• Rina Nemoto receiving her award on stage. In the background is Telstra's CEO, Andy Penn.
    Rina Nemoto receiving her award on stage. In the background is Telstra's CEO, Andy Penn.
  • Rina Nemoto
    Rina Nemoto
  • Lilly Maskery.
    Lilly Maskery.

Soloist Rina Nemoto and her colleague, corps de ballet dancer Lilly Maskery, have won the two major prizes in this year's Telstra Ballet Dancer Awards, the annual accolade presented to promising dancers in the Australian Ballet.

Nemoto received the Telstra Rising Star Ward in recognition of "her exceptional talent, outstanding achievements and bright future predicted in the artform". She wins the handsome sum of $25,000. Maskery took out the 2022 Telstra People’s Choice Award of $15,000. More than 170,000 votes were received on-line and via SMS.

 The annoucement was made on stage at the Sydney Opera House following the Sydney opening of Anna Karenina.

Nemoto was born in Tokyo, and began dancing at the age of three. At the age of 15, she travelled to Paris for two years of classical ballet training with Daini Kudo and Dominique Khalfouni. In 2009, she was awarded a Prix de Lausanne scholarship and joined the Royal Ballet as an apprentice dancer. She joined the Australian Ballet in 2011; was promoted to coryphée in 2016 and to soloist in 2018.

Lilly Maskery was born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand; she began dance classes at the age of three. She trained at the Philippa Campbell School of Ballet and the Australian Ballet School, and joined the Australian Ballet in 2020. 

Artistic Director, David Hallberg, congratulated Rina and Lilly on their wins: “I am immensely proud to join Telstra in announcing Rina Nemoto and Lilly Maskery as the 2022 Telstra Ballet Dance Award winners. In my short time as Artistic Director of this company I have watched both Rina and Lilly grow as artists, showing that the combination of individuality and hard work truly do pay off. I know this recognition will surely give them the deserved spotlight for them to shine in. I would also like to take this moment to thank 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 partnership between Telstra and the AB is now in its 19th year, making the TBDA one of the longest running arts awards in the country. 

This year’s judging panel was formed by Hallberg, Libby Christie (AB's Executive Director), David Burns (Group Executive, Enterprise for Telstra), Genelle Sharples (Principal, Media, Sponsorships and Awards for Telstra), and Emma Watkins (ballet dancer, performer and former member of The Wiggles).

For all five nominees, go here.

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