Redlands’ Jake Mangakahia is this year’s People’s Choice Award winner for the 2017 Telstra Ballet Dancer award, receiving a $5000 cash prize.
The announcement was made on stage on December 5 at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre following the opening night performance of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Ukrainian ballet dancer Valerie Tresechenko won the 2017 Telstra Ballet Dancer Award, the most prestigious award in The Australian Ballet.
“It is always wonderful to watch the new crop of Telstra Ballet Dancer award nominees go through this enriching journey. Jake Mangakahia exemplified what it takes to be the people’s choice winner this year, showcasing the loyalty and support of his fans, friends and family to take out this award,” The Australian Ballet’s Artistic Director, David McAllister said.
Mr Mangakahia’s win was decided by an online public vote. This year Telstra and The Australian Ballet produced a series of short films showcasing each of the dancers. The films were designed to help Australians understand the incredible effort and talent required by each of the finalists, and what they go through to perform so beautifully on stage.
Mr Mangakahia joined The Australian Ballet in 2012. In 2014 he took a two-year break to serve as a Christian missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day-Saints. Whilst Jake was away he trained on his own for six hours a day and upon his return to The Australian Ballet he performed a leading role in Nijinsky. Proving his status as a crowd favourite, this is the second time Jake has taken home this award, the first being in his premiere year with the company.
“We were thrilled to see a record number of votes for the People’s Choice Award as a result of our short film series this year and we are incredibly pleased for our winner Jake who captured the attention of many fans during the voting period,” Telstra Group Executive Media and Chief Marketing Officer, Joe Pollard said.