Elisabetta Terabust attended the Rome Opera Ballet School under the direction of Attilia Radice, who had been a pupil of Cecchetti. Her progress as a dancer was very gradual in accordance with the principles of the Rome Opera Ballet, which only allows the students to take part in a few performances every year. Despite this, she was featured in a number of Balanchine ballets, including Symphony in C and Apollo, and in a series of reworkings of the classics by Yugoslav choreographer Zarko Prebil (Giselle, Coppelia, The Nutcracker, Cinderella). She also performed ballets by Aurel Milloss, including Estri.
However, the opportunities were still far too limited to satisfy a dancer of Ms. Terabust’s talent and ambition, and so she became the first Italian ballerina to become a permanent member of a company abroad – not just a visiting guest artist – and the first of many Italians to work with Roland Petit's Marseilles-based company. There she performed roles requiring great expressiveness, such Esmeralda in Notre-Dame de Paris and Swanilda in Petit’s version of Coppelia.
With the London Festival Ballet, Ms. Terabust alternated over the years between being a member of the company and a guest artist. In both capacities she was able to dance not only in the 19th-century classics, but also in ballets by a number of twentieth-century choreographers. Later she got to know the work of Bournonville when Peter Schaufuss staged La Sylphide for the company. Ms. Terabust was also acclaimed for her performances in works by Glen Tetley, who gave her the title role in Sphinx and cast her inGreening.
In the late 1980s she was celebrated in many countries but especially in her homeland when she toured with the Reggio Emilia-based Aterballetto, often dancing with Peter Schaufuss. She has danced in works by Kenneth MacMillan, Alvin Ailey, William Forsythe, Bournonville and Amedeo Amodio who created a version of Romeo and Juliet for her.
During her career she danced with Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Peter Schaufuss, Erik Bruhn, Fernando Bujones, Paolo Bortoluzzi and Patrice Bart.
In recent years she has directed the Rome Opera Ballet, Rome Opera School, Ballet of La Scala in Milan, Ballet of Maggio Musicale in Florence and Ballet of San Carlo Theatre in Naples.