News Release

Jake Mangakahia Returns to the Australian Ballet

Ballet fans and friends of Jake Mangakahia are excited about his return to the Australian Ballet.  He is performing in both the Russian and Spanish dances in Swan Lake, currently running at the Melbourne Arts Centre through June 18th. 

Jake is back with the Australian Ballet after a two-year absence while serving a mission in Toronto, Canada for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was a student at the prestigious Australian Ballet School in Melbourne for 11 years, starting at age 9 before becoming a member of the corps de ballet (first professional level) when he was 20. During this time he won a number of accolades and was given the Telstra People’s Choice Award in 2012.

After dancing with the Ballet for two years, Jake took a leave of absence to serve his mission, which he returned from in November 2015. Immediately resuming his rigorous training, he successfully auditioned for readmission to the Ballet corps last January. He made his return “debut” on opening night of Swan Lake at the Sydney Opera House on 1 April. 

Jake will be traveling to London with the Australian Ballet 9th to 23rd July, where they will perform Swan Lake and Cinderella at the Coliseum Theatre, home of the English National Ballet.

Fiona Tonkin, Ballet Mistress of the Australian Ballet,said this about Jake’s return: “Before Jake left on his two-year mission he was a very valued member of the Australian Ballet. Such a break in dancer’s career can be difficult to overcome, but as we expected, Jake has dedicated himself to the task with great determination, a more worldly maturity, and as always, much enthusiasm.”

Jake returned the compliment by saying, “I’ve come back and people say, ‘It’s like you’ve never left.’ Obviously things have changed. Some parts of the company have changed, but on the whole I feel like I’m coming back home to the ballet family--people that I’ve really gotten to know and gained friendships with. To reunite is a real joy."

He added, "I feel that the experiences I had on my mission have made me a better artist, and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to share my artistic and spiritual side in my dancing again," Jake said.

Swan Lake is one of the world’s favourite ballets and it is undoubtedly the Australian Ballet’s most-loved production. For more information go here

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