Robert Sawatzky
Feb 19, 2021

Telstra brings The Australian Ballet's rising stars to the small stage

INSPIRATION STATION: Watch how R/GA and Telstra illustrate the pandemic's impact on the arts, with a unique twist to The Australian Ballet's Rising Star and People's Choice Awards.

Telstra brings The Australian Ballet's rising stars to the small stage

At this week's Inspiration Station, we look at how Australian telecom Telstra has shaken up its 37-year partnership with The Australian Ballet and its longest running arts awards in Australia, The Telstra Ballet Dancer Awards, created in 2003 to support rising stars.

Each year a group of nominees are selected for Telstra Rising Star Award, which acts as a barometer for talent, with seven former winners progressing to eventually become Principal Artists of The Australian Ballet.

Given the challenges facing the performing arts under the pandemic over the past year, where most performing arts—including The Australian Ballet—moved online, Telstra wanted to do something memorable.  So not only did it increase its sponsorship with increased cash awards, but it enlisted R/GA to give the awards a special twist. 

During lockdown, dancers had been confined to perform on small 4 x 2-metre dance floors.  Thus, the agency and Telstra have opted to bring the small stage to the small screen with a People's Choice competition of Rising Star nominees performing on restricted stages optimised for smaller mobile screens. 

“Every element of the campaign was crafted for social, from the bespoke dancefloor and the elaborate vertical set builds framed for 9:16 mobile screens," says Kieran Antill, national executive creative director at R/GA.

"Backstage content was created for each dancer’s own social media channels using the raw nature of social to give viewers a peek at what goes into a performance, showcasing dancers preparing for and explaining the significance of their routines. This gives audiences a unique look behind the polish of ballet and opened a new way for The Australian Ballet to be discovered. We also enhanced the text voting experience by sending voters a thank you bow from their chosen dancer."

Winners of the Telstra Rising Star Award will be selected by a panel of judges from both The Australian Ballet, the media and from our ranks at Telstra. The Telstra People’s Choice Award allows public online voting which closes on 21 March. You can vote via Telstra's website here. The winner of both Awards will be announced at the Sydney Opera House on the opening night of New York Dialects on Friday 6th April.

THE NOMINEES

Nathan Brook

Nathan is a soloist who is moved by soul and the smooth soul icons of the 60s. Ballet is a way for him to break free of stereotypes.

Imogen Chapman

Imogen is a soloist who is moved by the wild beauty of where she grew up in WA. She loves the contrast of this with the refined beauty of ballet.

Jasmin Durham

Coryphée Jasmin is moved by her inner strength. She’s inspired by strong women who are not afraid to show their vulnerabilities.

Serena Graham

Serena is a Corps de Ballet dancer is moved by timeless style. She’s inspired by the European style of her childhood in Switzerland and classic 60’s fashion.

Corey Herbert

Coryphée Corey is moved by good vibes. She finds inspiration in an artist’s courage to express their true colours and is energised by laughter and fun.

Cameron Holmes


Corps de Ballet dancer Cameron is moved by showmanship. He performed as a child stage actor, once leading Elton John on-stage. He still loves Elton, who has had a profound impact on his life.

“Each performance was meticulously crafted, with each dancer challenged to choreograph a unique routine set to a bespoke melody across each micro-ballet. The instrumentation and the performance was based on each dancer’s own inspiration," Antill said. 

Genelle Sharples, head of media, sponsorship and awards, Telstra, added: “We’re excited with the very different approach we took this year with The Australian Ballet and R/GA, building ballet’s smallest stage for the biggest audience. It feels very apt for the year that’s been.”

You've arrived at Inspiration Station, a weekly look at imaginative and artistic work from creators of all kinds across Asia-Pacific. Or sometimes, we might ask a creative about what they're inspired by outside of work. Step off for a minute to recharge your creative batteries and find inspiration for that next big idea of yours further down the track.

 

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