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Hunter ballet dancers competing against Australia’s best

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Two Hunter dancers are vying for prestige, and $32,000, after reaching the final of the 2022 Sydney Eisteddfod Ballet Scholarship.  

Gillieston Heights’ Joseph Dufty and Fletcher’s Chelsea Potter, studying at the National College of Dance and Newcastle Dance Academy respectively, will line up against another six rivals at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall on Sunday 28 August.

The duo faces Amelia Soh (Neutral Bay), Noah Cosgriff (Highett, Victoria), LilySophia Dashwood (Hampton, Victoria), Emily Sprout (McDowall, Queensland), Tahlia Kirke (Mudgeeraba, Queensland) and Ben Moss (St Ives) for the most valuable award in the southern hemisphere.

A further two locals, Newcastle’s Sylas Grimsley and Charlestown’s Isabella Crebert, were named as reserve finalists.

Branxton’s Ella Schindler also booked a berth in the semis.

After two years of cancelled events, the Sydney Eisteddfod Ballet Scholarship returned in 2022, with almost 200 entrants – aged 16 to 20 – eager to compete.

From that total, eight of the most promising young Australian ballet dancers were selected to contest this month’s decider.

“The prestigious scholarship has been shooting stars into leading companies worldwide for decades, among them Leanne Stojmenov and Adam Bull from The Australian Ballet and Steven McRae and Alexander Campbell from The Royal Ballet,” a spokesperson said.

“It is a life-changing opportunity for the finalists, who displayed impeccable talent and superior technique, to perform in front of a renowned expert panel of adjudicators representing four states across Australia.

“However, it would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors The Estate of the Late Leslie Andrews, Sydney Eisteddfod Jubilee Fund, Bloch for Dancers and The Australian Conservatoire of Ballet.”

The entrants undertook the demanding process of competing in the heats, quarter-final and a closed semi-final masterclass over a few days.

Accomplished adjudicators Christian Tátchev (Queensland Ballet director) and Lisa Pavane (The Australian Ballet School director) then selected the eight finalists.

For the final, Queensland Ballet artistic director Li Cunxin AO and West Australian Ballet artistic director Aurélien Scannella will join the adjudication panel, along with well-known ABC News reporter Nicole Chettle, the event’s host.

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