Australian Ballet School: Pioneering the Path to Excellence

This week, the Australian Ballet School celebrates its 60th anniversary, marking six decades of excellence in ballet education and performance.

On this day, we’d like to remember the historic moment for the Australian dance community, when Susan Thomson became the first Victorian student of the prestigious Australian Ballet School (ABS). Susan was selected when she was just 15 years of age, chosen from about 300 students at auditions held in Melbourne.

Born and raised in Melbourne, Susan displayed exceptional talent from an early age. Her journey began at a local studio at the age of 12, with the encouragement of her mother, who was also a ballet enthusiast, before she refined her skills at the renowned Australian Ballet School.

Selected for her dedication and promise, Susan embodied the ABS’s commitment to excellence. As she embarked on this groundbreaking journey, Susan inspired aspiring dancers nationwide.
Her story highlights the ABS’s role in nurturing homegrown talent and shaping the future of ballet in Australia.
australian ballet school, susan thomson

Susan Thomson with Dame Margaret Scott and Dame Peggy Van Praggh, Directors of The Australian Ballet School and The Australian Ballet Company.

Susan’s passion for dance ignited at a tender age, drawing her towards the artistry and discipline of ballet. Growing up in Melbourne, she quickly became known for her grace and dedication in local dance circles. It wasn’t long before her potential caught the eye of mentors and instructors who recognized her talent as something exceptional.

The pivotal moment in Susan’s journey came when she enrolled at the Australian Ballet School in Melbourne. Here, under the guidance of master instructors, she honed her skills and refined her technique. The rigorous training regimen at the academy prepared her for the challenges that lay ahead, instilling in her a deep sense of discipline and dedication to her craft.
Susan’s selection as the first Victorian student of the Australian Ballet School came as a validation of her years of hard work and commitment to ballet. The ABS, renowned for its tradition of excellence, saw in Susan the embodiment of their core values. Her selection not only honoured her individual talent but also underscored the ABS’s commitment to nurturing and developing the next generation of ballet stars.
As Susan stepped into the role of the ABS’s inaugural student, she did so with a sense of humility and gratitude. She understood the weight of the responsibility placed upon her shoulders and was determined to uphold the rich legacy of ballet in Australia. 

Her journey was not just about personal achievement but about paving the way for future generations of dancers to follow.

The significance of Susan’s selection extended far beyond the realm of dance; it resonated deeply within the cultural landscape of Australia. By investing in homegrown talent like Susan, the ABS reaffirmed its commitment to fostering a vibrant and thriving arts community within the country. Susan’s success served as an inspiration to young dancers across Australia who dared to dream of one day gracing the stages of the world’s most prestigious ballet companies.
As Susan immersed herself in the rigorous training program at the ABS, she continued to push the boundaries of her artistry. Each day brought new challenges and opportunities for growth, as she worked tirelessly to refine her technique and expand her repertoire. The ABS provided her with the resources and support she needed to thrive, nurturing her talent and helping her reach new heights of excellence.

Susan’s journey as the first student of the Australian Ballet School was not without its challenges. The demanding schedule and intense physical training tested her resilience and determination. Yet, through it all, she remained steadfast in her commitment to her craft, drawing strength from her passion for dance and the unwavering support of her instructors and peers. Today, Susan Thomson stands as a shining example of the talent and potential that reside within the Australian dance community. Her journey as the first Victorian student of the Australian Ballet School to founding one of the most prestigious ballet schools in Australia – the Russian Choreographic Academy as well as the no-less exceptional Camberwell District Ballet School, is not just a testament to her individual achievements but a testament to the bright future that lies ahead for ballet in Australia. As she continues to pursue her passion for dance and inspiring a new generation of dancers, Susan serves as an inspiration to aspiring dancers everywhere, proving that with dedication, hard work, and unwavering determination, anything is possible in the world of ballet.
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