Ako Kondo, Benjamin Hancock, Bangarra Dance Theatre and Lucy Guerin win major awards.

Ako Kondo and Benjamin Hancock have taken home the top performance awards at this year’s Australian Dance Awards, presented in Melbourne last night.

Kondo, who is a Principal Artist with The Australian Ballet, won Outstanding Performance by a Female Dancer for her starring role in Coppélia, in recognition of her “world-class and captivating performance… technical prowess and virtuosity, and her commanding presence”. Reviewing a CinemaLive screening of the production, Limelight praised her “stunning technique”, “sparky energy” and charm.

Ako Kondo in Coppélia for The Australian Ballet. Photograph © Daniel Boud

Hancock, who is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts, was awarded Outstanding Performance by a Male Dancer for his work in The Dark Chorus by Lucy Guerin Inc., also reviewed by Limelight.

Lucy Guerin was honoured for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography for The Dark Chorus, while Bangarra Dance Theatre picked up the award for Outstanding Performance by a Company for OUR Land People Stories – both companies winning those categories for the second year running. Read the Limelight review of OUR Land People Stories here.

The Dark Chorus for Lucy Guerin Inc. Photograph © Gregory Lorenzutti

The Australian Dance Awards were established in 1997 by Ausdance. Presented annually, they recognise and honour professional Australian dance artists who have made an outstanding contribution to Australian dance.

Costume designer Jennifer Irwin was recognised for Services to Dance, while Kim Walker, the Director of the Flying Fruit Fly Circus and Chief Executive Officer of NAISDA, was honoured for his Services to Dance Eduction in regonition of his innovative leadership preparing our next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.

Dancer, actor, choreographer, activist and writer Noel C Tovey AM was inducted into the Hall of Fame, while the Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Helen Herbertson for her multi-faceted career as a performer, choreographer, director, collaborator, producer, teacher, performance coach, arts adviser and academic.


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