Jade Wood already looked like a star for the curtain call of Cinderella, which opened at the Sydney Opera House last night. Appearing as one of the celestial bodies summoned by the Fairy Godmother in Alexei Ratmansky’s production, she was clad in a star-like tutu.

But it turned into an even more stellar night for Wood, with the onstage presentation of the Telstra Ballet Dancer Award 2018. Not only did Wood win the main Award worth $20,000 but she also took home the $5,000 People’s Choice Award. It’s only the fourth time, since the Telstra Ballet Dancer Award was first presented in 2003, that a dancer has won both. The awards were presented to her by Telstra CEO Andy Penn, with Wood literally gasping when her name was called out for the main Award.

Jade Wood learns she has won the Telstra Ballet Dancer Award 2018. Photograph © Lisa Tomasetti

It was a case of third time lucky for Wood who was nominated in 2014 and 2016. Her fellow nominees this year were Nathan Brook, Corey Herbert, Brodie James, Rina Nemoto and Lucien Xu.

Born in Cairns, Queensland, Wood started dancing at age three at her mother’s dance school, the Jillanne Reynolds School of Dance. After moving with her family to Portugal for a year when she was ten, she returned to Cairns and joined The Australian Ballet School’s Interstate Junior Programme, travelling to Melbourne several times a year. In 2004, she relocated to Melbourne to attend The Australian Ballet School. She toured with The Dancers Company in 2009 and 2010, and joined The Australian Ballet in 2011. She was promoted to coryphée in 2015, to soloist in 2017 and to senior artist in 2018.

Wood’s roles with the company have included Giselle and Alice in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. David McAllister, TAB Artistic Director and one of the Telstra Ballet Dancer Award judges, has said that Wood’s determination, tenacity and kindness, on top of her technique, saw her take home the Award this year.