McDonald’s Ballet Scholarship winners 2014

The outright winner of the scholarship this year is Kayla-Maria Tarantolo who trains at the McDonald College, Sydney, where her teachers are Josephine Jason and Jane Kesby.

I wasn’t able to attend the finals this year, held on 3 August at the Sydney Opera House, so I can’t comment on her performance but her flexibility and confidence are clear in video clips of her dancing when aged only 13, she was a student at the now defunct RG Dance Studio in Sydney.

Kayla-Maria, now almost 16, will soon continue her training at the Dutch National Ballet Academy.

Daniel Russell, 17, who won the second scholarship, played the role of Billy Elliot in the musical in Melbourne and again in the touring company of the production in the United States in 2010/11.

He is in the pre-professional training program at the Sydney Dance Company where his teacher is Linda Gamblin.

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Kayla-Maree Tarantolo, photo © WinkiPop Media

Kayla-Maree Tarantolo, photo © WinkiPop Media

Daniel Russell, photo © Daniel Russell, photo ©  WinkiPop Media

Daniel Russell, photo © Daniel Russell, photo © WinkiPop Media