Karen Donovan

Part Time Classical Training Programme – A.R.A.D.

Karen studied ballet (amongst other dance genres) at the Valeria Hansen Academy of Dancing in Rockhampton from the age of four. She continued her training at The Royal Ballet School, London in 1978, winning Bronze at the Adeline Genee Competition, in 1979, and dancing Gypsy Girl in The Two Pigeons in her Graduation Performance at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 1980.

The same year Karen joined Sadlers’ Wells Royal Ballet – now Birmingham Royal Ballet – and in 1987 was promoted to Principal Dancer under the direction of Sir Peter Wright, performing in London, across the UK and internationally. Some of her many leading roles include Aurora, Odette/Odile, Lise, Swanhilda , Giselle, Sugar Plum Fairy, Pineapple Poll and leading ballerina in Paquita, Divertimento No. 15, Theme and Variations and Five Tangos. Other roles include Elite Syncopations, Concerto Barocco, Raymonda, Flowers of the Forest and showcase pas des deux Don Quixote and Tchaikovsky. Karen has worked with many notable choreographers, but two career highlights were having David Bintley’s Allegri Diversi and Hobson’s Choice created especially for her.


In 1993 Karen pursued other avenues, working at The Royal Ballet School as Student Services Officer which included preparation for auditions. Karen went on to gain UK Pilates and Fitness Instructor qualifications as well as teaching classical ballet classes, solos and repertoire work.

In 2009 Karen returned to Central Queensland where she began teaching and coaching at 5 Rockhampton ballet schools. She was one of the judges at the Jacqueline Morland Awards in 2010 and the City of Sydney MacDonald Scholarships in 2011. Karen relocated to Brisbane in January 2013 where she is currently freelance teaching and coaching at various ballet schools and thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to pass on her wealth of knowledge and experience from her years of performing. Karen has recently written a booklet for ballet students – Pointes of View – to help them prepare their pointe shoes.