The Australian Ballet has announced a new initiative dedicated to nurturing talented, emerging choreographers – and not just dance makers working in ballet but in all genres of dance.

The Telstra Emerging Choreographer (TEC) award offers aspiring choreographers the chance to create a new work, which will be performed as part of The Australian Ballet’s 2022 Bodytorque program. The winner will also receive a cash prize of $10,000.

Telstra Emerging Choreographer

David Hallberg, Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, with Callum Linnane and Imogen Chapman. Photograph © Nicole Cleary

The new initiative is supported by Telstra, which has been The Australian Ballet’s Principal Partner for 37 years. For close to two decades, Telstra has supported the Telstra Ballet Dancer Awards, which were created in 2003 to foster young dancers in The Australian Ballet. Now Telstra is lending its support to help inspire the next generation of Australian choreographers.

The theme for this year’s TEC award is the “joy of dance”. Applicants will be asked to provide a short written submission and video submission about what they would like to create if they were chosen as a finalist.

Four finalists will then be given a budget of up to $2,500 to create a work of four to six minutes. These pieces will be reviewed by TAB Artistic Director David Hallberg and a panel of guest judges. The winner – who will be announced in October – will have the opportunity to work with TAB’s artistic team and dancers to create a new work for the 2022 Bodytorque program.

“This initiative is a major milestone in my first year as Artistic Director. Working with our partner Telstra to create a platform that encourages Australian choreographic creativity is incredibly important and something I’ve personally championed throughout my career,” said Hallberg, who studied tap dancing as a child before moving to ballet.

“Adding this element to the Bodytorque program will mean that we’re creating more accessibility to all dance creators, utilising the foundation and resources we have here at The Australian Ballet to create greater opportunity, helping to make a career in choreography more of a reality for the young Australian creators of today.”

Telstra Principal, Media, Sponsorship & Awards, Genelle Sharples, said: “At Telstra we are extremely proud to build on our support of emerging talent and nurture young artists. The Telstra Emerging Choreographer is an exciting addition to our long-standing partnership with The Australian Ballet which is all about empowering possibilities so up and coming talent can thrive. We can’t wait to see the creative output of young artists from across Australia.”


Applications for the Telstra Emerging Choreographer (TEC) award are open until 13 July, 2021. More information 

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