Posted on January 25, 2016
Sylvie Guillem, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures and Crystal Pite were among the winners at the 16th Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards (NDA), presented at a ceremony held at The Place, London.
Unusually, the judging panel awarded two De Valois awards for outstanding achievement, recognising ballerina Sylvie Guillem, who brought her 30-year career in dance to an end with the international Life in Progress tour, and Caroline Miller, chief executive of Dance UK, who has campaigned to give dance a political voice over the past ten years. Miller’s award was presented to her by Tamara Rojo, artistic director of English National Ballet.
The Dancing Times award for best male dancer went to Vadim Muntagirov of The Royal Ballet. Presenting the award, Dancing Times editor Jonathan Gray dedicated it to critics Mary Clarke and Kathrine Sorley Walker, who both died last year. Both women had long and influential careers in British dance criticism and at Dancing Times, where Mary Clarke was editor from 1963 to 2008.
There were several first-time winners. Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite won the award for best modern choreography for her monumental work Polaris, part of Sadler’s Wells’ evening of dance to music by Thomas Adès. Matthew Bourne’s company, New Adventures, won the Stef Stefanou award for outstanding company for the first time, with Zizi Strallen winning outstanding female performance (modern) for her portrayal of Lana in Bourne’s The Car Man. This year’s best independent company went to Rosie Kay Dance Company. Kay was also nominated for best modern choreography for her work 5 Soldiers.
The Royal Ballet had a record year, with wins in choreography and performance categories. Wayne McGregor won the award for best classical choreography for Woolf Works, his evening-length work for The Royal Ballet. The star of Woolf Works, Alessandra Ferri, won the Grishko award for best female dancer – the first dancer over the age of 50 to do so. Alongside Muntagirov’s win, there were also awards for Laura Morera, who won outstanding female performance (classical) for her marvellous Lise in La Fille mal gardee, and for Matthew Ball, who won the emerging artist award.
Birmingham Royal Ballet’s William Bracewell won the outstanding male performance (classical) award for his performance as Le Roi Soleil in David Bintley’s The King Dances.
The NDA committee for 2015 also awarded a high commendation for exceptional artistry to two great contemporary flamenco artists, Israel Galván and Rocío Molina.
The Dance UK Industry Award went to Tamara McLorg, dance educator and choreographer.
GRISHKO AWARD FOR EMERGING ARTIST
Matthew Ball (first artist, The Royal Ballet)
JANE ATTENBOROUGH DANCE UK INDUSTRY AWARD
BEST CLASSICAL CHOREOGRAPHY
Wayne McGregor for Woolf Works by The Royal Ballet
BEST MODERN CHOREOGRAPHY
Crystal Pite for Polaris for Sadler’s Wells
OUTSTANDING FEMALE PERFORMANCE (CLASSICAL)
Laura Morera as Lise in La Fille mal gardée for The Royal Ballet
OUTSTANDING MALE PERFORMANCE (MODERN)
Ben Duke in Paradise Lost [lies unopened beside me] for Lost Dog
OUTSTANDING MALE PERFORMANCE (CLASSICAL)
William Bracewell as Le Roi Soleil in The King Dances for Birmingham Royal Ballet
OUTSTANDING FEMALE PERFORMANCE (MODERN)
Zizi Strallen as Lana in The Car Man for New Adventures
SPECIAL AWARD FOR EXCEPTIONAL ARTISTRY
Israel Galván and Rocío Molina
BEST INDEPENDENT COMPANY
Rosie Kay Dance Company
GRISHKO AWARD FOR BEST FEMALE DANCER
DANCING TIMES AWARD FOR BEST MALE DANCER
STEF STEFANOU AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING COMPANY
DE VALOIS AWARDS FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT
Sylvie Guillem CBE
Pictured, left to right: Wayne McGregor, Caroline Miller, Kevin O’Hare (director of The Royal Ballet, who accepted the award on behalf of Alessandra Ferri), Rosie Kay, Tamara McLorg, Vadim Muntagirov, Matthew Bourne, presenter Arlene Phillips, Zizi Strallen, Laura Morera, Matthew Ball, William Bracewell, Ben Duke, Graham Watts (chairman of the Dance Section of the Critics’ Circle)
Photograph: Elliott Franks