The 24-year-old is the first Japanese dancer to be promoted to the company’s most senior position.

As the 24-year-old Japanese dancer Ako Kondo made her curtain call after giving her final performance in the title role of Australian Ballet’s production of Giselle yesterday evening, Artistic Director David McAllister took to the stage of the Sydney Opera House’s Joan Sutherland Theatre to make a surprise announcement: Kondo is to be promoted to the highest position in the company as Australian Ballet’s newest Principal Artist.

Kondo, who has been dancing with the company for the past five years has consistently delivered stand-out performances, most recently in The Nutcracker and La Bayadére. The promotion makes Kondo the fifth female Principal Artist in the company, but she has the distinction of being the first Japanese dancer to ever be appointed to the most senior position.

However, as the company is gaining a new Principal Artist it will be losing one of its most accomplished Principals later this year when Madeleine Eastoe retires in July. Eastoe will retire eighteen years with the company, after the upcoming The Dream tour, featuring the choreography of Frederick Ashton. 

Australian Ballet’s Artistic Director, David McAllister, speaks to Limelight about the company’s upcoming tribute to the great English choreographer Frederick Ashton, The Dream, next week on limelightmagazine.com.au