Susan Thomson – Camberwell District Ballet

Miss Susan Thomson – AISTD, Grad ABS(dancer), Adv Dip PDTC-ABS(teaching)

Classical ballet has been Susan’s profession for 42 years . Born in Melbourne she was selected as the first and only Victorian student to be taken into the Australian Ballet School’s initial intake in 1964.  During the 3 years she spent at the Australian Ballet School she studied with Nina Nedzsvetskaya, Mr. Poul Gnatt from the Royal Danish Ballet, Mr. Leon Kelloway and Dame Margaret Scott.  After graduation she was selected to become a member of “Ballet Victoria”, wherein she performed both Principal and Soloiste roles. Whilst with Ballet Victoria, Susan danced Odette in “Swan Lake” , as one of the two leading Wilis in “Giselle”, Swanhilda in “Coppelia”Grande Pas de Deux in “Pacquita”,  and the Pas de Deux in “Le Corsaire”.  She also performed as a member of one of the leading couples in Laurel Martyns’ “Spring Sonata”.

Other ballets Susan performed in included “La Beau Danube”, “Peter and the Wolf” , “Sylvia” and “The Nutcracker” , to name a few.  During this time she again studied with Poul Gnatt, Nina Nedzsvetskaya and Lynne Golding.In 1973 Susan had the good fortune to meet Mr. Igor Belsky, Ballet Master of the Kirov Ballet Company.  With an invitation from Mr. Belsky, and negotiation through the Australian Government, Susan and her husband Toivo were provided with a marvellous opportunity to travel to St. Petersburg to study and observe classes with both the Vaganova Academy and The Kirov Ballet Company.

Prior to teaching at her own School, Susan performed and studied in Munich, London and New York, working with such teachers as David Howard and Jurgen Schneider.

Susan performed in Swan Lake with the great Dame Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev.  She also made numerous television appearances and toured with The Arts Council of Australia.

Susan was selected for The Australian Ballet School Teacher Training Course where she graduated with her Professional Dancers’ Teaching Diploma.

Susan and her husband Toivo Taves have taught for over 30 years, training hundreds of young dancers.  Many of those students are now dancing in companies around the world, including The Royal Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, The Australian Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, Sydney Dance Company and Western Australian and Queensland ballet companies.

From 1997 to 2007, Susan and Toivo worked with Janina Ciunovas (listed in Gretchen Ward Warren book “Ten Twentieth Century Master Teachers”.