WHAT would you do if you were suddenly awarded $20,000?It’s a question facing Queanbeyan-raised dancer, Dimity Azoury, one of six nominees for the Australian Ballet’s highest honour – the $20,000 Telstra Ballet Dancer Award – announced last Friday at the Telstra’s “Ballet in the Bowl” in Melbourne.
Azoury now has some months to wait until the final announcement of the winner in November, but has no hesitation in telling “CityNews” how she’d use the prize – “I’d pay a bit off the mortgage on our little cottage in North Melbourne,” she says.
And it doesn’t mean that the ambitious “coryphée” dancer at the flagship ballet company isn’t serious about the personal development of her art. On the contrary, she explains, the Australian Ballet provides ample scholarships in support to dancers, but the Telstra award is usually seen as something to help with their personal lives.
Characteristically, there is an element of sacrifice as she combines a busy career with a new role as a wife. Last July she married fellow dancer, Rudy Hawkes and, as they were much too busy to take time off during the working year, they’ve only recently returned from a romantic honeymoon in NZ’s North Island, where they rode around on a tandem bike made especially for them as a wedding present.
“It’s very nice to have the support he gives me,” she says of her husband, a senior dancer in the company, who travels everywhere with her as they perform.
And they’re not alone. Wherever they travel, they are accompanied by their “big boy” Scottish deerhound Gunther. “He’s a good big dog, Azoury says with affection.
It’s not the first time she’s been nominated for the award; she was also on the shortlist in 2012.In terms of her career, it would make sense to be a winner this time round. As she says, she is “not one of the young ones now,” and at 27 she is heading into her dancing maturity.
“The Australian Ballet has whole team of people that keep us dancing that teach injury prevention techniques like Pilates,” she explains, added to which, she personally does a lot of mountain biking to keep fit.
Right now Azoury is preparing to perform in the full-length work, “Manon”.
2014 is likely to be an exciting year as the company will tour to San Francisco in September with Marius Petipa’s “La Bayadère”, particularly famous for its “Kingdom of the Shades” white ballet section, which they have been learning fast.
After that, it’s backed home – perhaps a quick trip to her home town Queanbeyan, which she loves visiting – to wait for the announcement that may just see a bit of that mortgage paid off.