Critics’ Circle Dance Awards 2007

Written by: Michael Darvell

Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards 2007:

De Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance – Celeste Dandeker

The Dancing Times Award for Best Male Dancer – Jonathan Goddard (for performances with Richard Alston Dance Company)

Richard Sherrington Award for Best Female Dancer – Natalia Osipova (for performances with the Bolshoi Ballet in London)

Patron’s Award – Darcey Bussell

National Dance Awards Special Award – Desmond Kelly and Marion Tait of Birmingham Royal Ballet for their work on Ballet Hoo! Ballet Changed My Life

Best Choreography (Classical) – Wayne McGregor (for Chroma, Royal Ballet)

Best Choreography (Modern) – Michael Keegan-Dolan (for The Bull, Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre)

Best Foreign Dance Company – Bolshoi Ballet

Spotlight Awards – Kialea-Nadine Williams (Female Modern Dancer) Phoenix Dance Company

Dane Hurst (Male Modern Dancer) Rambert Dance Company

Carol-Anne Miller (Female Classical Dancer) Birmingham Royal Ballet

Ivan Vasiliev (Male Classical Dancer) Bolshoi Ballet

Dance UK Industry Award – Celeste Dandeker

Company Prize for Outstanding Repertoire (Classical) – Scottish Ballet

Company Prize for Outstanding Repertoire (Modern) – Henri Oguike Dance Company

Working Title Billy Elliot Award – Brandon Lawrence

Hosted by Angela Rippon

Patron: Dame Beryl Grey DBE

Royal Opera Hose, Covent Garden, London

Tuesday, 22 January, 2008

The annual Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards are always a glittering occasion. Whereas there are many awards given for cinema and theatre productions, actors and actresses, and for technical accomplishments on film and on stage, dance awards are few and far between. Critics’ Circle members have had their Film and Drama Section Awards for many years now, but relatively new to the scene are the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards which were founded just eight years ago with the avowed aim of celebrating dance and dancers in Britain. Over the past eight years these Awards have rapidly become the dance event of the year by drawing together the entire industry in sharing the very best of dance and ballet in the UK.

Dance critics, like other reviewers of other art forms such as films, theatre, literature, art, photography etc are not only highly critical but also passionate about their chosen field. The Critics’ Circle Dance Awards therefore reflect this passion by highlighting the astonishing diversity of dance in this country, an art form that touches most people’s lives at some point, be it as a performer, as part of an enthusiastic audience or just taking part in social dancing for which there is now no shortage of outlets. The National Dance Awards are a way of saying congratulations and thank-you to a collection of performers who probably have the hardest job in any field of artistic endeavour. Dancers have to use their sole possession, their physical body, to communicate drama, comedy, emotion and entertainment. These major honours have a special significance since the members of the Critics’ Circle Dance Section vote in a secret ballot for the winners.

On arrival at the Royal Opera House for the Awards on Tuesday, 22 January the stars of the ballet and modern dance worlds were treated to performances by Britain’s leading dance schools. Guests and presenters included Culture Minister Margaret Hodge; Lady Sarah Chatto; Sir Gerald Kaufman; Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Sadler’s Wells, Alistair Spalding; Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, Tony Hall; Monica Mason, Director of The Royla Ballet; Wayne Eagling, Director of English National Ballet; ballerinas Agnes Oaks, Zenaida Yanowsky, Sarah Lamb and Irina Kolesnikova; and male stars Thomas Edur, Ivan Putrov and Martin Harvey; choreographer Sir Peter Wright; Lady Sainsbury of Preston Candover; former prima ballerina Dame Antoinette Sibley; actor Jeremy Sheffield; and dancer, actor and director Wayne Sleep. The Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards could not happen with out the support of their sponsors which include the Royal Opera House, Sadler’s Wells, Old Vic Productions plc, Artsworld Presentations Ltd, the Dancing Times, Ballet.Co, Merrifield Studios, Working Title Films (Billy Elliot: the Musical), Thomas Lynch, Lady Deborah MacMillan and Yvonne Sherrington in memory of her late husband Richard, a founding sponsor.

Hosted by long-time supporter of the Awards, Angela Rippon, the Awards were announced at a ceremony at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. The Bolshoi Ballet won three awards: for Best Foreign Dance Company, a Spotlight Award for Ivan Vasiliev and The Richard Sherrington Best Female Dancer Award for Natalia Osipova. The prestigious de Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance went to Celeste Dandeker, co founder of Candoco, the leading contemporary dance company of disabled and non-disabled dancers. For the first time in the history of the event the Dancing Times Best Male Dancer Award did not to go a ballet dancer but to contemporary dancer Jonathan Goddard of the Richard Alston Dance Company.

Darcey Bussell won the Patron’s Award for raising the profile of dance in the United Kingdom. This award was presented by legendary ballerina Dame Beryl Grey, Patron of the National Dance Awards. Ballet Hoo! Ballet Changed My Life, the television documentary directed by Michael Waldman, was given a Special Award for two members of Birmingham Royal Ballet, Marion Tait and Desmond Kelly, for leading the Company’s project with disadvantaged children. Irish choreographer Michael Keegan-Dolan won in the Best Modern Choreography category for his hilarious and scatological piece The Bull at the Barbican and in the classical equivalent Wayne McGregor secured the only win for the Royal Ballet for Chroma. Scottish Ballet and the Henri Oguike Dance Company won the awards for Best Classical and Modern Repertoire.

Finally, the Working Title Billy Elliot Award went to Brandon Lawrence a fifteen year- old dancer from Bradford who is already being hailed as a future star. In addition to his prize he will spend a day as the guest of artistic director Wayne Eagling at English National Ballet.

For more information check the National Dance Awards website at

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