• Megan Connelly. Photo by Pierre Toussaint.
    Megan Connelly. Photo by Pierre Toussaint.

The announcement of Megan Connelly as the Australian Ballet School’s new director follows a global search that attracted candidates from Australia and abroad. The selection committee was comprised of Australian Ballet School Board Directors and sector experts, including the Australian Ballet’s longest serving Artistic Director and current 2024 Guest Artistic Director of the West Australian Ballet David McAllister AC, and current Artistic Director of the Australian Ballet, David Hallberg.

Megan Connelly will be the fifth director in the Australian Ballet School’s 60-year history, building upon the legacy of outgoing director Lisa Pavane and her predecessors, Marilyn Rowe AM OBE, Gailene Stock CBE AM and founding director Dame Margaret Scott AC DBE. With more than 30 years’ experience in Australia and abroad, she is an internationally recognised expert in vocational training and education, dancer rehabilitation and classical ballet pedagogy. Since 2010 Megan Connelly has been a Repetiteur and Rehabilitation Specialist at the Australian Ballet. In this role she has taught and rehearsed works for main stage performances and is responsible for the technical and artistic development and well-being of company dancers. Megan was part of the team that rehabilitated David Hallberg to return to the stage after a complex injury that almost ended his career as a Principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre and the Bolshoi Ballet.

Describing her as “one of the best ballet specialists in this country,” Artistic Director of the Australian Ballet David Hallberg said:

“Megan’s deep knowledge and unwavering commitment to ballet make her poised to propel The Australian Ballet School into its bright and ambitious future. It is without doubt that with our history together, the relationship between our two institutions will be a partnership backed by a genuine commitment to the future of dance here in Australia. I am thrilled to realise and strengthen even further the pathway between The Australian Ballet and The Australian Ballet School.”

Her appointment as Artistic Director and Head of School marks a return to the Australian Ballet School for Megan. From 2010 to 2020, while also working at the Australian Ballet, she was a member of the ABS’s teaching faculty—first under the directorship of Marilyn Rowe AM OBE and, subsequently, outgoing Director Lisa Pavane. During her time at the Australian Ballet School Megan auditioned, taught, and assessed students across the full-time and part-time training programs and contributed to the development of the ABS’s curriculum.

Megan Connelly said:

“I am deeply honoured to be appointed Artistic Director & Head of School of the Australian Ballet School. My profound respect and gratitude go to outgoing director Lisa Pavane and the previous directors who have each influenced my journey in their roles as teachers, dancers, mentors and changemakers. It is thrilling to be entrusted with continuing the proud legacy of Australia’s national ballet school, particularly in its 60th anniversary year. I am so excited to begin working with the talented students and staff of the School as we embark on the next 60 years of educating, shaping, sharing, and enriching our artists and artform in Australia.”

Megan’s early training began in Melbourne where she was taught by luminaries including Anne Woolliams at VCASS and Gailene Stock CBE AM at The National Ballet School. Her most influential training was at the Princess Grace Classical Dance Academy in Monte Carlo where she studied the Vaganova and French systems under the Academy’s founder and world-renowned teacher, Marika Besobrasova.

Megan joined The Australian Ballet in 1991 as a company dancer under then Artistic Director Maina Gielgud, before taking on the role of Assistant to the Ballet Staff and going on to follow her passion for teaching. She was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to research dance training, coaching and rehabilitation methods at major international ballet schools and companies, which took her to the USA and Europe in 2014.

Her global networks range from local dance studios and national companies such as Queensland Ballet, Sydney Dance Company and Bangarra Dance Theatre to prestigious international schools and companies including the School of American Ballet, New York City Ballet, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, American Ballet Theatre, Royal Ballet School, Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Mariinsky Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet School and Paris Opera Ballet.

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