Meet our Team

Peter Schaufuss
Founder & Artistic Director

Peter Schaufuss was quite literally brought up in the theatre and is an Olivier, Evening Standard and Edinburgh Critic’s Award-winning choreographer, teacher, director and widely recognized as one of the most talented male dancers on the international stage.

 

In a stellar career he has performed with the most celebrated ballerinas of his time at all major ballet companies, and staged upwards of 100 productions worldwide. He has had ballets and choreography specifically created for him by the likes of; Sir Kenneth McMillan, George Balanchine, Roland Petit, Sir Frederick Ashton, among others.

 

Peter has also been the director of ‘English National Ballet’, ‘Berlin Ballet’ at the German Opera Berlin and ‘Royal Danish Ballet’. He is the Founder of the ‘English National Ballet School’, the ‘Peter Schaufuss Ballet & School’ and the 'Royal Danish Ballet School in Holstebro’.

 

Peter has had his own Emmy Award nominated television program ‘Dancer’ for the BBC as well as built ‘Black Box Theatre’ to his design, in Denmark, which is his native country.

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Dame Darcey Bussell DBE
Patron

Dame Darcey Bussell, DBE is acclaimed worldwide as one of the great ballerinas of her generation. She received her early training at the Arts Educational School before joining the Royal Ballet School.

After graduation she joined the Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet for a short period before joining the Royal Ballet where she became a principal dancer at the age of only 20 years old. 
 

Dame Darcey remained with The Royal Ballet through her whole ballet career, but notably also performed as a guest artist with many of the world’s leading companies including. New York City Ballet, La Scala Theatre Ballet, the Kirov/Mariinsky Ballet, Hamburg Ballet and the Australian Ballet. 
 

Dame Darcey is well known to the general public, not only as a judge on "Strictly Come Dancing", but also from books, modelling, and numerous BBC Television productions.
 

She also supports numerous British and international charities and dance institutions.
 

Dame Darcey became the Patron of Edinburgh Festival Ballet in 2020.

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Lee Walls
General Manager/Administrator

Lee Walls is born in Edinburgh and had an early career in Event Management and Presentation, she spent several years abroad away from home developing her management skills before returning to Edinburgh to further her career setting up and running her own very successful Event Company. 

 

In 2018 she was invited to join the Rose Theatre as the Operational Manager and in March of 2020 she was appointed General Manager of Rose Theatre, Saint Stephens and Edinburgh Festival Ballet & School. 

 

Lee is married to Ryan a successful photographer and the author of the acclaimed book 'Edinburgh People' they have four children. In her spare time Lee enjoys cooking and skiing and she is a supporter of several charities and an active member of her church’s board.

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Johan Christensen
School Principal & Co-Director

Johan Christensen was born in West Jutland in Denmark and joined the prestigious Royal Danish Ballet School as a child prodigy. He performed many of the children’s roles on stage, including the title role Peter in Sergei Prokofiev's much loved 'Peter and the Wolf' and the Prince in the magical Nutcracker production by Alexei Ratmansky.

 

During his schooling Johan was trained in the unique, to the Royal Danish Ballet, style of August Bournonville and participated in the 200th anniversary of the choreographers birth in 2005, appearing in all the important children’s roles in the ballets presented during this the 3rd Bournonville Festival celebrations.

After further extending his education at the world renowned choreographer John Neumeier’s school in Hamburg he joined Peter Schaufuss Ballet at only sixteen years of age as a dancer in 2008.

 

In the following years Johan developed and danced in the whole company repertoire including many leading roles such as the prince in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker with great acclaim. 

In 2012 he danced the title role in Shakespeare’s Hamlet to Sir John Gielgud’s famous soliloquies and Tybalt in Sir Frederick Ashton's legendary production of Romeo and Juliet with Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev in performances in London.

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2013 was the turning point in Johan’s career as he launched himself from principal dancer to wider stardom when he replaced at short notice the indisposed superstar Sergei Polunin at the London Coliseum Theatre. Johan had a huge overnight personal triumph and critical acclaim in the role as Billy in the stage adaptation of the Oscar winning movie ‘Midnight Express'.

The same year he also successfully participated in the television hit ’So You Think You Can Dance’ in the Benelux countries winning the prestigious Golden Ticket, followed by touring extensively in Europe with Isabelle Beernaert’s Dance Company. 

 

As a Solo Dancer for Aida Cruises, a leader in the industry, Johan has both choreographed/danced and been their Dance Captain worldwide.

He has also performed at the famous Pantomime Theatre in Copenhagen, danced with the prestigious Bejart Ballet Lausanne in their masterpiece of 'Bolero', and guest danced with Ballet Ireland. 

In 2018 Johan performed in the Scandinavian Premiere of the legendary musical by Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins ‘On the Town’, as well as lately successfully participated on Danish television's version of ‘The Greatest Dancer’.

 

However, in 2019 his career turned full circle as he returned working with Peter Schaufuss as the founding Principal of Edinburgh Festival Ballet School. 

Johan is also Co-Director and a principal dancer with Edinburgh Festival Ballet, soon to launch and present performances in the newly refurbished ‘Ashton Hall’ at Saint Stephen’s Edinburgh.

Margaret Papoutsis - DO, Dips(SN)(NT), MBANT, CNHC
Performance Health Consultant

Osteopath and Nutritional Therapist, Margaret Papoutsis, has spent a lifetime at the leading edge of performance medicine. She has developed a special rapport with artists - both professional and student - which enhances both her therapies and her health-related advice.
 

She has been a consultant to a wide variety of leading dance companies and schools. These have included London School of Contemporary Dance, London Festival Ballet, English National Ballet and School, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Royal Ballet School Teachers’ Training Course, Royal Danish Ballet and School, Peter Schaufuss Ballet and School, Denmark, along with long associations with musical theatre colleges and West End theatre productions. She is currently the Performance Health Consultant to Edinburgh Festival Ballet Company and School.
Margaret was trained at the British School of Osteopathy (now the University College of Osteopathy), where she was a Gold Medal Graduate. Subsequently she qualified (with Distinction) as a BANT Registered Nutritionist, and has trained with the National Centre for Eating Disorders. She is on the Register of Integrative Medicine for Mental Health.
Margaret is delighted to take up the position of Performance Health Consultant for Edinburgh Festival Ballet School.

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Luke Schaufuss
Teacher & Co-Director

Luke Schaufuss is the third generation of a famous dancing family and grew up surrounded by theatre. He trained and performed on stage as a child, in varying roles from the age of 6 with the internationally renowned Royal Danish Ballet which is known for its unique Bournonville tradition, and Peter Schaufuss Ballet.

 

At 16 he created the title role of TOMMY in the Rock Ballet by the legendary British rock band the WHO. Shortly after, he joined the Royal Danish Ballet making his debut with the company in Bournonville's Kermessen in Bruges pas de deux and performing in ballets from Balanchine to Bournonville, Petipa, Cranko and Lander, in Copenhagen, on tour at the Paris Opera, at the Kennedy Center in Washington and at the Lincoln Center in New York City.

In 2013 he moved to England on an invitation from David Bintley to dance with the Birmingham Royal Ballet, where he danced much of the British ballet repertoire in ballet's by Ashton, McMillan and Bintley before accepting an offer to join the Scottish Ballet.

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Luke has been the recipient of several awards, including a commendation for Exceptional Student at The Royal Ballet’s 2011 summer school. 2015 saw him featured on the cover of Britain’s Dancing Times and he was selected as the year’s Rising Star of Dance by the Observer and the Guardian, two of the UK’s most influential newspapers.

 

Luke has danced many leading roles, including Romeo in Sir Frederick Ashton’s critically acclaimed Romeo and Juliet and James in the Olivier Award-winning production of La Sylphide, both in France, and Germany with Iana Selanko, Australia and in London at the Coliseum Theatre. In 2015 he was a guest artist with Los Angeles Ballet in their world premiere of Sleeping Beauty and again in 2016 dancing the role of Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, a part created by Sir Frederick Ashton for Luke’s grandfather Frank Schaufuss in 1955 for the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen.

Furthermore, he has also appeared on television, with Darcy Bussell, in the BBC's program ‘Darcey’s Ballet Heroes’ and in his spare time takes up modelling, having completed an Italian Vogue photo feature before joining Scottish Ballet where his repertoire included: The Prince in Nutcracker, the lead role in The Rite Of Spring and The Prince in Cinderella, the male lead “Bethena” in Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s ‘Elite Syncopations’.

In 2019 his guest appearances included a world premiere creation by Reginaldo Oliveira for the Mozart Celebration Gala Performance in Salzburg, staging Romeo & Juliet with Charlotte Ballet in the USA, and James in La Sylphide for Marcia Haydee's Company in Santiago.

Today Luke is a principal dancer with Sarasota Ballet in Florida, USA.

 

Currently he’s sharing his time between them and Edinburgh Festival Ballet School where he is a teacher and Edinburgh Festival Ballet Company to launch shortly at the refurbished ‘Ashton Hall’ at Saint Stephens, where he is a Principal dancer and Co-Director.

Chauncey Parsons
Teacher and EFB Company dancer

California-born Chauncey Parsons was 12 when he began classes at the Santa Barbara Ballet Center where he was taught by Michelle Pearson and Denise Rinaldi. When he was 15, he was accepted into Washington D.C.’s Kirov Academy of Ballet, training under Vladimir Djouloukhadze for three years.

The first two years after graduating from the Academy, saw Chauncey performing with the State Street Ballet under Rodney Gustafson, before being asked by Colorado Ballet’s Artistic Director Martin Fredmann to join the company as a soloist, just two years later he was promoted to Principal Dancer.

Two years later Chauncey moved to the West Coast to join Oregon Ballet Theatre, where he was he was promoted to Principal by Artist Director Christopher Stowell.

 During his career, which included performing as a Guest Principal for the National Ballet of Ireland in 2019, Chauncey has danced an enormous variety of roles including, among many others, Basil in Don Quixote, Count Albrecht in Giselle, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. Further, he has danced leading roles in Balanchine’s Rubies, Emeralds, Tarantella, The Nutcracker and Stravinsky Violin Concerto; Michael Pink’s Dracula and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo, William Forsythe’s Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude and Paul Taylor’s Company B.

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Ryoko Yagyu
Teacher and EFB Company dancer

Born in Osaka, Japan, Ryoko started dance classes at the Tsujimoto Yoshiko Ballet School when she was just three. She then went on to the Homura Tomoi Ballet School before travelling to Austria where she completed her training at the Vienna Conservatory. While still a student, she was invited to dance in the Ukraine at the World Ballet Star international festival.

 

Ryoko’s professional career has seen her dance principal roles in La Sylphide, The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake with Vienna Festival Ballet, as well as making guest appearances, as a principal, with Irish National Youth Ballet Pasodos Dance Company in Mallorca.

 

She has also danced with London’s New English Ballet and performed in a mixed repertoire of new works. With The Peter Schaufuss Ballet Company she danced the role of Juliet in the company’s production of Sir Frederick Ashton’s Romeo and Juliet. She has also appeared with Ballet Ireland in The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Die Fledermaus, Giselle and Bold Moves. Most recently, she travelled to Indonesia to appear at Surabaya’s Ballet Festival.

 

Ryoko took both the first prize at both the Kobe Dance Junior and a year later at the Senior Competition. That same year she was a semi-finalist in the Prix Lausanne and two years later was a finalist in the Premio Roma.

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Sup Dhanasunthorn
Creative Administrator

Originally from San Francisco, Sup Dhanasunthorn trained at New York’s American Musical and Dramatic Academy. Since graduating he has appeared in productions of Miss Saigon, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Peter Pan and NBC’s Saturday Night Live. He has also toured Canada, the United States and China in The Spirit of Christmas and The Spirit of Broadway.

In London, Sup founded the contemporary dance company, Embody, along with Marina Guarnieri, with whom he choreographed the opening of the Aquatics Centre, built for the London Olympics in 2012. Other choreographic credits include work for Costa Victoria and Atlantica, Trophy Wife, Toni & Guy, Oxford College Ball, Phish Leong, and the UK and European tour of The Lion King in which he has also appeared on stage.

He has worked on Universal Picture’s 47 Ronin, the Royal Albert Hall production of Aida, with Olly Murs and on BBCTV’s Strictly Come Dancing and in Edinburgh with the MGA Academy.

Off stage, he founded The Hustle, which aims to support the lives of actors, singers, dancers and variety performers in the UK by connecting them to the services and work they need to sustain and develop their careers.

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Lucy Hutton
YBB Teacher and EFB Company dancer

Growing up in South Queensferry just outside the Scottish capital of Edinburgh, Lucy started dancing at a young age with the Central Scotland Ballet School and later joined The Scottish Ballet Associate Programme. As well as performing in numerous school shows, Lucy danced at the 2014 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony in Glasgow, as well as representing Scotland in artistic gymnastics, something she enjoys teaching to younger students.

 

Having decided to pursue a career in dance, Lucy moved to Manchester as a full-time student at the Northern Ballet School, graduating in 2020 with a diploma in professional dance. 

She danced many solo roles during her time in Manchester including the production of The Nutcracker and also enjoyed the broad range of different dance techniques and styles which was offered in various performance opportunities 

 

Lucy is excited by the challenges being offered to her both as a teacher at the Edinburgh Festival Ballet School and as a dancer with the Company, having recently participated in the new creation by the company's associated, renowned choreographer and founder/director of Portugal’s exiting Quorum Ballet Daniel Cardoso, dancing with international acclaimed dancers Johan Christensen and Luke Schaufuss.

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Constance Devernay
Guest Teacher

Born in Amiens, France, Constance fell in love with the world of dance, performance and fitness. Her wish and determination to become a professional ballerina led her to train pre-professionally at the Rosella Hightower school in Cannes, then at the English National Ballet School, in London. Constance joined The Scottish Ballet permanently in 2009, was promoted to Soloist in 2014 and became a Principal dancer in 2016. Some of her highlights include: Odette/Odile, Swan Lake (choreography David Dawson), The Sugar Plum fairy in The Nutcracker (choreography Peter Darrell), Cinderella and The Snow Queen (both choreographed by Christopher Hampson). She has been practicing Yoga alongside her career and passed her Yoga Level 3 instructor diploma in 2018. Constance is currently studying for a Bachelor of Science in Sport, Fitness and Coaching and also teaches all level ballet classes and workshops. More recently, in 2020 Constance has achieved her meditation diploma. 

​Constance is a very passionate artist, always seeking to inspire her audience both on and off the stage.

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