Letter to Parents and Guardians - COVID-19

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CBI's faculty is composed of a diverse group of brilliant teachers whose backgrounds provide students with a variety of artistic influences. All staff members undergo continual professional development throughout the year; particularly in the Vaganova methodology of training, ensuring the highest quality tuition for your child.

The faculty is led by Sonya Shepherd; Artistic Director of the Institute and Director of Youth Ballet WA; Western Australia’s premiere youth performing ballet company. Terri Charlesworth OAM, now semi retired remains on staff as an integral part of the artistic development of the institute.

Please note that all of our staff hold a current working with Children Check

Perth Ballet School & Ballet Classes
Sonya Shepherd

Dancing from four years of age, Sonya trained formally under the guidance of her mother, Terri Charlesworth, OAM, WA Cit. at The Terri Charlesworth Ballet School and later at the Graduate College of Dance (GCD) under the direction of Terri Charlesworth. On completion of her studies in 1977 she graduated with a Diploma of Dance. She then continued her training with Marika Besobrasova at the Princess Grace Acadamie de Danse Classique in Monte Carlo. In 1978 Sonya was invited by Margaret Scott to attend the Australian Ballet School; Anne Woolliams also invited her to the Hamburg Ballet School, she however continued her training with Marika Besobrasova in Monte Carlo. During her many years of ballet training Sonya’s teachers included: Yanina Ciunovas, Carlo Garcia, Maris Leipa, Asaf Messerei, Lubov Nikonorenko, Robert Ray, Martin Rubinstein, Anne Woolliams and Yuri Vasilkov. Having been exposed to this high quality of diverse training from such a young age, Sonya developed a passion to share her knowledge and began teaching in 1978.

For a brief, yet highly productive period, Sonya moved away from the world of classical ballet to pursue a career in competitive professional aerobics. Having represented Australia in three international aerobics titles and Western Australia in nine national tiles, Sonya now draws upon this experience and uses cardio vascular and strength training within the classical ballet syllabus.

The early 1990’s saw Sonya once again turn her talents to classical ballet as a teacher at the GCD under the direction of Terri Charlesworth and became Director of the Terri Charlesworth School of Ballet (TCSB). Due to a change in direction in 2001, Sonya left her teaching position with the GCD and recreated the Junior Professional Programme – formerly established by Terri - as a part of the TCSB and in recognition of Western Australia’s need for a full time training alternative for the state’s most talented dancers. Sonya drew heavily upon her mother’s expertise throughout this process and managed to coax Terri out of retirement to take on the role of Senior Classical Ballet Teacher and to work closely with the Programme’s rapidly increasing number students. The developments of the next few years astounded Sonya whose anticipations for the slow growth of her new venture were met with more than 20 enrolments in the first year, and now, 12 years on, as both her and the Programme’s reputations have spread, more than 160 students train for up to 40 hours a week under the newly named College Programme now delivered by the Charlesworth Ballet Institute (CBI).

Under Sonya’s direction, CBI qualified as a Registered Training Organisation in 2005 offering its students Certificate III and IV in Ballet Performance. In building on these developments CBI has gone on to receive Curriculum Council endorsement to offer Year 11 and 12 ATAR Dance Studies. Many of CBI’s senior students undertake Year 11 and 12 ATAR studies whilst simultaneously completing Certificate III and IV, enabling them to graduate with a West Australian Certificate of Education, ATAR completion, university eligibility, and a nationally recognised qualification.

Having now established CBI and the College Programme, Sonya travels with the group of graduating students to Europe each year to audition for their final year of training with international schools. In pursuit of cementing and then surpassing these standards of excellence for CBI, Sonya formally handed the Directorship of the Terri Charlesworth Ballet Centre back to her mother in 2008 so she could focus on the continued growth and development of CBI; an institution that she sees as one of the world’s very finest in classical dance training.

It was always a deep passion of Sonya’s to offer dedicated young dancers regular and high quality performance opportunities. Sonya saw it as essential that the students were able to perform in both a professional environment alongside guest artists from some of the world’s most prestigious ballet companies, and in smaller-scale community events showcasing their talents to the rest of the state. Out of this passion Youth Ballet WA (YBWA) was born. YBWA now encompasses the College Programme; which now boasts a vibrant and talented band of extremely gifted dancers ranging in ages from eight to 21 years.

Ballet Classes Perth
Classical Ballet Studies Consultant / Artistic Advisor

Terri Charlesworth was awarded the Order of the Medal of Australia (OAM) in 1994 for her contribution to dance in Australia, the West Australian Citizen of Year for Arts and Culture in 2006 and the Ausdance Lifetime Award in 2012. Many students who have trained under her have had successful careers in ballet, joining State and leading International ballet companies rising to principal ballerinas and soloists. Her latest graduate is Briana Shepherd who joined New York City Ballet in 2005.

Terri began her dance training in Melbourne and contributes her success to the number of well-respected teachers she encountered during her training. Among them were Kira Bousloff, Serge Bousloff, Leon Kelloway, Madam Saronova, Madam Borovansky and Margaret Walker.

Terri joined the WA Ballet Company as a founding member in 1952. In 1957 she was awarded the Ulanova Laureate prize for performing "The Brolga" at an international dance competition in Moscow. It was in this year that she first witnessed the training methods of the Bolshoi Ballet School. She travelled to London in 1958 and studied dance training with Audrey de Vos and Maria Fay.

She became the first ballerina with West Australian Ballet in 1959, and in 1960 was appointed Assistant Director remaining with the Company as dancer and choreographer until 1967.
1960 saw her establish the Terri Charlesworth Ballet School, now directed by her daughter Sonya.

At the beginning of 1970 the Department of Education employed Terri to introduce and teach classical dance at Scarborough Senior High School. In 1972 she co-founded & then directed the Graduate College of Dance. Once again she had incredible insight and innovation in offering Western Australia's first 3 year tertiary level course in dance for those wanting a career as dancers, teachers and or choreographers. The 3 year course was recognised under the Commonwealth Tertiary Allowance scheme.

In 1977 the Russian Ministry of Culture invited Terri for a 2 month study tour. While there she visited the Kirov Vaganova Ballet Academy, which was to be one of the milestones in her life. It was here that she was introduced to the Vaganova training method. Instantly recognising the different technique allowed the dancer a longer dancing career with far less injuries she was quick to bring the method back to Australia, followed by constant visits to the Vaganova School St. Petersburg and the teacher training institute G.I.T.I.S. in Moscow. In 1982 she introduced the method to the Australian Ballet School when she was appointed a Senior Classical Ballet teacher.

Back in Perth in 1990 with the co-operation of the Education Department, Terri organized and directed “The Dance Performance Course” a five hour dance training for talented students integrated with their academic studies. The course commenced its operations at Swanbourne Senior High School, Terri also wrote the Year 11 & 12 Ballet Syllabus for the Curriculum Council of Western Australia.

Her expertise has seen her teach in companies and schools throughout the world. She has directed & produced many of the ballet classics including Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Coppelia, Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty & Cinderella, and is a Founding Board Member of the Marika Besobrasova Foundation.

Tatiana Pevneva
Classical Specialist

Tatiana began her dance training in 1984 with the Vaganova Ballet Academy of St. Petersburg. There, under the Professor Irina Trofimova, she studied for eight years – graduating in 1992.

Tatiana performed with the St. Petersburg Theatre of Classical Ballet as a demi-soloist for the next six years, until in 1998; she progressed to the role of soloist with the St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre of Konstantin Tatchkin. While a member of these companies, Tatiana performed a wide repertoire of classical and neo–classical roles touring internationally.

Leaving Russia in 2004, Tatiana performed the principal role of Princess Aurora for Youth Ballet WA’s 2005 production of Sleeping Beauty before taking up a teaching position with them as Ballet Mistress.

Since joining Youth Ballet WA Tatiana has restaged a number of classical ballets including Swan Lake (2006), Don Quixote (2007), Sleeping Beauty (2008) and The Nutcracker (2006/2007/2008). In 2008, she choreographed the entire ballet La Fille Mal Gardée for a cast of over 500 dancers.

Sharon Dalla Costa ~ BA Dip Ed
Certificate III-IV and Contemporary Dance Coordinator

Sharon has come from a diverse background of dance. At 14, she received a scholarship with West Australian Ballet, which led her to focus on choosing dance as a career. Whilst completing her TEE she trained with Terri Charlesworth. Moving to Melbourne she went on to study a Bachelor of Arts at VCA, University of Melbourne. As a professional dancer Sharon was fortunate to tour both nationally and internationally with various companies including Chrissie Parrot Dance Collective, Paul Mecurio’s Australian Choreographic Ensemble, the Australian Opera Ballet Company and the Sydney Dance Company. Sharon was also the Associate Director for her own project dance company, The Australian Dancers Company, here in Perth.

With a passion for teaching Sharon complimented her dance skills with a Graduate Diploma in Education and has lectured, choreographed and conducted Master Classes for various Dance schools, universities and dance companies. Sharon began teaching full time with Terri Charlesworth at the Graduate College of Dance teaching both Classical Ballet and Contemporary Dance. After Terri retired Sharon left the GCD to work with Sonya in developing the program for the JJP. She now coordinates the certified Certificate III and IV in Ballet Performance and runs the year 11, Stage 2 Dance Course of Study. Sharon’s main passion at the Charlesworth Ballet Institute is teaching and coordinating the contemporary and composition dance classes from Prep A - Certificate IV students.

Lynn Martlew
ADPA(Dance), RAD TC, PdeB & MdeB(SDS), IdeB & PdeB (SDI), Pilates Level 2 (APMA), Cert 4 Personal Trainer, Pilates Mat Level 1 & 2
Spanish Dance Specialist

Lynn has achieved advanced levels with honors in ballet under Madame's Gundi Ferris and Kira Bousloff, and Spanish dance under Deanna Blatcher(SDI) and Rhoda Rivkind (SDS).
After graduating from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), gaining an Associate Diploma and awarded “the Robert Finlay Dance Award” for top achievement in her year of study, Lynn followed her love of Spanish dance. One of the founding members of Danza Viva Spanish dance company, Lynn has remained passionate about the dance form and has worked for 25 years as a Spanish dancer, teacher and choreographer, locally, interstate and abroad.

Lynn has performed with Danza Viva Spanish dance company, the South Australian Opera company, Flamenco Soul, Flamenco Pure, Terria, Primavera, Hay Bistro, Audance, Kultra (MACWA), Perth City Ballet, Youth Ballet WA. She was also featured in the film “Lets Get Skase” and Danced the “Cachucha” as a soloist for The Gilbert and Sullivan Society production “Got a Little List”.

Lynn has received numerous grants from the State Government, Audance WA and MACWA and was awarded the 2007 West Australian Dance Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Community Dance” by Ausdance WA.

Lynn is always eager to learn and attends courses to further her knowledge and to stay up with new developments and innovations in dance and movement. In recent years she has gained her Certificate III and IV in personal training with the Institute of Sport and has obtained numerous Pilates certificates.
Lynn is a renowned and respected teacher and loves being a faculty member of the Charlesworth Ballet institute and takes great pride in parting her Knowledge and expertise onto the students.

Cassie Walton ~ Cert III in Ballet Performance

Cassie began her ballet training at the age of 5 with the Terri Charlesworth Ballet Centre. At 9 she successfully auditioned for the GCD under the direction of Terri Charlesworth. When she was 13 she joined the Junior Professional program where she combined her ballet & academic studies. As a dancer Cassie studied under Lubov Nikonorenko (former Kirov Ballet) Terri Charlesworth (OAM), Sonya Shepherd and Tatiana Pevneva. Cassie has performed in many Classical ballets such as Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote and more alongside dancers from the Bolshoi Ballet, The Australian Ballet and The West Australian Ballet Cassie displayed a love for children and a passion for teaching, which was instrumental in her being offered the opportunity to participate in an intensive teacher training program and professional development. Cassie regularly participates in Professional Development programs such as; The Understanding of Children with Joan Pope, Anatomy with Terri Charlesworth (OAM), Character History with Yury Vaslikov (Marinsky Theatre) and Children’s Creativity with Sharon Dalla-Costa (BA, Dip Ed). Cassie taught the ballet programme at St Mary's Anglican Girls' School for 4 years which she thoroughly enjoyed.  Cassie has her Certificate III of Ballet Performance (51416) and  is the Head of Charlesworth Ballet School. Cassie teaches our Prep A & B students in the College and at our North Perth Branch for the school.

Tamice Puckridge
Head of Charlesworth Ballet School & Teacher

Tamice began her dance training at the age of 4. She studied Classical Ballet with Charlesworth Ballet School, formerly known as Terri Charlesworth Ballet Centre, and she studied Tap with Johnny Young Talent School.  She danced with Johnny Young Talent School until she auditioned successfully for the Junior Professional Course at Charlesworth Ballet College at age 8.

Tamice began her fulltime dance and academic studies with Charlesworth Ballet College at the age of 12 and by the age of 17 completed her Certificate I, II, III & IV in Ballet Performance. During this time she studied Classical Ballet, Contemporary, Spanish, Character etc with well-known instructors such as Terri Charlesworth, Tatiana Pevneva, Yury Vasilkov and Lubov Nikonorenko. Tamice auditioned successfully for the Summer Intensive Programme at Ballet West in Utah, which she attended in 2010 for 6 weeks.

Teaching was always something Tamice wanted to do in her future. Not long after leaving Charlesworth, Tamice began working with Activated Group instructing Dance and Gymnastics Programs at numerous Primary Schools across the metro area. She also spent a term working with the students in the Special Needs Program at Cloverdale Primary School and presented a dance performance, with the students, at Belmont Forum in 2014.

Tamice is now managing Charlesworth Ballet School as well as teaching Classical and Contemporary classes. Tamice is teaching Classical to our Level 1 students in Charlesworth Ballet College, Contemporary to our Prep C and Level 1 - 4 students, as well as Classical to our Charlesworth Ballet School students in Grades 1, 3 and 4.

Ewa Jelonek
Music Specialist & Pianist

Eva started her music education at the age of 3 in Poland. Her first job as a professional pianist was with the Polish Dance Theatre in Poznan. In 1980 she moved to Australia and played for WA Ballet Company until 1993 when she moved to America playing with American Ballet Theatre, Elliot Feld Ballet Company, New Dance Group Studio & was rehearsal pianist for New York musicals on Broadway. She returned to WA in 1999 and since then has played for West Australian Ballet and at West Australian Academy of Performing Arts. She now considers Western Australia her home but has made brief guest visits to Melbourne, Sydney and USA.

A professional pianist whose understanding of music is second to none. Since 2004 has been the resident pianist and she teaches music to the full-time students of the Charlesworth Ballet College.

Jude Harriss

Jude began her dance training at six years of age, studying many varied styles including Classical Ballet, Jazz and Tap dance. Her love of children led her into a career in early childhood. With a Diploma in Social Science obtained from Meeralinga, Jude has worked with young children for over 20 years. She incorporated her love of performing arts by creating and implementing dance and music sessions for children aged 2-6 years in weekly developmental programmes. She has also enhanced her education in early childhood development attending a variety of courses on growth and play, learning, and music.

In recent years, Jude developed her dance, music and teaching skills attending Dalcroze workshops taught by, amongst others, Joan Pope OAM. She has extended her repertoire in working with children to include animating children’s parties based around dance, music and fun! Jude also holds a Diploma in Nutrition and is a mother of two teenage children. Jude teaches at our Guildford, Applecross and Carine Branches in the school.

Michelle Jarrot ~ Associate Diploma of Performing Arts Dance (W.A.A.P.A), ARAD - Solo Seal

Former principal of her own dancing school in Swanbourne and graduate of the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Michelle has gained extensive training and performing experience in London, Russia and Spain. Michelle was a member of the West Australian Ballet Company and a founding member of Danza Viva Spanish Dance Company.

An accredited teacher in both Classical and Spanish dance, Michelle began teaching for the Terri Charlesworth Ballet School in Margaret River in 2002. Since relocating to Perth in 2003 she has continued teaching with the School and currently teaches at our Duncraig and Claremont Branches along with the Grade 3/4 & 5 students at Wembley Downs.

Ilila Chown

International ballet dancer, Ilila began her classical ballet training at the Terri Charlesworth Ballet Centre at six years of age. Her talent was quickly noticed, finally graduating with honors from the professional student class of Terri Charlesworth. Ilila was awarded a scholarship to continue her studies at the Paluucca Schule Dresden in Germany.

She then danced with the Internationally acclaimed Dresden Staatsoper Ballet Company performing in the Sleeping Beauty, La Baydadere and Taming the Shrew. Returning to Perth, Ilila decided to continue her career of teaching. Her warm personality combined with creativity, expertise and dedication make her a most popular teacher of our students. Ilila teaches grades 7-11 at North Perth.

Lauren Kelly

Lauren commenced her ballet training at age 6 with Brian Hewitt (ARAD, MBBO) and continued her dance education at The Terri Charlesworth School of Ballet. At 12, Lauren was accepted into the full time programme of the Graduate College of Dance at Swanbourne Senior High School under the direction of Terri Charlesworth. During this time Lauren studied Classical ballet, Character and Contemporary with Lara Gandini, Margaret Jones, Beth James, Joan Pope (OAM) and Lubov Nikenorenko (Kirov Ballet). As a dancer, Lauren performed alongside Jacinta Ross, Sian Stokes, Alan Alder, and Jayne Smeulders. Lauren has taught for the Junior Ballet Programme at Perth College with Jane Murray (Director).Lauren teaches at our Morley, North Perth and South Perth Branch for the school.

Ballet Dance Teacher Perth
Lea Cullen Lynes

Lea began her dance training at age 8 years in ballet, tap and jazz. After graduating from high school Lea successfully completed an Associate Diploma of Dance from WAAPA under acclaimed teachers Lucette Aldous and Alan Alder and later a Bachelor of Arts in Music Theatre from WAAPA. She was invited to teach within the Music Theatre department during her final year of study, coordinating the Dance program and choreographing for visiting artists such as the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of 'Willpower' and many other College performances.

Lea also studied dance with Gail Meade Performing Arts Centre during her time at WAAPA where she was inspired and later influenced by Ms Meades gentle, humorous and effective teaching style. Upon graduating from WAAPA, Lea was offered the  position as Head of Dance and Movement for the newly created Music Theatre Diploma at the National Theatre in Melbourne. She also taught Ballet, Jazz, Tap and Music Theatre to students at the National's full time Ballet school.

During her 7 years in Melbourne she also worked as Dance co-ordinator at Laureston Girls School in Melbourne, choreographing their major music theatre  performances, choreographed the Australian premiere performance of A Journey Girl, written by Anthony Crowley and starring Amanda Harrison and taught full-time dance students at Bartuccio Dance and Promotions.  Lea then relocated to Ballarat in Victoria to take up the position as Head of Department (Dance and Movement) at the University's New School of Arts, coordinating the Bachelor of Arts courses in Music Theatre and Acting.

After 3 years of being very cold (!!) in Ballarat and wanting to move home to the warm west and family, she accepted the role as Full time Performing Arts teacher at St Mary's College in Broome teaching Kindy-YR12. Here she met her husband, had two kiddies and stayed for the next 7 years running her Performing Arts studio (DeckArts Studio) in Broome and later Karratha teaching students 2yrs-adult. Lea was also Senior Dance lecturer at the University of Notre Dame and WAAPA's Theatre Aboriginal course in Broome, Dance/Music theatre Co-ordinator for the Excellence in Arts programme at Karratha Senior High School and Specialist Dance teacher for Special Education students at Karratha Primary School. Lea brings over 25 years of professional and academic experience to Charlesworth College and is very excited to be sharing her passion for Performing Arts with Charlesworth students . Lea will be teaching at our Singleton Branch for the School and teaching Musical Theatre to our full time students.

Ballet Teacher Perth
Nel Williams

Nel began her dance training at a young age studying Classical Ballet, Tap and Modern techniques and continued through her university years in the UK. During this time she performed in many dance productions and was the recipient of several dance awards, including the Bishop prize for Dance at the University of Bath. Nel also studied piano, undertaking Royal Academy of Music performance and theory exams to Grade 5 level, orchestral percussion, and has been involved in various choirs and choral societies as a soloist and group singer.

Establishing her career as a Professional Linguist at the Foreign Office in London, Nel also maintained her passion for dance and endeavoured to keep dance as a part of her adult life, taking classes at Pineapple Studios in Covent Garden alongside her work. Now as a mother of two and having settled in Perth in 2010, she taught and facilitated music sessions for 0-5 year olds, proving to be very popular with children and parents alike, and in 2013 joined the teaching team of the Charlesworth Ballet School.  With her warm and engaging personality and oodles of enthusiasm to share her wonderful knowledge and passion for dance and music, she continues to capture the hearts of our students. Nel teaches our school students at our North Perth and Burswood Studios.

Ballet Class Teacher Perth
Andrea Ponga- Morgan

Born into a family of dancers, Andrea commencing her dance training at the age of 4. At the age of 10, she concentrated on the ISTD syllabus, studying Classical Ballet, Jazz, Tap and Contemporary, and also hip hop and funk. In 2001, Andrea graduated from the Specialist Dance Program at John Curtin College of the Arts with Honours. She then continued her studies in teacher training, and completed her Associate degree in ISTD – Modern Theatre.
Andrea has worked extensively throughout Perth as a dance teacher, both in school environments, and also running her own dance studio for six years. Throughout this period she attended many courses including those offered by Nappy Tabs and Marko Panzic.

Recently Andrea has taken some time out to experience life as a stay-at-home parent of two young preschool aged children. This has allowed her to reignite her love of dance, and the enjoyment of passing this love onto others. She is energetic, warm and bubbly, and is extremely excited to be a part of the Charlesworth Ballet School team at our Applecross, Canning Vale and Atwell locations!

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“The staff are the most amazing people in the world, such good training”

Laila Anne