News: National Dance Awards announced

Monday 28 January 2013

Some of the winners of National Dance Awards, at The Place, 28 January, 2013. Photo: John Ross

The Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards for 2012 took place at lunchtime today in London at The Place, in front of an invited audience.

The awards are decided by the 60 members of the Dance Section of the Critics’ Circle after an extensive round of nominations and voting. To be eligible, performances had to take place in the UK between 1st September 2011 and 31st August 2012. Speaking at the event, the Chairman of the Awards committee, Graham Watts conveyed the best wishes of the UK dance critics, award nominees and guests to Bolshoi Ballet director Sergei Filin, recently injured in a reprehensible attack, and dedicated the 2012 awards to the memories of dance writers Charles Hedges, John Percival and Freda Pitt, who have died since the last awards.

And the winners are…

Akram Khan
[Also nominated: Jonathan Goddard (Rambert Dance Company & freelance); Vadim Muntagirov (English National Ballet); Edward Watson (Royal Ballet)]

“Being nominated for not one, but two Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards is very humbling and I feel immensely grateful to have been given the Dancing Times Award for Best Male Dancer. It feels even more special after the scare of my Achilles tendon injury at the beginning of last year, where I thought my dance career may be over. It’s been a battle that I could not have won without the generosity and talent of an army of loyal supporters. It makes me realise how fortunate and privileged I am. The creation of iTMOi this year is my new creative challenge. I look forward to the premiere with my usual mix of fear and excitement.” Akram Khan

Marianela Nuñez (Royal Ballet)
[Also nominated: Begoña Cao (English National Ballet); Eve Mutso (Scottish Ballet); Tamara Rojo (Royal Ballet)]

Royal Ballet Flanders
[Also nominated: Merce Cunningham Dance Company, New Adventures, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch]

Annabelle Lopez Ochoa (A Streetcar Named Desire for Scottish Ballet)
[Also nominated: David Bintley ( Faster for The Birmingham Royal Ballet); Christopher Hampson ( Storyville for Ballet Black); Alastair Marriott & Christopher Wheeldon ( Trespass in Metamorphosis – Titian 2012 bill for The Royal Ballet)]

“I would like to thank the entire creative team at Scottish Ballet and of course the dancers – without them the story would not have been told. For me, the success of A Streetcar Named Desire means that narrative ballet is back. I have always believed that dance has the power to tell a story, and the combination of a theatre director and a choreographer works so well. It means a lot to me that so many people were moved by Streetcar, this will definitely not be my last narrative ballet.” Annabelle Lopez Ochoa

Arthur Pita ( The Metamorphosis)
[Also nominated: Alexander Ekman (Cacti for Nederlands Dans Theater 11); Akram Khan ( Desh for Akram Khan Company); Kate Prince (Some Like It Hip Hop for Zoonation)]

Ksenia Ovsyanick (English National Ballet)
[Also nominated: Yuhui Choe (Royal Ballet), Beatriz Stix-Brunell (Royal Ballet), Jia Zhang (English National Ballet)]

Zdenek Konvalina (English National Ballet)
[Also nominated: Yonah Acosta (English National Ballet), Paul Kay (Royal Ballet), Dawid Trzensimiech (Royal Ballet)]

Teneisha Bonner (Zoonation)
[Also nominated: Azzurra Ardovini (Phoenix Dance Theatre), Wendy Houstoun, Hannah Kidd (Richard Alston Dance Company)]

“To be nominated in this category I thought would definitely mark an awesome achievement in my career, but to WIN has definitely bumped things up a little to one of my top three highlights. Even better I got it for spending more than half my time on stage in drag – that just adds the cherry of achievement on top! Teneisha Bonner

Tommy Franzén (Zoonation & Russell Maliphant Company)
[Also nominated: Dane Hurst (Rambert Dance Company); Christopher Marney (New Adventures); Liam Riddick (Richard Alston Dance Company)]

Ballet Black
[Also nominated: Ballet Cymru, Rosie Kay Dance Company, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance]

The De Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement was given to Robert Cohan. Originally a member of the Martha Graham Company, he became the first Artistic Director of the Contemporary Dance Trust in London in 1967 and was the founder Artistic Director of The Place, London Contemporary Dance School and London Contemporary Dance Theatre – which he directed for the twenty years. Presenting the award, Luke Jennings, dance critic of The Observer described Cohan as
“a founding father of British contemporary dance, an inspiration to countless dancers and choreographers and one of our true heroes”.

“It is amazing to receive an award on a stage that I designed the size of … you don’t have an award for achievement in dance without the help of everybody around you. Everybody you meet and work with, helps you, feeds you, makes you what you are, and you try to live up to that.” Robert Cohan

The Dance UK Industry Award (given in memory of the late Jane Attenborough, founder of Dance UK) went to Jeanette Sidall. Currently a freelance consultant, Jeannette was Director of Dance at Arts Council England and Director of Dance UK. Read more

Photos: John Ross

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