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National Dance Awards: the winners

Posted on February 19, 2018

The winners of the National Dance Awards (NDAs), chosen by the dance section of the Critics’ Circle, were announced at a ceremony at London’s Barbican Centre on February 19, 2018.

There were plenty of firsts in this year’s awards. Liam Riddick, of Richard Alston Dance Company, won his first Dancing Times award for best male dancers – having been nominated a record six times in previous years. Lez Brotherston won the de Valois award for outstanding achievement – the first designer to win a National Dance Award.

Musical theatre productions also triumphed, for the first time in the history of these awards. The Stef Stefanou award for outstanding company went to 42nd Street – the first musical theatre ensemble to win. Robert Fairchild, the former New York City Ballet principal, won the outstanding male performance (modern) for his role as Jerry Mulligan in An American in Paris.

Akram Khan’s seventh National Dance Award was in an entirely new category: his Giselle for English National Ballet won the category for best classical choreography. He has now won more than any other artist, from emerging artist in 2000 to outstanding male performance (modern), Dancing Times award for best male dancer and three awards for best modern choreography. Alina Cojocaru won the award for outstanding female performance (classical) for her performance in Khan’s Giselle.

Michael Keegan-Dolan won the award for best modern choreography for Swan Lake/Loch na hEala with Teac Damsa. Headspace Dance won the award for best independent company.

Zenaida Yanowsky won the Grishko award for best female dancer, her third win after best female dancer in 2003 and outstanding female performance (classical) in 2016.

Marcelino Sambé won the Dance Europe award for outstanding male performance (classical) for his performance as Colas in The Royal Ballet’s La Fille mal gardée. Ashley Shaw won outstanding female performance (modern) for her performances as Vicky Page in Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes for New Adventures.

Harry Alexander, of Michael Clark Company and Julie Cunningham & Company, won the emerging artist award.

Headspace Dance won the Dansez award for best independent company.

Mary Brennan became the first critic to win the Jane Attenborough One Dance UK Industry Award. She is the third critic to win a National Dance Award; in past years, Ivor Guest and Jann Parry received the de Valois award for outstanding achievement.

Graham Watts, the chairman of the awards committee, said: “There was a superb array of nominations for dancers, choreographers and companies from all over the world and every award was very closely contested in the voting. It was excellent to have a composer nominated for the first time [Vincenzo Lamagna, composer for Akram Khan’s Giselle] and a wonderful tribute to recognise the outstanding achievements of Lez Brotherston in the richness of his designs over so many years. It is also timely to recognise musical theatre with two awards when the quality of dance in musicals has been so high. I am also personally delighted to see a contemporary dancer win the emerging artist award.”

The dance section thanked the sponsors for the 2017 National Dance Awards: Grishko, Stef Stefanou, Dancing Times, Dance Europe, Dansez, The Ballet Association, Northern Ballet, The L&M Trust, DWFM Beckman, Lee McLernon, One Dance UK, The Critics’ Circle and The Construction Industry Council.

Winners

Lez Brotherston – de Valois award for outstanding achievement

Liam Riddick – Dancing Times award for best male dancer

Zenaida Yanowsky – Grishko award for best female dancer

42nd Street – Stef Stefanou award for outstanding company

Headspace Dance – Dansez award for best independent company

Akram Khan – best classical choreography for Akram Khan’s Giselle

Michael Keegan Dolan – best modern choreography for Swan Lake/Loch na hEala

Harry Alexander – emerging artist award

Alina Cojocaru – outstanding female performance (classical) for Giselle in Akram Khan’s Giselle with English National Ballet

Marcelino Sambé – Dance Europe award for outstanding male performance (classical) for Colas in La Fille mal gardée with The Royal Ballet

Ashley Shaw – outstanding female performance (modern) for Vicky Page in The Red Shoes with New Adventures

Robert Fairchild – outstanding male performance (modern) for Jerry Mulligan in An American in Paris

Mary Brennan – Jane Attenborough One Dance UK Industry Award

Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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