In 2004 Ilya Ustyantsev graduated from the ballet studio of the Omsk State Music Theatre. In 2009 he graduated with distinction from the Omsk State Dostoevsky University, having specialised as a teaching choreographer. From 2009–2015 he was a student at the St Petersburg State Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatoire, specialising as a choreographer and stage director (class of Georgy Kovtun).
From 2003–2009 he worked as a ballet soloist at the Omsk State Music Theatre. Since 2011 he has taught at the Palace of Student Youth in St Petersburg.
In 2007 he won the Grand Prix at the Golden Phoenix international competition in St Petersburg. In 2010 he was a prize-winner at the Fyodor Lopukhov Open Choreography Competition in St Petersburg, in 2011 he was a diploma-recipient at the Alternative All-Russian Open Dance Festival and Competition and, in 2012, he was a recipient of the Youth Prize for creative art of the Government of St Petersburg and of the 1st prize at the International Children’s and Youth Dance Competition Riga Spring. In 2013 he won 1st prize at the Festival de teatro de danza in Lloret de Mar (Spain).
Has staged the ballets Burial of the Sardine (International Conservatoires Week festival at the St Petersburg State Conservatoire, 2011), Medea (part of Georgy Kovtun’s ballet Choreographic Preludes, the St Petersburg State Cappella, 2012) and The Little Mermaid (Opera and Ballet Theatre of the St Petersburg State Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatoire, 2013).
Has taken part in productions of the operas The Story of Kai and Gerda (the State Philharmonic of St Petersburg for Children and Youth, directed by Ivan Volodin, 2011), Così fan tutte (the State Philharmonic of St Petersburg for Children and Youth, directed by Ivan Volodin, 2011, and the Zazerkalye theatre, directed by Andrei Petrov, 2012), The Dam (the festival From the Avant-garde to the Present Day, directed by Sofia Sirakanian, 2012), The Stone Guest (the Zazerkalye theatre, directed by Nikolai Panin, 2013), I Montecchi e i Capuleti (the Kazakh State Academic Abai Opera and Ballet Theatre, directed by Alexei Stepanyuk, 2014), Eugene Onegin (the Krasnodar Gatov Creative Union Premiere, directed by Alexei Stepanyuk, 2015), Carmen (the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre, directed by Alexei Stepanyuk, 2016) and Tannhäuser (the St Petersburg Music Hall theatre, directed by Viktor Vysotsky, 2016).
Has worked as the choreographer on Alexei Stepanyuk’s productions at the various stages of the Mariinsky Theatre, among them L’elisir d’amore (2013), The Lefthander (2013), Eugene Onegin (2013), The Queen of Spades (2015) and A Christmas Tale (2015). In 2016 he appeared as an assistant to Alexei Stepanyuk on Mariinsky Theatre productions of Carmen (a new stage version of the 2005 production), Scenes from the Life of Nikolenka Irtenev, White Nights and The Idiot.