Six talented young dancers are in the running to take home The Australian Ballet’s highest honour, with the 2012 Telstra Ballet Dancer Award (TBDA) nominations announced today in Melbourne.

The 2012 Telstra Ballet Dancer Award nominees are Dimity Azoury (Queanbeayn, NSW), Calvin Hannaford (Camberwell, VIC), Amy Harris (Ararat, Vic), Ako Kondo (Nagoya, Japan), Jarryd Madden (Wauchope, NSW) and Jake Mangakahia (Sunshine Coast, QLD).

In 2012 real-life ballet couple Amy Harris and Jarryd Madden will go head-to-head in their quest for TBDA glory, a first for the Award.

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 Chengwu Guo created history by being the first male dancer to win both the Telstra Ballet Dancer Award and Telstra People’s Choice Award.

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. The fact we’re celebrating 50 years of The Australian Ballet this year makes it even more special.”

“We are also delighted to announce Telstra has committed to continuing our support of the ballet for a further three years. 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 2011, the ongoing development of their skills and their support of fellow company members.

The winner, announced near the end of 2012, 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 go to telstra.com/ballet to enter online and see full terms and conditions.

Telstra has given each nominee a BlackBerry to tweet about their TBDA journey. The nominees can be followed as they tweet about their rehearsals, performances and all the news from backstage at The Australian Ballet.

Audiences can see the 2012 TBDA nominees perform in Infinity which opens in Melbourne on 24 February before travelling to Sydney on 5 April. Ballet fans in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth can catch the dancers during the upcoming seasons of Graeme Murphy’s Romeo & Juliet. Tickets are available now from australianballet.com.au.





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