Meet Lynette Wills
What drew you to teaching dance?
After dancing professionally for 19 years, teaching felt like a natural pathway once I retired from the stage. It’s also a good way to stay connected to the art form. As a dancer, you often feel like you understand how to develop your technique and self as an artist most effectively when your body is saying that’s enough. Therefore it is so valuable and rewarding to be able to pass on that knowledge to the next generation.
Do you specialise in a particular age group?
I teach all levels at times but specialise with students who are late teens. At this age they are still students but almost professionals and I enjoy the opportunity to explore with them how to bridge that gap.
How do you balance the importance of technique with the importance of artistry in your students?
This can be a difficult balance. I believe that artistry can support the technique and inform the movement quality, so I encourage the dancers to explore and develop technique and artistry equally.
What is the most rewarding part of teaching dance?
Seeing the students grow in confidence and trust who they are as artists.
What has changed since you were a student?
The relationship between teacher and student has definitely evolved to being more collaborative, with a focus on inspiring the dancers rather than demanding. The standard and detail of technique increases with each generation and the students are expected to be across a broader range of styles. Ballet is evolving and every professional company now has contemporary works in the repertoire, so it is essential that students are versatile and training for the current climate.
That advice would you give your students if they decide on a teaching career?
Keep watching and learning from others. As a teacher, you are often on your own. It is so informative and refreshing to hear how others get their messages across or how they lift the room.
If you had to choose one main line of advice to pass on to your pupils, what would it be?
Listen to your body, trust your instincts, remember to enjoy the feeling of movement in challenging times and you are your best teacher.
Lynette Wills is Head of Teaching and Learning at the Australian Ballet School.
The Australian Ballet School is excited to be creating “Possum Magic the Ballet”, a captivating new adaptation of the best-selling Australian children's book written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Julie Vivas. The new production will premiere at Arts Centre Melbourne on December 8, 2023, in the book’s 40th anniversary year.
Choreographed by Loughlan Prior, original new music composed by Clarie Cowan, with costumes and sets by Emma Kingsbury. December 8-10, 2023 Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne.