We are temporarily closed due to COVID-19.






Welcome to Ballet Essence – home to the joy of dance

Ballet Essence is a boutique dance studio offering a uniquely individualised approach to teaching students aged 9+.  

Dance school principal and owner Susan Hislop’s (nee Barnes) philosophy is to use dance and performance as a vehicle to help young people feel valued and develop their talents in an enjoyable way.
Private classes are structured to accommodate dancers inclusive of complete beginners right through to accomplished dancers.  Susan takes into account the individual capabilities and needs of each student, supporting them to explore and realize their potential.
The essence of Susan’s classes is in the creation of a nurturing and safe environment for students to develop confidence and self-esteem.  This environment enables students to develop their unique creative abilities whilst achieving a strong sense of self-worth.
The private classes are structured as follows:

Ballet Entrée

Ballet Essence offers an opportunity for students aged 9+ who may have experience in other forms of dance or be a complete beginner to start their ballet experience.

Ballet Entrée is a fun way to learn the essentials for a beginner's ballet class. Private classes consist of barre and centre exercises with a difference. Gain your confidence, core strength and flexibility. Students can progress from this to Level one in the following term.

Level one

This is a whole new approach to ballet and definitely not your average ballet class. Susan offers a creative way of learning using pilates and ballet techniques from warm up through to centre work to improve your core strength, flexibility and dance quality. This is a great follow on from our Prep for Ballet or if you have some prior ballet experience.

Level two

LEVEL TWO private classes add to the techniques taught in LEVEL ONE and are suitable for students with ballet experience of three or more years. This is where the joy of dance takes on another level.


LEVEL THREE private classes continue to enhance techniques acquired in previous levels with students finding the freedom to explore and express their true selves and have generally been dancing ballet for a number of years.

body awareness | pilates

This private class is for students of all levels looking to understand the anatomical and biomechanical reasons for why, where and how to use our bodies. It's main goal is to explore the benefits of training our systems to compliment the art of dance and to assist recovery from injury, keeping our strength, balance, flexibility and mobility at its optimum. Our class keeps our concentration, curiosity and awareness of how we move through space. Once this is understood the rewards and benefits can be applied to every movement in life.
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What they say...

'I took private lessons with Ms Susan last year to improve my knowledge of ballet foundations. I was a bit nervous about meeting the high standards needed. Ms Susan was really helpful in working with me to understand what was expected of me, including grooming and class etiquette and how to go about reaching my goals. I thought Ms Susan's classes were always fun but challenging for my brain with lots of information about things I needed to work on. These lessons have stuck with me. I regularly hear her explanations in my head when I go about my dance practice and they are very helpful still.'
Georgia Trier (16 year old ballet student)
'We've had a long association with Susan right from being members of the Queensland Ballet Company in 1985 to having her regularly teach ballet and Pilates classes at 2ballerinas. We know her as a passionate and dedicated dancer and teacher, with both a joyful and professional approach to her work. Susan's classes are always well attended as she commands a huge respect in the ballet community for her unique but effective dancing instructions. Her students know they will be challenged to their utmost ability but encouraged and supported to achieve their best. Susan has a gift in her ability to explain difficult dance sequences in memorable terms. Our 2 ballerina students always look forward to her classes.
Rosetta Cook & Michelle White (Co-directors of 2ballerinas)
'I have worked and studied with Susan over a number of years. As a former member of the Queensland Ballet and Expressions Dance Company (EDC), she has a classical and contemporary dance training and experience as well as broader exposure to the genres of Ballroom and Argentinian Tango. This broad experience coupled with her Pilates training enables her to provide good foundations for ballet training but is flexible to individuals and their dance aspirations.'
Nigel Douglas (Professional Tango Teacher/Dancer)
'Susan was recommended to me when I was looking for someone to give my daughter instruction on Allegro work to assist her preparation as an elite gymnast. Susan was a professional ballet dancer and had trained at a high level so she understood the physical and emotional demands of an elite performer. She was also known as an extremely experienced and effective teacher with a passion for drawing out the best in her students. My daughter enjoyed her classes and said Susan had a great way of explaining techniques in words that made sense and were easy to remember. She also encouraged her to try things she wanted to explore after the structured work was finished and have fun. She helped my daughter learn and find joy in different approaches to her abilities that were really beneficial.'
Sonya Stephenson (Parent of daughter Sarah, aged 11 yrs)