Australian Ballet soloist and Ipswich-born dancer Rudy Hawkes dances The Nutcracker. He now has a lead role in Madame Butterfly.
Australian Ballet soloist and Ipswich-born dancer Rudy Hawkes dances The Nutcracker. He now has a lead role in Madame Butterfly. Jess Busby

Lead role challenges Ipswich dancer

IPSWICH dance fans can now easily follow the daily routine of Australian Ballet soloist Rudy Hawkes.

As one of six nominees for this year’s national Telstra Ballet Dancer Award, the Ipswich-born performer is obliged to “tweet” about rehearsals, performances and backstage news during the company’s production of Madame Butterfly.

“We open in a week and a half,” Mr Hawkes said from Melbourne yesterday.

“I play the role of Pinkerton, the main male lead.

“It’s probably the most challenging role I’ve done.”

The Telstra Ballet Dancer Award winner pockets a $20,000 cash prize, while the accompanying People’s Choice Award has a $5000 prize and is decided by public vote.

Aknee injury put Mr Hawkes out of contention for the prize when he was first nominated in 2007.

He was accepted into the Australian Ballet School in 2002.

“I was born in Ipswich, grew up at Peak Crossing and moved to Eastern Heights when I was 10 or 11,” he said.

“My dance teacher Shayne White imbedded that fun and love of dancing.”

Shayne’s daughter Eldene White, from Shayne McCormick Ballet Centre where Mr Hawkes learned dance from the age of seven, said he was a dedicated dancer.

“He had a love and passion for it,” she said. “Rudy was a fairly hard worker.”

Mr Hawkes’ ambition, at 26, is to continue dancing lead roles.

Nominees for the Telstra Ballet Dancer Award are judged on their performances throughout the year, ongoing development of their skills and their support of fellow dancers.

Telstra spokesperson Deena Shiff said the dancers had been selected for their exceptional talent both on and off the stage.

“(They) will be the ones to keep a close eye on during the 2011 season.”

To cast a vote for the award, SMS the nominee’s first name to 0439 BALLET (0439 225 538).



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