Graduate Certificate in Classical Ballet Pedagogy

Moscow State Academy of Choreography

Graduate Diploma in Classical Ballet Teaching

University of Melbourne: Victorian College of the Arts

Bachelor of Dance

University of Melbourne: Victorian College of the Arts

State-Examined Classical Dancer

John Cranko-School, Stuttgart, Germany 

Teaching Method

The Vaganova Method of ballet training is widely regarded as the best training system in the world.  Kate’s classes are based on this method, yet adapted to Australian students.  Kate trained in the Vaganova method from age 16 onwards, first at the John Cranko-School in Germany, and later in professional companies.  In Melbourne, Kate studied the Vaganova pedagogical methods at the Victorian College of the Arts and subsequently studied under Nina Osipyan (Classical Ballet) and Alida Segal (International Character Dance), both of whom have been instrumental in her teaching development.  In 2012, she travelled on a ballet study tour to Moscow and St Petersburg, and was awarded a certificate in ballet pedagogy from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy.  She is also qualified in teaching the International Character Dance Syllabus and the Australian Conservatoire of Ballet’s examination syllabus.

Artistic Directorship

Kate founded the Melbourne School of Classical Dance in 2008 and grew the school from two sisters to 250 students, many of whom have gone on to further studies at pre-professional academies around the world.  She sold the school in 2017 and remained as Artistic Director until April 2020.   

Stage Career

Kate knows only too well the highs and lows of a professional dance career. Upon graduating from the John Cranko-School, she trained for six months with The Stuttgart Ballet before joining a number of ballet companies in Germany – Ballet Compagnie Deutschland, Berlin, Malaika Kasumi Ballet Theatre, Frankfurt, Das Meininger Theatre, Volkstheatre Rostock. Her favourite contract was arguably performing with the famous violinist André Rieu for the Australian leg of his World Stadium Tour – first traveling to Vienna for rehearsal, then returning to Australia to perform at stadiums filled with over 60,000 people. Another career highlight was working with The Australian Ballet’s educational program,  “Out There – The Australian Ballet in Schools”, introducing dance in primary schools around Victoria. 

Younger Years

Born and bred in Newcastle, Kate took her first ballet class at age 6 in a church hall and immediately fell in love with classical music and the magical world of dance. When she wasn’t in ballet class physically, her mind was never far away.  She recalls practising toe exercises under the school desk and dancing up the supermarket isles, dreaming of performing in far-away places.  She converted to full-time ballet studies in Year 10 to the horror of her father who thought she should get a sensible education. The Marie Walton-Mahon Dance Academy was her springboard out of Newcastle when she was accepted into the John Cranko-School in Stuttgart, Germany at age 16.  Five Australians joined the class in 1999 and Kate was one of only two to graduate.

Photos: Kristina Kingston

You’re the best teacher I’ve ever had and I owe everything to you!

– Pre-professional, taught by Kate for six years.