Chengwu Guo named a principal artist

Chengwu Guo of The Australian BalletIn late November, one of The Australian Ballet’s most exciting young stars, Chengwu Guo, was promoted to the company’s highest rank of principal artist. Artistic Director David McAllister made the surprise announcement onstage during the curtain call of the closing performance of the La Sylphide season at the Sydney Opera House. Guo’s proud parents were secretly flown in from Melbourne to experience this milestone moment in their son’s ballet career.


McAllister said Guo was a dancer to watch from the instant he joined the company in 2008.


“Chengwu has had a remarkable rise to the top of the company in just five short years. He has stage charisma in spades, an almost pyrotechnic technique that lights up any role he takes on, and can match any dancer in the world for showmanship and dazzling moves,” McAllister said.
”This is the perfect time for Chengwu to join our wonderful group of principal artists. I’m sure his dancing will continue to excite audiences as much it does all of us who work with him every day.”


At age 24, Guo is now the youngest of 11 principal artists at The Australian Ballet. This was his second promotion in 2013, having been appointed a senior artist in April.


Guo has found success at every turn since leaving the Jiangxi province of southern China at age 11 to begin ballet training at Beijing Dance Academy. He won the prestigious Prix de Lausanne in 2006; his prize was a dance-training scholarship, which he chose to undertake at The Australian Ballet School.


In 2009, Guo won the Chinese version of So You Think You Can Dance in front of a TV audience of 80 million. That same year he appeared as the teenage Li Cunxin in the smash-hit film Mao’s Last Dancer.


In 2011, Guo made history when he was the first male dancer to win both the Telstra Ballet Dancer Award and its public-voted equivalent, the Telstra People’s Choice. He is a dancer known for his astounding technical ability, with audiences regularly breaking into cheers and applause at the sight of his spectacular leaps and speed-of-light pirouettes.


His breakthrough role came in 2009 as Kostchei in Graeme Murphy’s Firebird. Since then, his fanbase has grown through electrifying performances as Basilio in Rudolf Nureyev’s Don Quixote and Mercutio in Graeme Murphy’s  Romeo & Juliet.


Those keen to see Guo in action can do so during the company’s 2014 season. Tickets and casting details are available through


Photo: Chengwu Guo in Don Quixote. Photo by Lisa Tomasetti, courtesy of The Australian Ballet.