The National Dance Awards will be held at a glittering ceremony at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden on January 19th 2006, where an array of the world’s finest talent will be found celebrating the many forms of dance from classical ballet to the extremes of the avant garde.
The most impressive talent emerging in this year’s Awards is the British Asian dancer and choreographer Akram Khan, with a total of three nominations in “Outstanding Male Artist (Modern)”, “Best Choreography (Modern)” and Company Prize for Outstanding Repertoire (Modern). Khan won the “Outstanding Newcomer” prize at the very first National Dance Awards, and his originality and technique have since won him an international reputation.
The announcement of this year’s nominations is also a triumph for Scottish dance, with Scottish Ballet gaining its first major acknowledgement since Ashley Page took over as Artistic Director in 2002. Not only is Eve Mutso individually nominated as Best Female Dancer, but the company as a whole is recognised for “Outstanding Repertoire (Classical)” This has been a remarkable “phoenix from the ashes” story and its ramifications will resonate throughout the Scottish arts scene.
The Brits also dominate in the category Best Choreography (Musical Theatre). The dance makers nominated for three great West End musicals are Peter Darling for Billy Elliot, Rob Ashford for Guys and Dolls, and Matthew Bourne and Stephen Mear for Mary Poppins.
In the senior ballet categories the honours for “Best Male Dancer”, sponsored by Dancing Times, are split between the USA, (Clifton Brown of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre), The Ukraine (Ivan Putrov of the Royal Ballet) and Denmark (Thomas Lund of the Royal Danish Ballet) while the prize for top ballerina - “Best Female Dancer” - will be a difficult choice between the Argentinian Marianela Nunez of the Royal Ballet, Estonian Eve Mutso of Scottish Ballet as mentioned above, and the stunningly beautiful Russian Irina Kolesnikova of the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre.
TV presenter Angela Rippon, O.B.E., former chair of English National Ballet and a passionate advocate for dance who has compèred the Awards on two previous occasions, believes that despite the absence of Britons from certain categories dance in the UK is in a healthy state…
“I’ve seen what amounts to an explosion of enthusiasm among the young; with dancing schools and academies of all kinds completely full up. In the six years the awards have run, the scene in this country has changed beyond recognition for the better.”
THE NATIONAL DANCE AWARDS
Founded just six years ago, the Awards are the only professional Awards in this country dedicated specifically to the art of dance, and are already spoken of within the industry as the British Dance ‘Oscars’. The Critics’ Circle felt it was natural that they should come together annually to celebrate as well as to evaluate the art form about which they write, so the Awards aim to highlight the astonishing diversity of dance in the UK and celebrate the beauty of dance.
What’s more, it’s a truly British occasion, where friendships are newly forged and re-kindled between legendary ballerinas and cutting edge modern dancers, company directors and students, bridging the gap between classical and contemporary in a one-of-a-kind celebration and get-together.
This year marks a new relationship between the National Dance Awards, the Royal Opera House and Sadler’s Wells. Henceforth, starting with the Royal Opera House this year, the Awards will alternate annually between these two great dance venues of the nation’s capital, both recently refurbished to a magnificent standard.
Also this year the ‘Audience Award’ supported by Ballet.co and Dance UK, gives the audience the opportunity to participate by voting, via text message, for their favourite dance or Ballet Company from those they’ve seen over the last year in the UK.
Among the sponsors of this year’s presentation, who also include the animated mouse Angelina Ballerina, Working Title Films, (co-producers of Billy Elliot The Musical), Ballet.co, The Royal Opera House, Sadler’s Wells, The Dancing Times, Artsworld Presentations, Old Vic Productions, Dance UK, Cadogan Hotel London, Robert Heindel, Tom Merrifield, is Yvonne Sherrington, widow of founding sponsor Richard Sherrington who helped launch the event in 2000.
“I’m so thrilled and relieved that Richard’s legacy as a major supporter of dance in the United Kingdom will endure.” she told us. “With the difficulties of the last couple of years behind us, I’m greatly looking forward to making our association with the world of dance as much of a positive celebration as possible, and above all an encouragement to young dancers everywhere.”
For further information please visit the National Dance Awards website at www.nationaldanceawards.com
NATIONAL DANCE AWARDS NOMINATIONS 2005
Best Male Dancer
Clifton Brown Alvin Ailey,
Ivan Putrov Royal Ballet
Thomas Lund Royal Danish Ballet
Best Female Dancer
Marianela Nunez Royal Ballet
Eve Mutso Scottish Ballet
Irina Kolesnikova St Petersburg Ballet Theatre
Best Choreography (Classical)
Christopher Newton for Ashton’s Sylvia Royal Ballet
Best Choreography (Modern)
Marisa von Stockert
Akram Khan and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
Best Choreography (Musical Theatre)
Peter Darling for Billy Elliot
Rob Ashford for Guys and Dolls
Matthew Bourne and Stephen Mear for Mary Poppins
Best Foreign Dance Company
Nat. Ballet of Cuba
Outstanding Male or Female Artist (Classical)
Outstanding Male or Female Artist (Modern)
Jenny Tattersall Walker Dance Park Music
Company Prize for Outstanding Repertoire (Classical)
Company Prize for Outstanding Repertoire (Modern)
Akram Khan Dance Company