Mason Lovegrove, a talented corps de ballet member of The Australian Ballet, has recently been honoured with the Walter Bourke Award. This $25,000 travel award prize, which was established in 2005, is not awarded annually but on merit and to specifically fund a dancer’s professional development.
Artistic Director David McAllister announced Lovegrove’s award following the company’s opening of Verve at the State Theatre in late June. “During his life, Walter Bourke was an avid supporter and mentor of gifted people,” McAllister said. “This prize remembers his passion and zest for talent by giving a dancer of The Australian Ballet a career-changing opportunity to step out on the world stage and experience ballet globally. I think he would be thrilled with he selection of Mason Lovegrove as the latest recipient of this award which bears his name. Since joining The Australian Ballet, Mason has showed himself to be a dancer of great talent, creativity and artistry. I am sure he will be a wonderful recipient of this great award.”
Lovegrove plans to spend time with Houston Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, The Royal Ballet, English National Ballet and Staatsballett. Dance Informa had the opportunity to hear from Lovegrove about his plans and what the honour means to him.
What led you to The Australian Ballet, and what do you like best about working with the company?
“When I joined The Australian Ballet School at age 13, I immediately fell in love with The Australian Ballet. The school and the company share the same building, and I was constantly being inspired by the professionals down the corridor. I knew from then on that I had to dance with this company.”
How does it feel to have been awarded this honour?
“It is a huge honour to be awarded this scholarship, not only as a recognition of my dancing but also to honour the memory of Walter Bourke, who in his life contributed so much to the Australian dance landscape.”
What will you do with the prize travel money? Do you intend to further your studies, guest with other companies?
“The scholarship will provide the opportunity to go overseas to observe and participate in the activities of ballet companies across the globe. I will be spending time in America and Europe, expanding my understanding of the art form.”
What’s next for you? Any goals or roles you’re working toward?
“We are currently preparing for our seasons of Giselle and a world premiere, Spartacus. 2019 is set to hold a bunch of exciting new opportunities.”
What advice do you have for aspiring dancers?
“Whether it’s a character role, an abstract ballet or just taking class, I always try to be honest in my dancing. You have to be true to yourself, and treat this art form with the respect it deserves.”
By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.