Posted on May 20, 2014
English National Ballet [ENB] held its fifth Emerging Dancer Award at London’s Lyceum Theatre on Monday, May 19.
For the first time, the award had a joint winner, with Junor Souza and Alison McWhinney (pictured) sharing the title. The pair had shown style and sophistication dancing the pas de deux from Esmeralda together. In the solo section of the competition, McWhinney danced a speedy excerpt from David Dawson’s A Million Kisses to my Skin, while Souza danced Last Minute, a solo he had created for himself. Souza also won this year’s People’s Choice award, based on votes by ENB’s UK audiences, cast between October 2013 and April 2014.
The other nominees were Vitor Menezes, Senri Kou, Madison Keesler and Joan Sebastian Zamora. The judges for this year’s award were Deborah Bull, Clement Crisp, Gillian Lynne, Arlene Phillips, English National Ballet’s artistic director Tamara Rojo and Wayne Sleep. The event was hosted by Natasha Kaplinsky, an ENB board member who also won the first series of Strictly Come Dancing. The competition is sponsored by restructuring experts Talbot Hughes McKillop.
The awards ceremony also included a performance by last year’s winner, Nancy Osbaldeston, who danced Syke, a solo she created for herself. Osbaldeston will leave ENB for Royal Ballet Flanders next season, joining the Flanders company at the rank of demi-soloist. Laurretta Summerscales, last year’s People’s Choice winner, danced the “bedroom” pas de deux from Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon with James Forbat.
Picture: Junor Souza and Alison McWhinney after the award presentation. Photograph: ASH