Jarryd Madden and Dimity Azoury continue their rise through to the ranks of the Australian Ballet with a new promotion from soloist to senior artist.

Jarryd Madden dancing with Leanne Stojmenov in Nutcracker – The Story of Clara. Photograph © Daniel Boud

They are currently performing in the Australian Ballet’s 25th anniversary production of Graeme Murphy’s Nutcracker – The Story of Clara playing at the Sydney Opera House. (Read Limelight’s four-star review here.) On opening night, Madden made his mark in the production as the Nutcracker Prince, dancing a stunning Act II pas de deux with Leanne Stojmenov as Clara, while Azoury appeared as one of Clara’s friends. They also take on the lead roles of Clara and her soldier lover at certain performances. Their promotion came after they co-starred at last Saturday’s matinee. They are scheduled to dance the lead roles again tonight and on May 11 and May 15 (unless the dancers are on strike).

Both dancers joined the AB in 2008 and became soloists in 2015. Azoury won the Telstra Ballet Dancer Award in 2014, having also been a nominee in 2012. Madden won the Telstra Ballet Dancer People’s Choice Award in 2016, having also been a 2012 nominee.

Speaking to Limelight, AB Artistic Director David McAllister said: “I’m so excited about these promotions. Both Dimity and Jarryd have had a year of fantastic work making debuts in Coppélia in 2016 alongside other standout performances – Dimity as the Baroness in our London season of Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake and Jarryd as the Golden Slave in John Neumeier’s Nijinsky.”

“Their performances in this season of Graeme Murphy’s Nutcracker – The Story of Clara have been beautifully crafted artistically and technically and I believe both are in the perfect place in their careers to take on the exciting challenges and responsibilities of a Senior Artist. Both dancers have recently received recognition during Telstra Ballet Dancer of the Year Awards and this is testament to their popularity amongst their peers and our audiences. I look forward to another year of wonderful performances from these two fantastic artists.”

Asked by Limelight about their promotion, Deborah Jones, the national dance critic for The Australian, says: “There’s not the slightest doubt about these two. Anyone who saw Madden as the Faun in Nijinsky would have been struck by the extraordinary beauty of his dancing. He also has a very distinctive stage personality that adds another colour to the palette. There’s something a little mysterious about him – a deeply attractive inner force that means your eye is inexorably drawn to him.”

“Azoury’s dramatic gifts were seen in two career-making roles in 2015, the complex Baroness in Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake, after which she was promoted from coryphée to soloist, and Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis, in Maina Gielgud’s production of Giselle. She was an absolutely ferocious and sensationally high-flying Myrtha. Her elevation is something else and she’s particularly noted for her jump, which is exciting, but Azoury can also counter expectations with a softer, more lyrical quality.”