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National Dance Awards for 2014

Posted on January 26, 2015

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nda logoNatalia Osipova and Jonathan Goddard became the first dancers to pick up two awards in the same ceremony at the 2014 National Dance Awards.

Held at The Place on January 26, 2015, and presented by Arlene Phillips, the awards were dominated by big names and repeat winners. Osipova won the Grishko Best Female Dancer award for a record-breaking fourth time, along with the Outstanding Female Performance (classical) award for her performance in Giselle with The Royal Ballet. Apologising for her lack of English, Osipova called Giselle “a very special role”, and thanked her partner, her coach and The Royal Ballet.

Goddard won the Dancing Times Best Male Dancer award for the second time, and the Outstanding Male Performance (modern) award for his performance in the title role of Dracula with the Mark Bruce Company. He thanked the critics, explaining that he eagerly read reviews, which “complete the circle” of creation, performance and reception. Mark Bruce Company went on to win the award for Best Independent Company.

Choreographer and dancer Akram Khan’s award for Best Modern Choreography for Dust, created for English National Ballet, was his sixth National Dance Award: in previous years, he was won two other choreography awards and three as a performer. Once again, he wasn’t there to collect his award: Tamara Rojo, English National Ballet’s director, read Khan’s thanks to his creative team, and spoke enthusiastically of the excitement she and her company had felt in working with him.

Christopher Wheeldon became the first person to win five awards in the same category, Best Classical Choreography, winning this time for The Winter’s Tale for The Royal Ballet, becoming the first person to win six awards in total. Wheeldon is currently in New York with his production of An American in Paris – reviewed in our forthcoming February issue – so The Royal Ballet’s director Kevin O’Hare collected the award for him, praising Wheeldon for creating a new narrative ballet for today’s dancers.

Xander Parish won Outstanding Male Performance (classical) for the title role of Apollo with the Maryinsky Ballet. He thanked Lilian Hochhauser for bringing the company to London – giving the British-born Parish a chance to dance in his home country.

Outstanding Female Performance (modern) went to Wendy Houstoun for her solo work Pact with Pointlessness. Houstoun said that her award was  “really for Nigel Charnock”, the radical dancer and choreographer, who died in 2012, and who had inspired her work. (The clip shown at the ceremony showed Houstoun scattering dust, which, she said, represented Charnock’s ashes but was actually cat litter.)

The Jane Attenborough Dance UK Industry Award was given to Frank Doran MP, secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Dance. This was, Dance UK’s Caroline Miller pointed out, the first time the award has gone to a politician. Frank Doran, who retires from Parliament this year, joked that Caroline had given him no hints, so the audience wouldn’t be subjected to “a politician’s speech”.

The Grishko Award for Emerging Artist went to Francesca Hayward of The Royal Ballet, while the Stef Stefanou Award for Outstanding Company went to English National Ballet.

The De Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement went to Carlos Acosta, and was presented by Darcey Bussell. Acosta thanked three Royal Ballet directors: Anthony Dowell, who had brought him to the company, Monica Mason, who had persuaded him to stay, and Kevin O’Hare, who recently gave him the opportunity to choreograph his own production of Don Quixote. He also thanked Alistair Spalding, artistic director and chief executive officer of Sadler’s Wells, and the UK as a country. “I came here, a Cuban guy,” he said, “and was given all these opportunities.”



Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards Winners 2014

OUTSTANDING MALE PERFORMANCE (MODERN) – Jonathan Goddard in the title role as Dracula for Mark Bruce Company

OUTSTANDING FEMALE PERFORMANCE (CLASSICAL), sponsored by Lee McLernon – Natalia Osipova in the title role as Giselle for The Royal Ballet

BEST MODERN CHOREOGRAPHY, sponsored by Stef Stefanou – Akram Khan for Dust by English National Ballet

OUTSTANDING MALE PERFORMANCE (CLASSICAL), sponsored by The Office for Architectural Culture – Xander Parish in the title role as Apollo for the Maryinsky Ballet

OUTSTANDING FEMALE PERFORMANCE (MODERN) – Wendy Houstoun for Pact with Pointlessness

BEST CLASSICAL CHOREOGRAPHY, sponsored by The Ballet Association – Christopher Wheeldon for The Winter’s Tale by The Royal Ballet

JANE ATTENBOROUGH DANCE UK INDUSTRY AWARD – Frank Doran MP, Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Dance





GRISHKO AWARD FOR BEST FEMALE DANCER, given in memory of Richard Sherrington – Natalia Osipova




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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