As well as being a dazzling performer, Terri has had outstanding success as a teacher and leader in dance education and training. She joined West Australian Ballet for its inaugural 1953 season and was was later appointed Assistant Artistic Director. Terri represented Australia at the 1957 International Arts Competition in Moscow, winning the Ulanova Laureate prize for The Brolga.
While in Russia she studied the training methods of the Bolshoi Ballet School, then toured China before continuing training in London. On her return to Australia, and still dancing with WAB, Terri established the Terri Charlesworth Ballet School in Perth (1960) and introduced the Russian training method to The Australian Ballet School when she was appointed classical ballet teacher in 1982.
Terri has taught for the Department of Education and Training since 1970 and co-founded and directed the Graduate College of Dance—the first three-year tertiary dance course in Western Australia. She also founded Western Australia’s first professional contemporary dance company Kinetikos (1978), established the Dance Performance Course for the Graduate College of Dance at Swanbourne High School (1990) and wrote the syllabus for Year 11 & 12 registered ballet subjects for the Curriculum Council of Western Australia and is the founding Artistic Director of Youth Ballet WA (2004).
Terri was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for her contribution to dance in Australia in 1994 and in 2006 was Western Australian Citizen of the Year for Arts and Culture.