Australian Ballet and Telstra announce Erin O’Rourke as winner of 2022 Choreographer Award

2022 Telstra Emerging Choreographer award winner Erin O'Rourke. Photo by Nicole Cleary, courtesy of O'Rourke and The Australian Ballet.
2022 Telstra Emerging Choreographer award winner Erin O'Rourke. Photo by Nicole Cleary, courtesy of O'Rourke and The Australian Ballet.

Dancer and choreographer Erin O’Rourke from Melbourne has been named as the winner of the 2022 Telstra Emerging Choreographer (TEC) award. Aged 23 years old, the young artist has been creating work for the past five years. O’Rourke is thrilled to have this unique platform to propel her career forward. 

The Australian Ballet and Telstra are delighted to unveil the second winner of this new initiative, which began in 2021, to inspire Australia’s next generation of choreographers. TEC provides young creators with a platform to share their work and the chance to develop their talent and nurture their potential, supported by The Australian Ballet and Telstra. 

For winning, O’Rourke will receive a cash prize of AU$10,000, courtesy of The Australia Ballet’s Principal Partner Telstra. The prize money will go toward supporting the development of her choreographic practice and allow her to connect with the broader dance community. 

The Australian Ballet and Telstra were delighted with the number of applications received from TEC’s second year, with more than 70 entries from choreographers across Australia covering all genres of dance. Participants were asked to submit applications responding to the 2022 theme: ‘Identity.’ Three TEC Finalists were then selected to vie for TEC’s first prize. 

The 2022 TEC Finalists included Amber McCartney, Erin O’Rourke and Ko Yamada. The three choreographers were each provided a budget of $3,000 to create a work which was then reviewed by the TEC Judging Panel, and a Winner selected. 

The 2022 TEC award judges included David Hallberg, The Australian Ballet’s artistic director; Stephanie Lake, multi-award-winning Australian choreographer, dancer and director of Stephanie Lake Company; and Josh Wright, creative producer, curator and CEO/artistic director of Dancehouse, Melbourne. 

The 2021 winner of the inaugural TEC award was Western Sydney dancer and choreographer Feras Shaheen. Since receiving the award, Shaheen has been working with The Australian Ballet to create a piece for the Bodytorque Digital season which will premiere in 2023. 

The TEC award has been spearheaded by The Australian Ballet Artistic Director David Hallberg, who said he saw enormous potential in all of the 2022 finalists, but in particular the winner. “I’m thrilled that this initiative allows us to connect with emerging independent artists of Erin’s caliber.” 

Hallberg added, “Erin is a talented and thoughtful multi-disciplinary artist. In her impressive work across dance, writing and photography, she considers not only the world we live in and our place in it but often turns her gaze inward exploring the intangible things that make us unique. Her final submission, while joyous and eccentric, beats with an underlying melancholy, perfectly examining the complexities we all feel as we shape and reshape our own identities.”

Together, Telstra and The Australian Ballet share one objective – supporting innovation by nurturing future creatives. Telstra Principal, Media, Sponsorship and Awards, Genelle Sharples, said, “Telstra and The Australian Ballet are proud to be fostering the next generation of artists. The TEC award aims to inspire up-and-coming Australian choreographers by providing them a platform to develop their talent and achieve their dreams. The future of the ballet in Australia depends on having a strong ecosystem of talent around it, with choreography being one of the most critical. TEC provides that pathway to support this ambition.” 

The partnership between Telstra and The Australian Ballet is one of the longest-running arts partnerships in the country. Telstra has been the Principal Partner of The Australian Ballet for 38 years. Through the Telstra Ballet Dancer Awards (TBDA), Telstra helps to celebrate ballet talent by shining a spotlight on the ballet’s rising stars. 

To learn more about the Telstra Emerging Choreographer initiative, visit australianballet.com.au/about-us/corporate-partnerships/telstra-emerging-choreographer.

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