about us


dance & ballet

  • Strength, endurance, & flexibility
  • Improved Posture
  • Co-ordination and cognitive stimulation
  • Aside from being a good cardio workout, ballet & contemporary dance develops strength and spatial awareness
  • For children, dance is a huge benefit to physical and mental development. Children’s social development benefits in many ways
  • For adults and children alike, dance is great exercise and develops confidence and mental strength


fully qualified teachers & staff

Alisa Balayan - Owner / Ballet & Contemporary

Born into a family of ballet dancers it was no surpirse that Alisa showed an early, prodigious talent for ballet. Dancing from age 5 the future professional dancer was consumed by dance.

Studying at the Lviv State School of Ballet exposed her to some of the best teachers in Europe. Her teaching career began while still studying dance in Lviv. After a perfect score in her final exam, she won a full scholarship to Joffrey Ballet school in New York. Studying with some of the best teachers in the world had an incredible impact on Alisa’s career.

Having received a BA degree in dance from the Lviv State College of Arts and Culture, she furthered her dance studies in Jazz-Modern and Contemporary as well as Ballet. Returning to Lviv to dance professionally with the Lviv National Opera and Ballet House, Alisa resumed teaching, at the State Ballet School, teaching Jazz-Modern, Contemporary and Ballet.

Her career as a professional ballet dancer with the Lviv National Opera and Ballet House included appearances in Swan Lake, The Nutcracker Suite, Don Quixote, La Bayadere, & Sleeping Beauty.

Upon arriving in South Africa, Alisa joined Mzansi Productions dance company and began teaching. She then became the Artistic Director and teacher of the Russian School of Ballet.

In 2019 Alisa established her own school, naming it for her maternal grandmother – the Prima Ballerina of Lviv National Opera and Ballet House, Ludmila Orlovska.

Olena Balayan - Ballet

Olena offers 37 years of experience as a dance teacher and choreographer whose productions are known nationwide in Ukraine

Being a daughter of the principal ballet dancers at Lviv National Ballet and Opera House, Olena started her dancing education at the age of 5 at the Lviv State Ballet School in Ukraine where she studied ballet, modern and character dance. She graduated from the Lviv State Ballet School at the age of 16 with distinction.

In 1985, she completed her degree in ballet (Russian Ballet method -Vaganova syllabus), character and modern dancing with distinction at the Lviv College of Art and Culture and continued her education at the Department of Dance at the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv.

Olena has received her first teaching experience at the age of 17 when she started working with pre-ballet groups at the Lviv State Ballet School. She continued teaching ballet, modern and character dance to different levels at the Lviv State Ballet School until 2006.

In addition, Olena established “Sirius”, a jazz and modern dance Company between 1992 and 2006.

Since 2006 she has been working at the National Drama Theatre as a head ballet master and choreographer where she choreographed over 50 shows. Olena Balayan has been a head ballet-master and choreographer at the Lviv National Drama Theater since then until the end of 2019.

In 2020 Olena moved to South Africa and became a teacher at Orlovska Dance Studio, named after her mother the Prima Ballerina of Lviv National Opera and Ballet House, Ludmila Orlovska.

ODA is incredibly fortunate to have Olena as part of our team. Her extensive dance and teaching expertise is invaluable.

Liz-Anne Robinson - Acrobatics

Lizanne’s lifelong journey in dance began at a young age, exploring various disciplines such as ballet, modern, tap, gymnastics, and acro. Her passion for movement led her to embrace Latin and ballroom dances during her eighth-grade years. By the time she reached grade 11, Lizanne had not only become an accomplished dancer but also started teaching and competing.

During her undergraduate studies, Lizanne joined the UJ dance company, where she dedicated herself to her craft from 2009 to 2013. In 2013, she successfully completed her honors degree in Anatomical Sciences, showcasing her commitment to both the art and science of dance.

Since 2017, Lizanne has been sharing her expertise by teaching acrobatics and contemporary dance, followed by modern dance instruction in 2019. Her qualifications include being a certified teacher in PACRODA acrobatics, Dance Vision Latin and Ballroom, as well as AIDT modern.

Lizanne’s true passion lies in teaching children, particularly in genres that offer unique physical challenges like acrobatics and tumbling. She takes great delight in sharing her love and joy for dance with her students, nurturing their growth and fostering a deep appreciation for the art form.

With her extensive background, qualifications, and genuine enthusiasm for teaching, Lizanne creates a supportive and inspiring environment where her students can thrive and develop a lifelong love for dance.

Juan Louw - Hip Hop

Introducing Juan Louw, our incredible Hip Hop teacher extraordinaire!

With an impressive journey that began in 2005, Juan has dedicated himself to mastering the art of Hip Hop dance. From the young age of 16, he found his true calling as a Hip Hop instructor and has never looked back.

Throughout his career, Juan has graced numerous shows and competitions, leaving a lasting impact with his exceptional talent. He has proudly represented South Africa on multiple occasions, showcasing his skills and passion on international stages.

Juan’s love for dance is infectious, and his true joy lies in helping individuals develop and unleash their full potential. With unwavering dedication, he goes above and beyond to educate and inspire his students, always willing to exceed expectations. His commitment and motivation are unmatched, and he thrives on seeing his students succeed and achieve their goals.

Not only is Juan an outstanding dancer and teacher, but he is also actively involved in the dance community. He has been a regular adjudicator for the Dance School Sport League (DSSL) and Dance School Club League (DSCL), lending his expertise and guidance to aspiring dancers. Additionally, he has taken on the role of managing the team for Gauteng, further contributing to the growth of dance in the region.

Juan’s remarkable talent and passion make him an invaluable asset to our team. We are incredibly grateful to have him on board, bringing his expertise, dedication, and infectious energy to our dance community.

Fern Renew - Ballet

Meet Fern, a self-proclaimed “ballet nerd of the century” who exudes an unwavering passion for dance. Her dance journey began in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), where she trained diligently and had the privilege of dancing with the esteemed Rhodesian National Ballet during her formative years.

At the age of 17, Fern’s dedication led her to the prestigious Royal Ballet School in London, where she further honed her skills. Her thirst for knowledge and desire to share her passion with others led her to embark on a three-year teachers’ training course at the Royal Academy of Dance in London. Throughout her training, Fern delved into various disciplines, including classical ballet, national dance, ballroom, period dancing, anatomy and physiology, choreography, history of ballet, costume, and music. Her commitment and hard work paid off as she graduated as a Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Dance (L.R.A.D.).

Fern’s teaching journey took her to the Mignon Furman Ballet School in Cape Town, where she shared her expertise before establishing her own ballet studio in Zimbabwe. Fueling her desire for artistic growth, she also danced professionally with the N.A.P.A.C. Ballet Company. However, her passion for teaching remained strong, and she transitioned back into the role of a freelance teacher, working with several professional ballet schools.

Driven by a relentless pursuit of excellence, Fern expanded her knowledge by studying the Vaganova method, recognizing the importance of continuous learning for any dedicated teacher. She firmly believes in the future of ballet in South Africa, especially with the global standards reaching new heights. As a dedicated member of the Orlovska team, Fern is thrilled to contribute her expertise to the advancement of ballet in the country.

Fern’s unwavering passion, extensive training, and commitment to ongoing growth make her a valuable asset to the dance community. Her presence at Orlovska is a testament to her dedication and enthusiasm for shaping the future of ballet in South Africa.

Sarahjane Sowter - Ballet, Contemporary & Body conditioning

Sarahjane’s dance journey commenced at the tender age of 3 when she embarked on her ballet training. In grade 10, her passion for dance led her to The National School of the Arts, where she delved into a multitude of dance forms, expanding her repertoire beyond ballet. Alongside her ballet training, she honed her skills in Spanish, Jazz, Contemporary, Afro fusion, and various Latin styles.

Sarahjane’s dedication and talent were recognized when she graduated in 2009 as the best overall dancer. Following her matriculation, she joined the prestigious Joburg Ballet company, gracing the stage as a professional dancer for an impressive 5 years. During her tenure, she not only performed in the corps de ballet but also showcased her talents in several solo roles, while touring internationally.

Seeking new experiences and global exploration, Sarahjane embarked on a new chapter of her career. For the next 5 years, she danced professionally on the esteemed Costa Crociere cruise ship, traveling the world and captivating audiences with her artistry.

Currently, Sarahjane continues to share her passion for dance through teaching. While occasionally still performing for corporate events, her primary focus lies in imparting her knowledge and expertise to students of all ages. She specializes in teaching ballet, as well as contemporary and creative movement, particularly at remedial schools.

Sarahjane’s diverse dance background, combined with her teaching acumen, allows her to inspire and nurture the next generation of dancers while sharing the joy of movement with her students.

Finch Thusi - Contemporary

Kwanele Thusi, also known as Finch, is a highly skilled and well-rounded contemporary dance teacher. With a wealth of expressive experience, Finch has previously taught at CoDarts in Amsterdam before joining 5678 Dance Studio. Prior to that, he served as a Senior Dance Lecturer at Wits University, demonstrating his dedication and expertise in the field. Known for his gentle and soft-spoken nature, Finch is committed to nurturing the talents of his students.

Finch is a dedicated professional who has made significant contributions to creative education. He has served as a Performance Lecturer at Wits and Monash University, enriching minds and coordinating courses since 2021. Additionally, Finch’s leadership skills were underscored during his tenure as the Head of Department and Production Coordinator at The Bomb Shelter Film Company. He has also held the position of Provincial Coordinator for ASSITEJ SA, making valuable contributions to international theatre for young audiences. Notably, Finch’s artistic abilities were recognized when he received the Thami Mnyele Foundation Visual/Performance Artist Award in Amsterdam, further highlighting his artistic prowess. With his extensive knowledge in drama, performance, and cultural studies, coupled with his leadership experience, Finch excels at seamlessly blending education and creativity.

Kwanele Thusi, aka Finch, continues to inspire and guide students in the realm of contemporary dance. Through his passion for teaching and his diverse background in the arts, he fosters a nurturing and supportive environment for students to grow and flourish.

Gabriella Smith - Ballet, Contemporary & Acrobatics

Gabriella, a seasoned dance teacher since 2021, brings a unique blend of expertise to her classes. With a focus on flexibility advancement, she holds certificates in anatomy from the University of Michigan and the science of exercise from the University of Colorado Boulder. Her extensive dance background spans 17 years of ballet training, 8 years of contemporary training, and 7 years of burlesque. Guiding students of all ages, Gabriella has discovered her true calling—igniting a lifelong passion for dance in each and every one of her students.

Christina Koevort - Ballet

Christina, affectionately known as ‘Teacher Tina,’ embarked on her journey as a ballet teacher in 2020 when her own ballet teacher entrusted her with leading the youngest ballet group. This pivotal experience led her to join the esteemed team at Orlovska Dance Academy in 2021. Presently, Christina imparts her ballet expertise to beginner ballet groups for children.

Having danced since the tender age of 2 and trained in both RAD and Vaganova methods, Christina’s passion for teaching ballet mirrors her love for dancing. Her goal is to instill that same adoration for dance in her students, fostering an enjoyable and nurturing environment where they can learn and flourish. Christina aspires to guide her students on a remarkable journey of growth, enabling them to blossom into beautiful dancers while embracing the joy of dance.

Sarah Steyn - Administration

Sarah was born in Zimbabwe and moved to Durban in her early years. After school she attended the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal and obtained a BComm degree. Post university she moved to the UK where she worked in the Investment Banking and Financial Industry sector. She returned to Johannesburg and was involved in this line of work for 18 years. When her third child was born, she left the corporate world and now assists Orlovska Dance Studio with administrative work.

Sarah loves the outdoors and enjoys spending golden moments with her family and friends. ODA is grateful to have Sarah on board. Her professionalism is invaluable to our Studio.