Telstra Ballet Dancer Awards

2017 Telstra Ballet Dancer Awards Nominees (L-R): Valerie Tereshchenko, Drew Hedditch, Isobelle Dashwood, Francois-Eloi Lavignac, Sharni Spencer & Jake Mangakahia.

Nominees for Annual Telstra Ballet Dancer Awards

Who will win the People’s Choice?

Six talented dancers with The Australian Ballet have been announced as nominees for the prestigious Telstra Ballet Dancer Award. Now in its 15th year, the award has catapulted the careers of some of the Ballet’s brightest stars, with seven former recipients being promoted to principle artists of The Australian Ballet. 
The Telstra Ballet Dancer Award is the highest accolade in the Australian Ballet, the winner will receive a $20,000 cash prize and the People’s Choice, decided by public vote, will win $5,000
The six dancers nominated for the award are:

  1. Isobelle Dashwood (Toowoomba, QLD)
  2. Drew Hedditch (Canberra, ACT)
  3. François-Eloi Lavignac, (Limoges, France)
  4. Jake Mangakahia, (Sunshine Coast, QLD)
  5. Sharni Spencer (Lismore, NSW)
  6. Valerie Tereshchenko, (Kiev, Ukraine)

To inspire people to vote in the People’s Choice Award, Telstra and The Australian Ballet have created a film series that gives a glimpse inside the minds of the nominees. The films reveal the individual challenges each dancer must overcome before they step on stage. Lifting the curtain on ballet, the intimate stories are told through the dancers’ physical, mental, and emotional relationship with mirrors during practice. Each journey of transformation highlights the effort that often goes unseen.
Telstra’s Chief Financial Officer Warwick Bray said that for more than three decades, Telstra has helped ballet dancers to develop their careers and allowed audiences to connect with the wonder of ballet in new and innovative ways.
“One of the greatest legacies of our partnership has been the establishment of the Telstra Ballet Dancer Award. Each year, this partnership allows dancers the opportunity to grow, thrive and enhance their careers. To help people across Australia understand the talent of these dancers and the incredible effort they put into their art, and to shine a spotlight on the beauty and discipline of ballet, we’ve created short videos that celebrate each nominee, showing their special qualities and what they go through to perform so beautifully on stage,” said Mr Bray.
The Australian Ballet’s Artistic Director David McAllister commented on the calibre of this year’s dancers.
“It is always an exciting moment in our year when we are able to reveal the nominees for the Telstra Ballet Dancer Award. We have seen this award boost the trajectory of many of our rising stars, some of whom are now principal artists. It’s wonderful to see the Australian community get behind our dancers for the People’s Choice Award. Each nominee has both passion and talent, and they all have interestingly diverse backgrounds, coming from across Australia and from overseas,” said Mr. McAllister.
Seven former winners of the award have subsequently been promoted to principal artists of The Australian Ballet: Matthew Lawrence (won 2003), Amber Scott (2004), Lana Jones (2005), Daniel Gaudiello (2007), Kevin Jackson (2008), Ty King-Wall (2010) and Chengwu Guo (2011).
The 2017 Telstra Ballet Dancer Award winners will be announced on Tuesday 5 December 2017 at the opening-night performance of Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Want To Vote for Your Favourite? Watch the nominees and vote in the People’s Choice Award here telstra.com/ballet.


 

Get To Know Some of The Nominees Here…

Drew Hedditch

DREW HEDDITCH

When and where did you start dancing?
I first started dancing at the age of 5 with tap dancing then ballet at 8 in Canberra at the Lisa Clark Dance Centre.
When did you join the Australian Ballet?
After 3 years at the Australian Ballet School I joined the Australian Ballet in 2014.
What is your favourite thing to do when NOT rehearsing and dancing?
I love movies, relaxing and eating pastries and other sweets! Rest is incredibly important to me.
What was your reaction to this nomination and what does it mean to you?
I feel a huge sense of pride and confidence in myself with this nomination, being nominated by the past winners and principals of The Australian Ballet it really shows the support and the recognition of the hard work and commitment that I have achieved. It’s also a huge amount of support from Telstra, a company that is nurturing emerging talent with this award and not only supporting our careers but also our personal lives. 

VALERIE TERESCHCHENKO

Valerie Tereshchenko

When and where did you start dancing?
I started dancing when I was seven at a local dance school near our house in Melbourne.
When did you join the Australian Ballet?
I joined the Australian Ballet in 2009 after graduating from The Australian Ballet School.
What is your favourite thing to do when NOT rehearsing and dancing?
Socialising, being in National Parks or reading a book.
What was your reaction to this nomination and what does it mean to you?
Totally flattered at being recognised and picked out by my fellow dancers and the staff. They see the best and worst of me everyday and it is an honour to think that they feel like I deserve to be a part of this award.

FRANCOIS-ELOI LAVIGNAC

When and where did you start dancing?
I’ve danced as long as I can remember but started taking classes at my local dance school in a French country town called Brive-la-Gaillarde.

Francois-Eloi Lavignac

When did you join the Australian Ballet?
After travelling all the way to Australia just to audition for the company in April 2013, I joined The Australian Ballet the following September after graduating from the English National Ballet School in London.
What is your favourite thing to do when NOT rehearsing and dancing?
When I am not rehearsing I enjoy being in touch with different sorts of arts that could inspire my dancing. As a true Frenchman, I enjoy chasing the best croissant in the city!
What was your reaction to this nomination and what does it mean to you?
Being nominated means that my work has been recognised by my peers. It is such a invigorating feeling to know that the people you dance with everyday think that you’re good at your job.

SHARNI SPENCER

When and where did you start dancing?
I was always dancing around the house and the backyard earlier than I can remember but I went to my first proper dance classes at age 3.

Sharni Spencer

When did you join the Australian Ballet?
I joined the Australian Ballet at the beginning of 2008, after graduating from the New Zealand School of Dance in 2007.
What is your favourite thing to do when NOT rehearsing and dancing?
Sundays are always a big deal when they are your only day off! I always love to go out for a relaxing breaky to one of my favourite cafes. Followed by a walk in the park or along the beach if the sun’s out.
What was your reaction to this nomination and what does it mean to you?
I was blown away to be nominated for a second time! To me it is a great encouragement to be nominated by your peers. The award has been a launch pad for many dancers of The Australian Ballet. It’s the 15th year of the Telstra Ballet Dancer Award and I am so grateful to be nominated again.
 

VOTE for THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD HERE!

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