Talented trio become principal artists at The Australian Ballet

The Australian Ballet welcomes three new principal artists to its ranks.

Artistic Director David McAllister made the surprise announcement onstage at Telstra Ballet in the Stadium in Penrith on 6 November.

Senior Artists Daniel Gaudiello (28 from Brisbane), Kevin Jackson (26 from Perth) and Lana Jones (28 from Canberra) were told the exciting news during curtain calls at the free outdoor performance, surrounded by colleagues and their families.

McAllister praised each dancer, citing a number of exceptional performances as a factor in their elevation to principal artist.

“Daniel, Kevin and Lana each have a star quality that has seen them dazzle in a broad range of principal roles. They are wonderful artists in their own right and demonstrate the breadth of talent in the company that will ensure our ongoing success as we head towards our 50th anniversary.”

Kevin becomes the youngest principal artist at The Australian Ballet, while Daniel and Lana share their success both on and off the stage, having married on New Year’s Eve 2009. It is the first principal artist announcement since Danielle Rowe and Adam Bull were promoted in June 2008.

Daniel, Kevin and Lana will take up their coveted positions in January 2011. All three are performing in Edge of night at the Sydney Opera House from November 11.

The dancers’ ascent to the upper echelons of The Australian Ballet has been an exhilarating journey. All three have won the Telstra Ballet Dancer Award in their careers, a major indicator of star potential within the company.

Daniel has impressed in a number of show stopping roles. From tugging heartstrings as the lovelorn doll Petrouchka (2009) to deftly partnering Madeleine Eastoe’s Swanilda in Coppélia (2010), Daniel is a versatile dancer who can tackle both comedy and drama with ease. Equally inspiring were his performances as Basilo in Don Quixote (2010), as part of The Dancers Company regional tour.

Kevin has shown a maturity and strength on the stage that is well beyond his years. Praised by critics for breakthrough principal roles in Firebird (2009), The Sleeping Beauty (2009) and The Silver Rose (2010), his leading man qualities have earned him many fans. A dancer with beautiful artistry, he is a true poet of the stage.

Lana achieved a hat-trick of awards for her unforgettable portrayal in the title role of Graeme Murphy’s Firebird (2009), taking home a Helpmann, Green Room and Australian Dance Award. She is a rare breed of dancer who balances diamond-sharp precision with an inner softness, conveying emotion without sacrificing an inch of technique.

With the 2011 season almost upon us, audiences can look forward to seeing these dancers take centre stage in the New Year.

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