Six young dancers have been nominated for a prestigious ballet award worth $25,000.
The Telstra Ballet Dancer Awards have been a reliable identifier of rising talent for almost two decades, with half a dozen former winners going on to become principal artists at the Australian Ballet.
The awards comprise a $25,000 rising star award chosen by panel of judges, and a people’s choice award worth $15,000.
One of the nominees named on Tuesday, Melbourne dancer Corey Herbert,began dance classes at seven years old.
The 26-year-old’s big break came when she joined the cast of Australian Ballet’s production of Swan Lake, replacing an injured dancer at the last minute and learning a major part in the space of just two days.
But she says she’s never been a typical ballet dancer type, and there were times when she wanted to quit.
“Ballet school is very strict and can be tough as a teenager,” she said.
Ms Herbert says the experience makes her more understanding when she returns to teach the students at her old ballet school.
“They should not just be taught by people that were obviously destined to succeed,” she said.
Deprived of rehearsal space during Melbourne’s lockdown, Ms Herbert spent months dancing in a makeshift home studio and filmed ballet tutorials for YouTube to help other young dancers.
Other dancers nominated for the awards are soloists Nathan Brook and Imogen Chapman, coryphee Jasmin Durham and corps de ballet dancers Serena Graham and Cameron Holmes.
The nominees have been chosen by past winners, company dancers, and the Australian Ballet artistic staff.
The winner will be announced at the Sydney Opera House on April 6, at the Australian Ballet’s first Sydney season in more than a year.