Elizabeth Toohey - Our Patron
Elizabeth was born in Newcastle and started ballet age four with Tessa Maunder. She 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.
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. She was also the company’s ballet mistress and rehearsal director.
In 2017, Elizabeth accepted David McAllister’s invitation to become a ballet mistress and repetiteur of The Australian Ballet: she has also performed as a guest artist, in roles such as the Queen in McAllister’s The Sleeping Beauty. In 2019, Christopher Wheeldon entrusted her with the task of staging his Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland© for the company.