About Us

Camberwell District Ballet is one of the only schools in Australia teaching Russian Classical Ballet as it is taught in Russian schools. With a rich history spanning over four decades, it remains a beacon of tradition and excellence.

The Russian School of classical ballet training is slow and careful, working on the body to become an instrument to dance with. The training is geared to a gentle and  gradual – one may say natural development which,  with the which unfolding of time and the growth of the student cultivates an aura of simple eloquence and they grow up without strain or injury; learning to wear their technical prowess as a graceful garment.

The secrets of technique that distinguish the Russian School lie in the particular use of the traditional exercises developed by the “old masters”

– a balance between tension and relaxation used in every variety of rhythm, and developing from small to large and powerful movements. The greatest secret of the training is Epaulment – a misunderstood word that means so much. The play of the shoulders and the head always falling with the body – the accomplishment that gives the longest line in every movement, and maintains a natural facility, to use the body with fluent delicacy.

We would not have been able to teach the disciplines of the system without Madame Janina Ciunovas, an internationally-acclaimed Professor of Dance, (Written up as one of the 20th Century Master Teachers by Gretchen Ward-Warren in her manual). 

Janina, herself, trained as a child in this amazing system and worked with other great Russian teachers worldwide,and also being on the Faculty of the Australian Ballet School and working internationally with the great Jurgen Schneider.

Janina’s work with our school for 10 years was vital, because it is not possible to teach the Russian System without training with a Master teacher of her calibre.

We are indebted to her generosity with which she imparted her knowledge to us, enabling us to teach the Russian System as is taught in many of the great schools attached to major international companies.

Teachers at Camberwell District Ballet are all knowledgeable and experienced professionals with the highest professional qualifications.
The school also offers excellent classes in Character Dance and Contemporary Techniques. Additionally, VCE VETDANCE is taught and our students have received many Premiers Awards for this.
Students must fulfil attendance requirements and reach certain technical standards prior to being considered for annual exams.

Camberwell District Ballet mounts a major professional production every year.

Janina with husband Boris Čiunovas in Monte Carlo in 1935, during the Lithuanian Ballet’s international tour.
Janina teaching at the M.K Čiurlionis National Ballet School in Vilnius in 1997
Susan Thomson, Janina Ciunovas and Lubov Nikonorenko (former dancer with the Kirov Ballet)