There is a magic about ballet that continues to enthral audiences around the world from one generation to another.
And, it’s fabulous that the passion and hard work of our wonderful ballet dancers are recognised every year with the Telstra Ballet Dancer Award, which I have previously had the honour of judging alongside The Australian Ballet’s Artistic Director David McAllister.
This year the winner of these prestigious awards is Valerie Tereshchenko who grew up in Kiev, Ukraine before her family immigrated to Australia when she was six.
Joining The Australian Ballet in 2009, her fascination and passion for the art form accelerated when she took her first class with Amber Scott, former Telstra Ballet Dancer Award winner and now Principal Artist at The Australian Ballet.
Here, The Australian Ballet and Telstra created a video series that provides a glimpse inside the minds of the nominees and the unique challenges they face before they step on stage.
While presenting the Award Telstra Marketing Director Joe Pollard said, “One of the greatest successes in our 33-year partnership with The Australian Ballet has been the establishment and legacy of the Telstra Ballet Dancer Award, which is dedicated to supporting the growth and future of The Australian Ballet’s rising stars.”
“It is always wonderful to watch the new crop of Telstra Ballet Dancer Award nominees go through this enriching journey. I’m thrilled to see rising star Valerie Tereshchenko acknowledged for her dedication and artistry as this year’s winner, and I look forward to watching this award boost her trajectory. Jake Mangakahia, exemplified what it takes to be the people’s choice winner this year, showcasing the loyalty and support of his fans, friends and family to take out this award,” says The Australian Ballet’s Artistic Director, David McAllister.
Jake Mangakahia joined The Australian Ballet in 2012. In 2014 he took a two-year break to fulfil his life-long dream to serve as a Christian missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day-Saints. Whilst Jake was away he trained on his own for six hours a day and upon his return to The Australian Ballet he performed a leading role in Nijinsky. Proving Jake’s status as a crowd favourite, this is the second time Jake has taken home this award, the first being in his premiere year with the company.
You can watch Chris Bath’s interview for The Carousel with Australian Ballet dancer Robyn Hendricks, here.