Meet Ballet Mistress & Repetiteur Elizabeth Toohey

Elizabeth Toohey

Meet Elizabeth

Elizabeth was born in Newcastle and joined The Australian Ballet after graduating from The Australian Ballet School in 1979. She remained with the company until 1990. In 1985 she and David McAllister entered the 5th International Ballet Competition in Moscow. Following this, they were invited to perform Don Quixote with the Bolshoi Ballet in 1986 and the Kirov Ballet in 1988. They performed Walter Bourke’s Grand Tarantella in galas around the former Soviet Union, cementing an enduring partnership.

Elizabeth’s performance highlights include Kitri in Don Quixote, Lise in La Fille mal gardée, Swanilda in Coppélia, Olga in Onegin and Kate in The Taming of the Shrew; she also danced featured roles in contemporary works by choreographers such as Kenneth MacMillan and Jiří Kylián, and created the role of Rose in Robert Ray’s The Sentimental Bloke. She has been a guest artist with Norwegian National Ballet and a resident guest principal with English National Ballet. Career highlights include dancing the Peasant Pas de deux in Maina Gielgud’s Giselle at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House and the Bluebird Pas de deux at London’s Covent Garden before the Queen, both with David McAllister.

Following her retirement, Elizabeth completed an Arts Administration apprenticeship with English National Ballet; she is also an internationally certified Stott Pilates Instructor.

In 2008 she joined the Royal Swedish Ballet’s rehabilitation team, where she worked with injured dancers and expectant mothers. During this time she developed a program, Barre for the Centre, which focuses on safe biomechanical build-up during a professional barre. Under the current directorship of Johannes Öhman, she was ballet mistress and rehearsal director.

She has taught at several international summer schools and was a guest teacher with Estonian National Ballet in 2015. In 2016, she returned to The Australian Ballet as a guest teacher and in 2017 accepted David McAllister’s invitation to become a ballet mistress with the company.