Australian Ballet soloist Nathan Brook has been crowned the winner of the Telstra Ballet Dancer Awards. Brook took centre stage at the Sydney Opera House on the opening night of the company's New York Dialects season where he accepted his awards for both the Telstra Rising Star Award and Telstra People’s Choice Award.
The Telstra Ballet Dancer Awards incorporate two separate awards: The Telstra Rising Star Award, which was chosen by a panel of judges and includes a $25,000 prize for the winner; and The Telstra People’s Choice Award, which was chosen by a public vote and includes a $15,000 prize. This year, the award generated the highest number of votes ever, with 240,000 votes from online and SMS.
The partnership between Telstra and The Australian Ballet is one of the longest running arts awards in the country. Now in its eighteenth year, the TBDA has been a career highlight for some of Australian ballet’s biggest stars. The winner was announced by Telstra Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Penn.
Artistic Director David Hallberg, congratulated Nathan on his win: "It is a thrill to announce my first Telstra Ballet Dancer Award to Nathan Brook. I have watched Nathan grow as an artist in previous years and his commitment, drive, dedication and ambition make him a great advocate for this award. The future is very bright for Nathan in the world of dance. I am so proud of this year’s nominees; bouncing back from their time away from the stage and returning with a fresh outlook on their careers. It is a special place to be as an artist and I can’t wait to nurture and develop all of them in years to come. Lastly, a warm thank you to Telstra for supporting The Australian Ballet and the talent that they spotlight. It is encouraging for all of us here to know we are aligned in nurturing the talent within The Australian Ballet."
The other nominees this year included soloist Imogen Chapman; coryphée Jasmin Durham; corps de ballet dancer Serena Graham; coryphée Corey Herbert and corps de ballet dancer Cameron Holmes.
The nominees were judged throughout the year on their contributions both on and off the stage to the company. This year’s judging panel was formed by Hallberg, Libby Christie (Executive Director, TAB), Genelle Sharples (Principal, Media, Sponsorships and Awards for Telstra), Pat Ingram (Editorial Director of Sunday Life); and Emma Watkins (trained ballet dancer, performer and member of The Wiggles).
Nathan Brook was born and raised in Avalon Beach, Sydney. He started dance classes at the age of seven after his parents recognised that, no matter what the music, he was always dancing. He trained at Lamont Dance School in Avalon Beach, with Aryana Lamont, until the age of 14, when he moved to Melbourne to attend The Australian Ballet School.
After graduating, Nathan first joined Queensland Ballet’s Young Artist Program, then the Queensland Ballet proper in 2015, touring with the company to Lausanne, London and Shanghai. He joined the corps de ballet of TAB in 2016; he was promoted to coryphée in 2018 and soloist in 2019.
Nathan is the youngest of three boys. Growing up on the beach, both his older brothers became competitive surf boat rowers. Nathan prefers to scuba dive. He is fiercely passionate about encouraging young ballet boys to fulfill their dreams. He wants young men to feel supported to be themselves and dance to the beat of their own drum.
See Geraldine Higginson's review of the night here.
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