The Australian Ballet

Meet the Artistic Health Team

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Dr Sue Mayes AM Direc­tor of Artis­tic Health

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 and Europe. 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). She received a La Trobe University Distinguished Alumni Award in 2018. Sue has also consulted for AFL, Cricket Australia, Tennis Australia, Victorian Institute of Sport, NBL and professional sports teams overseas. Sue was made a Member of the Order in 2020.

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Sophie Emery Artistic Health
Sophie Emery Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Physiotherapist

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.

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Michael Freeman Phys­io­ther­a­pist (Tour­ing)

Michael joined The Australian Ballet as a Physiotherapist in 2019. Previously, Michael spent 6 years at North Melbourne Football Club working with the AFL, AFLW and VFL teams, before taking on the role of Physiotherapist for The Australian Ballet’s co-production of An American in Paris in 2022. Michael has since taken on the full time role of Physiotherapist (Touring) within the company.

Michael graduated from La Trobe University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Health Science and Master of Physiotherapy Practice. In 2020, Michael completed a Masters of Sports Physiotherapy at La Trobe University and was awarded the title of APA Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist. He has committed to ongoing learning and professional development, including co-authoring a chapter in the textbook Hip and Knee Pain Disorders. Michael also supervises undergraduate Physiotherapy students at The Australian Ballet.

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Sakis Michelis Strength and Con­di­tion­ing Coach

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. Sakis 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.

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Shaun Bryce Myother­a­pist

Shaun Bryce joined the Artistic Health Team at The Australian Ballet in 2018. He has completed two advanced diplomas in his field and graduated with a Bachelor of Health Science (Clinical Myotherapy) in 2018. Shaun has seven years’ experience in private practice and has spent 8 years in elite sport working for North Melbourne Football Club. The last two years he was their Head Trainer and Soft Tissue Coordinator before transitioning into the dance world.

Shaun’s passion lies in the accurate assessment and treatment of musculoskeletal presentations. He couples this with patient education and management advice to ensure the best possible outcome for the dancers.

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Megan Connelly Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Specialist

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 Beauty, Don Quixote, Giselle 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 artistic health
  • Rehabilitation physiotherapist
  • Physiotherapists
  • Lead myotherapist
  • Myotherapists/Massage therapists
  • Strength and conditioning coach
  • Sports and exercise physician
  • General practitioner
  • Rehabilitation facilitator
  • Welfare and development coordinator
  • Artistic health administrator
  • Sports and clinical psychologists

External consultants

  • Podiatrists
  • Dietitians
  • Surgeons
"Having strength in our muscles, joints and tendons gives our bodies the ability and confidence to perform all sorts of challenging movement without fear or risk of injury." Valerie Tereshchenko, Senior Artist