Behind every great dancer ...

Director of the artistic health team

Sue Mayes

Dr. Sue Mayes studied fulltime ballet at The National Theatre, under the directorship of Gaylene Stock AM and a Diploma of Dance at the Centre for Performing Arts, Adelaide. She completed a Bachelor of Applied Science (Physiotherapy) in 1990 and Graduate Diploma in Sports Physiotherapy in 1996 at La Trobe University. Sue has been the Principal Physiotherapist of The Australian Ballet since 1997 and is an Adjunct Research Fellow at La Trobe University. She directs our world-renowned Artistic Health Team and manages the diverse injuries of the professional ballet dancer. She has published papers from her PhD, titled: ‘Hip joint health in professional ballet dancers’, and co-authored ballet injury related publications. In collaboration with Prof Jill Cook, she is leading a research program that is investigating joint health and wellbeing in ballet dancers as part of the research partnership between The Australian Ballet and La Trobe University. Sue has presented at conferences around the world, including the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science Conferences and the IOC World Conference on Prevention of Injury and Illness in Sport in Monaco, and lectures regularly throughout Australia. She provided physiotherapy for Sylvie Guillem's tours throughout Japan with Tokyo Ballet (2000-2015), and for the ‘New Universe of Manuel Legris’ program in Tokyo (2010). Sue was nominated for an Australian Dance Award in the category ‘Services to Dance’ in 2017 and 2018. She received a La Trobe University Distinguished Alumni Award in 2018. Sue is also a consultant physiotherapist at North Melbourne Football Club.

Rehabilitation physiotherapist

Sophie Emery

Sophie Emery joined The Australian Ballet in 2009 as a physiotherapist with a lifelong interest in dance. In 2019 Sophie was promoted to the role of rehabilitation physiotherapist, taking on a greater role in the development and implementation of rehabilitation programs and exercise prescription. Sophie graduated from La Trobe University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy and completed her Masters in Sports Physiotherapy in 2013. She is committed to ongoing professional development and has conducted and presented research on the size of hip muscles in dancers compared to athletes. Sophie has presented at the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science conferences in Birmingham, UK and Houston, USA; as well as speaking nationally for the Australian Physiotherapy Association and the Victorian and South Australian Podiatry Associations. Sophie is also the coordinator and supervisor of undergraduate university physiotherapy students at The Australian Ballet.

Strength and conditioning coach

Sakis Michelis

At 16 years old Sakis was offered a position at The Australian Ballet School. After graduation, he performed with a number of Australian dance companies, including The Australian Ballet, Queensland Ballet, West Australian Ballet and Australian Dance Theatre. After a fulfilling ten-year dance career, he completed a personal training and Pilates course and spent several years teaching Pilates and ballet at various Melbourne dance schools, as well as running his own Pilates, strength and conditioning business. In 2015 Sakis joined The Australian Ballet as its strength and conditioning instructor, and in 2016 he joined The Australian Ballet School in the same role. He regularly appears as a guest artist in The Australian Ballet’s productions.

Myotherapist

Shaun Bryce

Shaun Bryce is the newest member of the Artistic Health team at the Australian Ballet. Shaun has been working in private practice and sport for six years and had completed two advanced diplomas in his field before graduating with the Bachelor of Health Science (Clinical Myotherapy) in 2018. Shaun shares his time at the ballet with North Melbourne Football Club as the Head Trainer and oversees their soft tissue program. Shaun enjoys assisting elite athletes to achieve their personal goals through the assessment and treatment of musculoskeletal complaints coupled with education and advice.

Rehabilitation specialist

Megan Connelly

Megan’s unique dual role, as Ballet Mistress and Rehabilitation Specialist, forms part of the artistic teaching team as well as the artistic health team. In the rehabilitation setting she links a dancer’s strength and conditioning training with company class, methodically supporting the rebuilding and refining of a dancer’s technique following injury. She also provides daily class, individual coaching sessions on technical development and rehearses repertoire.

Megan received her training both in Australia and abroad. She performed with Victorian Opera and Opera Australia before joining The Australian Ballet in 1991, performing in many works such as The Sleeping BeautyDon QuixoteGiselle and Symphony in C. She later followed her passion for teaching and took up the position of Principal Teacher at the Christine Walsh Dance Centre. In 1999 she was Ballet Mistress on the Year 2000 project for the Sansouci Music Festival, Berlin.

Megan returned to The Australian Ballet in 2001 as Assistant to Artistic Director and in 2004 added ballet rehabilitation coaching to her roles. In 2009 she was appointed Ballet Mistress and Rehabilitation Specialist and in 2010 also joined the teaching faculty of The Australian Ballet School. During this time Megan studied anatomy and physiology, completed Level 2 Clinical Pilates instructor training and co-authored Bodywise: Discover a new connection with your ballet for ABC books.

In 2011 Megan completed a Vocational Graduate Certificate in Elite Dance Instruction. In 2014 she received a prestigious Churchill Fellowship to investigate the training and development of dancers in major international ballet companies and their feeder schools in the USA and Europe.

Megan has presented at the International Association of Dance Medicine Science regional conference in Melbourne, and for The Australian Ballet’s Hip Workshop. She is a regular guest teacher for other companies and schools and has also appeared as guest artist in The Australian Ballet’s productions.

The Team

  • Director of the artistic health team
  • Rehabilitation physiotherapists
  • Myotherapists
  • Massage therapists
  • Strength and conditioning coach
  • Sports and exercise physician
  • General practitioner
  • Rehabilitation facilitators

External consultants

  • Psychologist
  • Podiatrist
  • Dietician
  • Surgeon

It gives me a confidence in my ability. I never feel as secure in what I’m trying to achieve on stage and in rehearsals when I haven’t done Pilates,

Dancer Rohan Furnell in The Australian