Ako Kondo rises to the top of the Australian Ballet

The Australian Ballet has a new principal dancer.

Following her performance this evening (14 April) as Giselle, Ako Kondo was promoted to the highest rank, becoming the fifth female principal in the company, joining Madeleine Eastoe (soon to retire) Lana Jones, Amber Scott and Leanne Stojmenov.

Kondo joined the company five years ago and was promoted to senior artist, one rank below principal, last year.

This year she was cast in two major roles, not only as Giselle, but also as the Baroness in Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake.

Her performance in Paquita, two years ago, was outstanding and indicated that she had both the artistry and technique to become a principal artist.

Her life partner is Chengwu Guo, an Australian Ballet principal, who partnered her onstage as Albrecht this month in Sydney.

Kondo, born in Nagoya, Japan, in 1991, began to dance, aged 3, at the Shiho Kanazawa Ballet Studio.

In 2006, she studied at the Royal Ballet School’s International Summer School and a year later was awarded the Australian Ballet School’s Tuition Scholarship.

There’s a generational change happening at the Australian Ballet and it seems that Kondo’s promotion is likely to be the first of a number of promotions in the year to come.

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Ako Kondo, Paquita, the Australian Ballet, 2013, photo © Jeff Busby

Ako Kondo, the Australian Ballet, photo © Justin Ridler

Ako Kondo in Bodytorque, the Australian Ballet, photo © Paul Scala

Ako Kondo, promoted to principal after the Australian Ballet’s Giselle