Primary & Juniors
Seniors & Adults
It is so wonderful to have studios like MAKS with Matthew and Katherine Shilling at the helm available to Canberrans. With their long dance history and solid experience, I am sure they will bring the same brilliant talent into the studio that they brought to the stage and build the next generation of young dancers in Canberra.
David McAllister AM, Artistic Director at The Australian Ballet
Matthew Shilling and Katherine Arnold-Lindley were key players in Sydney Dance Company during some of its most vibrant and creative yeas. Both Matt and Kath are equipped with powerful techniques in classical and contemporary dance, innate theatricality and self-discipline. These two artists honed and developed their skills in theatres across the globe and brought to life an extraordinary range of roles created especially for them. Individually, they have the know-how to produce the multi-faceted dances required in today’s competitive world. Collectively, they have the integrity and generosity to share this knowledge and nurture young dancers to their full potential.
Graeme Murphy AO and Janet Vernon AM, Artistic Direction at Sydney Dance Company (1976-2007)
MAKS was more than just a dance school for me; it was a family and a creative space in which I learnt and grew as not only a dancer, but as a person. The nurturing environment and foundation skills I received at MAKS truly set me up moving forward into fulltime dance at Sydney Dance Company and the big beautiful world of the arts. Matt and Kath’s genuine passion for dance is evident in their teaching practice with the love and hard work they invest into their students. I’m so grateful for my time with Matt and Kath at MAKS and am excited to see their young dancers continue to flourish.
Our son always loved to dance. At the end of 2018, after some word-of-mouth endorsements, we sought some advice and tips from Matt and Kath regarding some technical deficits that were causing ongoing injuries. After the first coaching session, Matt and Kath told us that our son had a natural facility for ballet dancing. We had no idea what this meant and ballet had certainly not been a previous consideration for our son – he loved tap, jazz and hip hop. We were faced with a very difficult decision but we could only trust in the expertise, experience and opinion of Matt and Kath and so took a leap of faith. There were many times of self-doubt but with the endless support and belief Matt and Kath provided, slowly, but surely, we saw our boy grow in confidence. Move forward two short years and our tap dancing hip hopper is training full time at the Australian Ballet School. We could never have imagined any of this. A critical part of the success of this journey is the impact from the entire MAKS family. The camaraderie and friendships our son received from the other dancers, made him feel safe and welcome from day one. He has made lifelong friends and we are forever grateful for the culture and environment where those friendships could grow. Moving to MAKS Ballet Studios is a decision we will never regret and we will be forever grateful for Matt and Kath and the belief they had in our boy, for nurturing him and his talent and for giving him the gift of a potential career in the thing that brings him so much joy.
After dancing for a number of years recreationally, enjoying a variety of different styles of dance, I came to a point where I realised I needed to explore dance in a more focussed and serious way if I had any potential for dance career in the future. Whilst ballet was not a style I had much experience with, I knew having a strong ballet foundation was essential. A friend recommended I contact MAKS Ballet Studios, and something that immediately appealed to me was the chance to work with a male teacher, something I had never done before. Initially, I felt way out of my depth, but Matt and Kath were extremely supportive and encouraging, and the other dancers were very welcoming. It did not take long for me to feel that this was the right place for me. Matt and Kath saw a potential in me, and their endless patience and dedication to my growth resulted in an offer for a fulltime position to train at the Australian Ballet School after only six months of ballet training. I never thought of myself as a ballet dancer and without their vision, perseverance, and confidence in me, I would not have achieved what I have. I am currently enjoying my second year at the Australian Ballet School, and ballet has become my passion. I cannot thank Matt, Kath and the MAKS family enough for the wonderful support I received, and how they helped me see what I didn’t see in myself. They will always be an integral part of my dance journey and I will be forever grateful for them.
MAKS Ballet Studios has one of the most supporting and inclusive environments that I have so far experienced. Their family-like culture allowed me to succeed and grow all while receiving a high level of training from some of the most amazing teachers. Matthew and Katherine supported me unbelievably throughout my five years there. While pushing me to achieve my absolute potential, they were there for any slight mishap or problem I may have had in or out of the studio. Being two years out of school, and currently doing fulltime dance study in Sydney, they are still supporting me from Canberra. Continuously providing guidance and advice whenever I may need it. They created an environment in which I felt comfortable to push myself and be myself. With their extensive dance career, that they had themselves, they were able to provide experiences and workshops for us taught by some of the biggest names in the Australian dance community. Alongside this they take care in the staff they hire, making sure they display the exact same morals and deliver a high level of teaching. I could not recommend MAKS Ballet Studios more.
When I started at MAKS Ballet Studios, I was so stressed and nervous about how far behind I was technically, but through the training from all my teachers and mentors during the three years I was at MAKS, not only did I refine my skills and technique but I also found the confidence I needed to reach my goals and move into the next stages of my career. MAKS Ballet Studios is the perfect school and environment for any young dancers who want to further themselves in any genre of dance. They are given plenty of opportunity to grow and learn what it is to be an artist and the thrill of dancing on stage.
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