The Tanya Pearson Academy (TPA), has announced the exciting appointment of Lisa-Maree Cullum as its new Artistic Director. This is a homecoming for Lisa, who trained at TPA before becoming an international ballet star and Associate Artistic Director of the Bavarian Ballet Academy in Munich. The appointment also marks a new stage for the TPA, which earlier this year moved to brand new state of the art premises under the leadership of owners and Directors, Xanthe Geeves and Gregor Thieler.
Lisa-Maree brings with her decades of dancing and teaching experience combined with the expertise of company artistic direction. She will commence as Artistic Director of the TPA in 2024, but is already working with TPA students as a guest teacher for the remainder of 2023.
Lisa-Maree Cullum performing Aurora in Sleeping Beauty. Photo supplied by TPA.
Having made her name and career largely in the UK and Germany, the name of Lisa-Maree Cullum is perhaps not as well known in Australia, but even a quick read of her accomplishments makes it clear what an exceptional artist she is.
Born in New Zealand, Cullum trained with her mother from the age of four years before moving to Sydney to start her full-time training with the late Tanya Pearson OAM. From there she leapt onto the world stage, winning two major overseas awards in 1988 (the gold medal in the Royal Academy`s Adeline Genee Awards and another Award at the Prix de Lausanne) which enabled her to continue her studies at the prestigious Princesse Grace Dance Academy in Monaco, under the guidance of Madame Marika Besobrasova.
Lisa-Maree Cullum danced professionally with three major companies; moving from the English National Ballet to Deutsche Oper Berlin and finally to the Bavarian State Ballet in Munich where she danced an array of principal roles until her retirement from the stage in 2015. While many dancers spend years in the corps de ballet before being given the opportunity to dance soloist and principal roles, Lisa-Maree Cullum was given the opportunity to make her debut in the title role of Giselle with Deutsche Oper Berlin very early in her career – a testament to the strength of her talent and training at the Tanya Pearson Academy.
Lisa-Maree Cullum in the studio with TPA student Chelsea-Lee Nicholls. Photo credit TPA.
In 2008 Lisa-Maree was awarded the highest honorary title 'Kammertänzerin' by the German government for her contribution as a world class artist. She has appeared as a guest dancer on stages worldwide, like the Mariinsky Theatre St Petersburg, Imperial Ballet Moscow, Teatro alla Scala Milano, Teatro dell`Opera di Roma, National Theatre Prague, Royal Swedish Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Queensland Ballet and Royal New Zealand Ballet to name a few.
Lisa-Maree has extensive experience as a teacher and mentor. As well as being the former Associate Artistic Director and teacher of the Bavarian Ballet Academy (BBA) she is also a frequently invited guest in schools and companies throughout the world and is looking forward to her new role in Australia, preparing and guiding future generations of young artists, “I am delighted to be joining the TPA family and feel inspired to pass on my knowledge to the next generation of dancers, providing them with the tools and empowerment to follow their artistic vision.”
Applications for the 2024 intake of dancers for both the full-time and part-time schools of TPA are now being accepted. Interested applicants should visit https://tanyapearsonacademy.com.au/ for more information.