News: New Adventures Choreographer Awards 2014 announced

Wednesday 11 September 2013 by Carmel Smith

Matthew Bourne with John Ross

Nearly one hundred choreographers applied for the 2014 New Adventures Award (NACA) and yesterday Matthew Bourne announced not one, but three winners – John Ross, Sally Marie and Caroline Finn.

“When these awards were created three years ago, I was adamant that we used the word “choreographer”, rather than “choreography” as it was the artists, rather than the work that I wanted to support,” he said. “ I am delighted to be able to announce today the three winners for the 2014 New Adventures Choreographer Award. John, Sally and Caroline unanimously impressed the panel of judges, and we are thrilled and proud to have been able to support all of them in the next steps of their choreographic careers.”

NACA was originally established by colleagues and friends in celebration of Matthew Bourne’s 50th birthday in 2010 and the first recipient of the award was James Cousins (who has now formed his own company and received commissions from Scottish Ballet, amongst others) – with runner up Tom Jackson Greaves also benefitting from the fund.

John Ross receives the Showcase Award and will be offered 12 months of mentoring and support and develop new work to be presented by New Adventures, at his own showcase performance, at a high profile London venue in the Autumn of 2014. Ross initially trained as an actor before training as a dancer at the Scottish School for Contemporary Dance and at The Place, graduating with 1st Class Honours in 2011. Since then he has created a number of short works (including Man Down, described by Donald Hutera in his review for as a ‘powerfully pacifist solo’), including choreographing a musical, Epidemic for Old Vic New Voices.

Munich-based British Dancer/Choreographer Caroline Finn receives the Commissioning Award. She trained in Dance at the Arts Educational School, Tring and at the Julliard School, New York and has worked as a freelance dancer since 2009 for companies such as Ballett Teater München in Germany and Ballet Preljocaj in France. She is currently a member of Tanztendenz München. Finn is keen to develop her choreographic language and establish a choreographic career in the UK and will start by creating a new work for Leeds based company, Phoenix Dance Theatre to appear in the company’s 2015 triple-bill for a UK tour.

Sally Marie is well known to London audiences as a performer with Protein Dance, amongst others – and with her own company Sweetshop Revolution, which she started in 2012 to start to develop her own choreography. Since 2008, she has been twice voted Best Female performer by Dance Europe and twice nominated as Best Female Performer, as well as a Spotlight award for new talent at the National Dance Awards. Sally receives a Special Award to give her the resources to appoint a freelance producer to work with her company to develop, promote and programme her work over a twelve month period.

The three winners emerged from a shortlist of six, and were chosen after a weekend of interviews with Matthew Bourne, Scott Ambler (Associate Artist, New Adventures), Lez Brotherston (Designer and Associate Artist, New Adventures), Nina Goldman (Principal Dancer, New Adventures), Christopher Hampson (Artistic Director, Scottish Ballet), Etta Murfitt (Associate Artist, New Adventures), Emma Rice (Artistic Director, Kneehigh Theatre Company), Sharon Watson (Artistic Director, Phoenix Dance Theatre) and Edward Watson (Principal Dancer, Royal Ballet).

The bi-annual NACA award is run by the charitable arm of New Adventures, Re:Bourne who provide mentoring, support on budgeting, management, contracting and fundraising. Over £40,000 will be shared by the winners.

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