As the curtain fell at the Sydney Opera House’s Joan Sutherland Theatre on Tuesday, the audience could hear loud cheers and laughter coming from the dancers still standing on stage behind the curtain. They sounded so joyful and excited it made you smile as you left the theatre.

It had been a big night. Not only had The Australian Ballet just given the Sydney opening night performance of Anna Kareninaafter seasons in Adelaide in 2021 and in Melbournein February, but the Telstra Ballet Dancer Awards had just been presented.

2022 Telstra Ballet Dancer Awards Anna Karenina

Soloist Rina Nemoto took out the $25,000 Telstra Rising Star Award, in recognition of her exceptional talent outstanding achievements and bright future, while corps de ballet dancer Lilly Maskery was awarded the Telstra People’s Choice Award.

The other nominees were corps de ballet dancers Adam Elmes and Thomas Gannon, and coryphée Lucien Xu.

The awards were presented by Telstra Chief Executive...