Toowoomba dancer up for top Ballet Award

THE move from Toowoomba to Melbourne to follow her ballet dream has paid off for Isobelle Dashwood. The 22-year-old Queenslander who is now with the Australian Ballet has just been named as one of the nominees for the prestigious and coveted Telstra Ballet Dancer Awards 2019.

Dashwood says coming from Toowoomba meant she was already acclimatised for Melbourne where the national ballet company is based.

"We didn't have to adjust too much to the winter down here," Dashwood says. "I do miss Toowoomba but we all moved to Melbourne together and it was a bit of an adventure."

Australian Ballet dancer Isobelle Dashwood.
Australian Ballet dancer Isobelle Dashwood.

Her parents, Paul and Andie and her four siblings all shifted to the Victorian capital when Isobelle was 15 so that she could follow her ballet dream. Dad Paul, a finance broker, still commutes to Toowoomba for work.

Isobelle, a former student of St Ursula's College Toowoomba, is currently a corps de ballet dancer with The Australian Ballet and she will be coming to Brisbane to perform in February when the company holds the world premiere of it's new production, The Happy Prince, choreographed by Graeme Murphy, in Brisbane.

"The last time I was in Brisbane was for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland this year and I really enjoyed that," Dashwood says. She performed in Giselle at the Sydney Opera House this year and this weekend she takes to the stage again in Sylvia.

Isobelle Dashwood in Giselle
Isobelle Dashwood in Giselle

She's one of six dancers nominated for Telstra Ballet dancer Awards this year which comprises two awards with the main one being the Telstra Rising Star award ($20,000) and the Telstra People's Choice Award ($5000) which is which is decided by a public vote. A dancer can win both. This is the 17th year and many of the award winners have gone on to become principal dancers. General manager of media and sponsorship for Telstra, Genelle Sharples says the awards nurture ballet talent.

'The Awards allow Telstra to support some of Australia's brightest young stars with new opportunities and career experiences, to give them their greatest chance of success," Sharples says.

The other dancers nominated are Jill Ogai (soloist), Cristiano Martino (senior artist), Marcus Morelli (senior artist), Sharni Spencer (soloist) and fellow corps de ballet dancer Yichuan Wang.

Artistic director of The Australian Ballet, David McAllister, says this year's nominees are "a fantastic representation of dedication and commitment that The Australian Ballet embodies".

"Being nominated for the Telstar Ballet Dancer of the Year Awards is such an honour for each artist," McAllister says. "It really gives these hard working and inspiring dancers such well deserved recognition." Dashwood was also nominated in 2017.

The winner of the main award will be chosen by a panel of judges from Telstra and The Australian Ballet and announced at the opening night performance of The Nutcracker at Sydney Opera House on Saturday November 30.

The six finalists are featured in a series of videos and you can vote for your favourite dancer with voting closing on November 17.

To vote go to: telstra.com/ballet