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.

Lee Walls

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.

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 where 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. 

 

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-Direct and is 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.

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.

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.

 

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.

Lilian Schwendener

Teacher

Dutch/American Lilian Schwendener was born in New York City, by artistic parents, and attended the most prestigious Ballet School in USA ‘The School of American Ballet’ the official School of New York City Ballet, where she was offered a place as a young child.

During her time at the school she appeared in New York City Ballet's annual performances of George Balanchine’s legendary Nutcracker production at the Lincoln Center.

As a teenager she also successfully created several choreographic creations on her fellow students, while developing as a strong dancer.

After her graduation she was offered a contract at the highly regarded Sarasota Ballet in Florida who specialise in presenting the works of the world-renowned British choreographer Sir Frederick Ashton. She's also appeared in other ballets by Ashton, Balanchine, Hart and Graziano.

In her spare time ‘Lily’ is modelling having recently finished a photo shoot in Boston by celebrated fashion photographer Jonathan Ressler.

Joining Edinburgh Festival Ballet and its School brings ‘Lily’ back to her European roots by settling in Edinburgh and appropriately having recently performed in several Ashton ballets working and performing at newly refurbished Ashton Hall at Saint Stephens Edinburgh.

OUR ADDRESS

Address: Saint Stephen's Edinburgh,

105 St Stephen Street, Edinburgh,

EH3 5AB

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© 2019 by Edinburgh Festival Ballet