further develop as an artist in my career.”


Maggie de Koning, 19

“I have grown up in Melbourne in a family of six kids, one of which is my twin brother. I started my training at the School in Level 1 when I was 9 years old.”


Matthew Bradwell, 19

“I have a passion for travelling and I aspire to be in a company, here or abroad, that would allow me to see and explore the world.”



Lilyana Scott, 17

“I am originally from Adelaide, and have been very fortunate that my whole family moved to support me on this journey. I strive to make the most of every moment I have at the School and look forward to what the future holds.”



Leigh Johns, Chairman of The Australian Ballet School, has been awarded
a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the Australia Day Awards 2017.

Mr Johns, a Fair Work Commissioner since March 2013, received the award for meritorious services to the community through the performing arts, primary health
care and to industrial relations. Mr Johns joined the Board of The Australian Ballet School in 2002 and became its Chairman in 2011.

“Leigh Johns has been a valuable contributor to The Australian Ballet School’s success over the years. As a board member and then as Chairman, Leigh has been instrumental in realising the aims of the School by striving to accomplish the visions and ambitions of its Directors during his tenure; firstly for Marilyn Rowe OBE and now for myself. Leigh has applied his valuable guidance most recently to the School’s project of creating a Boarding Programme and through his considered oversight and skills engaging with stakeholders has seen Marilyn Rowe House open to boarders in 2016. We congratulate Leigh on this honour and thank him for his service
to The Australian Ballet School.” 

- Lisa Pavane

Mr Johns said he was truly honoured to receive the OAM for the volunteer work he had performed.

“As Australia’s national centre for elite vocational classical dance and the school of the Australian Ballet, The Australian Ballet School is an important national institution, and I feel blessed to be able to contribute in a small way
to its important mission. Seeing The Australian Ballet School produce dancers of the highest calibre for our parent company and companies around
the world has been the greatest gift of my involvement.”

- Leigh Johns

Photo by Lynette Wills: Commissioner Leigh Johns, Sara Andrlon and Noah Dunlop.



On 26 February 2017, philanthropist, “arts angel”, and the Deputy Chair
of The Australian Ballet School passed away at home at the age of 90.
We still cannot believe that our dear friend is no longer with us.
Our thoughts are with Betty’s friends and family at this sad time.

Betty was one of The Australian Ballet School’s dearest supporters and our memories of her will be treasured. She made such a difference to the lives of our students and her passion helped realise the hopes and dreams of young ballet dancers all over Australia. Betty’s legacy extends to the future of ballet in Australia; as former students of the School succeed on the stages of the world and beyond. Betty was not only Chair of the campaign to secure a residence for our students – she was its champion. The new “Betty Amsden AO Wing” is one of her many lasting legacies.

Betty was an accomplished businesswoman and self-made in every sense of the word, having established one of the first modern aged-care facilities in Australia. What was hard-worked for was generously given away and Betty was a tireless supporter of a multitude of organisations including; Arts Centre Melbourne, Orchestra Victoria, The Australian Ballet, and of course, The Australian Ballet School. Betty’s humanitarian and charitable work has been honoured by many awards and in 2014, she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia.

In reverence and remembrance.




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