Leeanne Rutherford, BTA Staff, Director

Leeanne Rutherford

Director: Ballet Theatre Australia

Leeanne Rutherford has had a long and distinguished career in both Australia and abroad. As an internationally acclaimed ballerina, Leeanne held soloist and principal roles in ballets by Balanchine, Tudor, Nureyev, Tetley and Bejart, just to name a few. Her career saw her perform with world-renowned companies such as The Australian Ballet and Basel Stattheatre of Switzerland, as well as performing as a guest artist with numerous companies throughout the United States and Europe such as The Atlanta Ballet Company, New Jersey Ballet, Virginia Ballet Company, Wisconsin Ballet International Glasnost Tours, Festival of Lousiana, Berkshire Ballet, Connecticut Ballet and the Israeli Classical Ballet Company.

The qualities Leeanne was known for as a ballerina have translated into her being a much sought-after teacher both in Australia and overseas, and many of her students have gone on to successful careers in professional ballet companies in Europe, America, Canada and Australia. Her reputation for meticulous classical training along with developing the true artist in each student has seen professional dancers and students travel from around Australia, Japan, USA and New Zealand to take part in her training. Many ballet companies worldwide have also sought after Leeanne’s coaching skills, such as New York City Ballet and the Broadway Dance Center Programs in New York City. She has taught masterclasses to both professional dancers and students alike throughout Australia and the United States.

Oleg Timursin, BTA Staff, Ballet Master

Oleg Timursin

Lecturer for Classical Ballet, Pas de Deux & Character Dance

Oleg Timursin was born in Bashkirien, Russia and attended the famous Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg from the age of eleven until his graduation at eighteen years of age. He then graduated from the choreographic conservatorium of Rimsky Korsokov, which is the equivalent of a Bachelor of Arts in Australia. He began his professional career as a dancer at the St. Petersburg Operetta Ballet Theatre and choreographed at the St. Petersburg Music Hall and the Friedrichstaadt Palast in Berlin. Oleg has choreographed countless television shows, operas, ballets on ice, theatre productions and cabarets.

He created the choreography for the dance films “Balsaminov’s Wedding” and “Musical Games,” as well as a one-act ballet for Farouk Rusimatov’s evening at The Marinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. The choreography for Anton Rubinstein’s opera, “The Demon” at the Bregenz Festival in Austria and at the Zurich Opera in Switzerland, directed by Australian Neil Armfield, was created especially for Oleg and Nadejda Vassilieva. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Oleg has danced and choreographed in many countries, eventually making his home in Australia.

Oleg can be seen in the now historical documentary film The Children of Theatre Street as one of the featured children. The film, produced in the USA was narrated by Princess Grace of Monaco and covers the lives of three children studying at the Vaganova Academy in the 70’s in the USSR. It is quite an eye opener.

Karalyn Rutherford, BTA Staff, Teacher

Karalyn Rutherford

Karalyn Rutherford began her training at The National Theatre Ballet School under the direction of Gailene Stock and Gary Norman. She lived in the U.S.A. for over 20 years, gaining a vast professional experience as a dancer and a teacher.

Karalyn has worked with various ballet companies in the U.S. such as the New Jersey City Ballet Company, Ballet Chicago, and Pennsylvania Ballet. Karalyn has performed numerous Balanchine ballets including Concerto Barocco, Pas de Dix, Allegro Brillante, Square Dance, Stars and Stripes, Donizetti variations, Valse Fantasies and Tarantella. She has also danced in several of Petipa’s ballets from the Grand Pas de Deux from Nutcracker to the Bluebird Pas de Deux from Sleeping Beauty.

Karalyn has worked with some of the great teachers in New York City like Madame Darvash, David Howard and Evelyn Lynn, to name a few. She has also taught in several ballet schools across Boston, Massachusetts.

Ben Davis, Ballet Theatre Australia

Ben Davis

Ben Davis joined the Australian Ballet in 2005 and was promoted to coryphée in 2009 and to soloist for the 2011 season. Ben has performed many ballets including: Jiří Kylián’s Sechs Tänze 2014, The Outsider in Robert Helpmann’s The Display 2012, Prince Gremin in John Cranko’s Onegin 2012, First Red Knight in Ninette de Valois’ Checkmate 2011, The Baron in Graeme Murphy’s The Silver Rose 2010, Stanton Welch’s Divergence 2009, The Professor in Alexei Ratmansky’s Scuola di ballo 2009, Wayne McGregor’s Dyad 1929 2013, 2009 Nicolo Fonte’s The Possibility Space 2008 and Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort 2005.


Alice Aschwanden, Ballet Theatre Australia

Alice Aschwanden

Alice Aschwanden is a former professional ballerina with a passion for helping aspiring ballet dancers achieve their goals. She was a student of BTA for four years, and went on to dance with Alberta Ballet, Canada, and Zurich Ballet, Switzerland. Through onPointe consulting, she offers tailored career advice to pre-professional ballet students to help them approach their transition from student to professional with clarity, confidence and direction. We are pleased to have Alice be a part of BTA, I’m sure she will bring a wealth of knowledge to all our students.

Elizabeth McMahon, Ballet Theatre Australia

Elizabeth McMahon

Elizabeth McMahon is a graduate of The Australian Ballet School. She performed in the inaugural Dancers Company tour and was then offered a contract with The Australian Ballet. Elizabeth enjoyed several years dancing classical and contemporary repertoire with the company and has recently appeared as a Guest Artist in Sydney.

As a qualified and experienced Social Worker – BSW Usyd (Hons), Elizabeth works in the area of Student Wellbeing. Her workshops integrate psycho-social education and resilience skill building activities with movement. They are fun and carefully designed for young people who love to dance and want to make the most of their training years.

Elizabeth also teaches classical ballet to all age groups and is experienced in working with vocational students. She is qualified under CecchettiBallet Australia at Licentiate level and also conducts open classes, pointe work, boys work and coaching with students from all backgrounds.

Guest Teachers

From time to time, we invite guest teachers to work with our students.

Nadia Levings

Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive, Nadja Levings

Ms. Levings (né Vassilieva) is a graduate of the Vaganova Academy in St Petersburg, class of 1980. She graduated under the direction of Madame Tatiana Alexandrovna Udalenkova as “Artiste du Ballet”.

Ms. Levings commenced her career as a ballerina in Ekaterinburg in the State Ballet Theatre. Later she danced with the Classical Ballet Company in St Petersburg appearing in solo roles in Giselle, Swan Lake, La Sylphides and other classical repertoire roles.

From 1986 to 1999 she was a soloist with the Rimsky Korsakov Opera and Ballet Theatre in St Petersburg. With this company under the artistic direction of Nikita Dolgushin she danced a wide repertoire of classical and neo classical roles including the principal role in La Spectre de la Rose and solo roles in La Corsaire, Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker and Esmeralda. She toured extensively with the company to Germany, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Israel and Japan.

Mark Brinkley OAM

Mark Brinkley

Mark Brinkley was a dancer at the Australian Ballet Company between 1972-1991, promoted to Soloist in 1979, to Senior Soloist from 1981 and became Ballet Master in 1986 under the direction of Marilyn Rowe.

After retiring from the company, Mark has freelanced as teacher and adjudicator, being awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to ballet. It is indeed a privilege to have his wealth of experience and rich input at the Summer Intensive 2016.

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The photographs of Leeanne Rutherford, Oleg Timursin and Karalyn Rutherford were taken by Lorna Kirkby.