Photography Chloe Gordon
Six talented young dancers are in the running to take home The Australian Ballet’s highest honour, with the 2013 Telstra Ballet Dancer Award (TBDA) nominations announced in Melbourne in February. The 2013 Telstra Ballet Dancer Award nominees are Benedicte Bemet (Mackay, QLD), Cameron Hunter (East Fremantle, WA), Natasha Kusen (Maroubra, NSW), Christopher Rodgers-Wilson (Camberwell, VIC), Sharni Spencer (Tamworth, NSW) and Valerie Tereshchenko (Carnegie, VIC).
Introduced in 2003 to encourage young Australian ballet dancers to reach their full potential, the Telstra Ballet Dancer Award has catapulted some of The Australian Ballet’s brightest stars into the stratosphere.
Last year Senior Artist Amy Harris won the 2012 Telstra Ballet Dancer Award and Telstra People’s Choice Award went to Jake Mangakahia.
Five previous TBDA winners have ascended the ballet rankings to reach principal artist status, including Matthew Lawrence (2003), Amber Scott (2004), Lana Jones (2005), Daniel Gaudiello (20007) and Kevin Jackson (2008).
Telstra Group Managing Director, Applications and Ventures, Deena Shiff, said the Award was an important part of rewarding and recognizing talent within the ranks of the company. “The announcement of the Telstra Ballet Dancer Award nominees is always an exciting occasion. We are delighted to continue our support of the ballet and we look forward to celebrating 30 years of this successful partnership in 2014.”
This year’s nominees were chosen by The Australian Ballet’s artistic staff, previous winners of the award and principal artists. The six dancers were judged on their performances throughout 2012, the ongoing development of their skills and their support of fellow company members.
The winner, announced near the end of 2013, will be decided by an industry panel – comprising of representatives from The Australian Ballet, Telstra and the media – and will receive a $20,000 cash prize from Telstra. The People’s Choice Award has a $5,000 prize and is decided by public vote.
To vote for your favourite dancer, SMS their first name to 0439 BALLET (0439 225 538) or click here.