News: National Dance Awards 2008

Monday 26 January 2009

The Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards, hosted by Balletboyz Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt, took place at Sadler’s Wells today. They are the only professional awards in the UK dedicated specifically to dance and were set up in 2000 to highlight the range and diversity of dance in this country.

Choreographer Richard Alston was the recipient of the De Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance. Accepting the award he paid tribute to dance ‘critics’ who because they care so much about dance, often supply a ‘marvellous support system’ for the development of the art form.

Martin Harvey won the Spotlight Award for best classical male dancer. He has recently left the Royal Ballet to take the lead part in the long running West End show Dirty Dancing. The Dancing Times Award for Best Male Dancer went to Edward Watson for his work with the Royal Ballet. Accepting the award he thanked Royal Ballet Director Monica Mason for giving him such a range of roles, in particular in work by Wayne McGregor and Kenneth MacMillan – and for allowing him to dance in Christopher Wheeldon’s company Morphoses and with the Balletboyz.

Agnes Oaks received the Richard Sherrington Award for Best Female Dancer. She has announced that she will retire from dance this summer and a gala at Sadler’s Wells on 30 January celebrates her dancing partnership with husband Thomas Edur. English National Ballet, home for so long to Oaks and Edur also picked up the Dance Europe Award for Outstanding Company.

Hofesh Shechter scooped the award for Best Modern Choreography for In Your Rooms. He’s currently working on a new version which he describes as “more of a concert than a straight dance piece”, which can be seen at the Roundhouse next month (27 & 28 Feb 09).

The Patron of the National Dance Awards, Dame Beryl Grey was missing from this year’s ceremony due to ill health. The Patrons Award, which is solely in her gift was presented by Angela Rippon to Northern Ballet Theatre.

The Working Title Billy Elliot award went to 13 year old Michael Guihot-Jouffray, a rising star on the tap and ballet scene. His award was presented to him by last year’s winner, Brandon Lawrence, who is now a pupil at the Royal Ballet Upper School.

The Spotlight Award for Modern Female Dancer went to Kate Coyne for her work with the Michael Clark Company and others; and the Spotlight Award for Modern Male Dancer went to the Anh Ngoc Nguyen for his work with Wayne McGregor | Random Dance.

The Dance UK Industry Award went to Janet Smith, Artistic Director of Scottish Dance Theatre since 1997. Before that she was the Artistic Director of her own company Janet Smith and Dancers, which toured nationally and internationally for over 12 years.

Full list of winners:

De Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance

Richard Alston – Artistic Director, Richard Alston Dance Company

Dancing Times Award for Best Male Dancer
Edward Watson (Royal Ballet and also with Morphoses and the Balletboyz)

Also nominated: Denis Matvienko (Mikhailovsky Ballet) & Friedemann Vogel (Stuttgart Ballet)

Richard Sherrington Award for Best Female Dancer

Agnes Oaks – English National Ballet.

Also nominated: Sarah Lamb (Royal Ballet) and Wendy Whelan (New York City Ballet)

Dance Europe Award for Outstanding Company

English National Ballet

Also nominated: Guangdong Acrobatic Troupe and Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures

Best Classical Choreography

Christopher Wheeldon for Electric Counterpoint – Royal Ballet

Also nominated: Wayne Eagling for Resolution (English National Ballet) and Liam Scarlett for Of Mozart (Royal Ballet)

Best Modern Choreography

Hofesh Shechter for in your rooms

Also nominated: Akram Khan (bahok) and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (Sutra)

Patron’s Award

Northern Ballet Theatre

Artsworld Presentations Award for Best Foreign Dance Company

New York City Ballet

Also nominated: Mikhailovsky Ballet and National Ballet of China

Spotlight Award: Classical Male

Martin Harvey – Royal Ballet

Also nominated: Esteban Berlanga (English National Ballet) and Eric Underwood (Royal Ballet).

Spotlight Award: Classical Female

Yuhui Choe – Royal Ballet

Also nominated: Laura Bruña Rubio (English National Ballet) and Begoña Cao (English National Ballet).

Spotlight Award: Modern Male

Anh Ngoc Nguyen – Wayne McGregor | Random Dance

Also nominated: Aaron Sillis (Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures) and Alexander Whitley (Rambert Dance Company)

Spotlight Award: Modern Female

Kate Coyne – Michael Clark Company and freelance

Also nominated: Ana Luján Sánchez (Phoenix Dance Theatre) and Malgorzata Dzierzon (Rambert Dance Company)

Working Title Billy Elliot Award

Michael Guihot-Jouffray

Dance UK Industry Award

Janet Smith – Scottish Dance Theatre

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