The winners of The Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards 2017 were announced at a ceremony at London’s Barbican Centre hosted by award-winning choreographer, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Rambert dancer and choreographer, Dane Hurst.
The De Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement – the premier award of the Dance Critics – went to Lez Brotherston who became the first designer to win a National Dance Award.
After being nominated a record six times, Richard Alston Dance Company’s Liam Riddick was presented with The Dancing Times Award for Best Male Dancer whilst The Royal Ballet’s Zenaida Yanowsky took The Grishko Award for Best Female Dancer, her third award having won Best Female Dancer in 2003 and Outstanding Female Performance (Classical) in 2016. Headspace Dance was also named Best Independent Company.
Musical theatre productions received awards for the very first time at this year’s ceremony as Arlene Phillips presented the company of 42nd Street with The Stef Stefanou Award for Outstanding Company, the first award to a production ensemble, and former New York City Ballet Principal, Robert Fairchild, was presented with Outstanding Male Performance (Modern) for his role as Jerry Mulligan in An American in Paris.
In his first win for classical, Akram Khan took home his seventh National Dance Award with Best Classical Choreography for his production of Giselle with English National Ballet. Khan has now won more NDAs than anyone else having previously being presented with Emerging Artist (2000), Outstanding Male performance (Modern) (2005), Best Male dancer (2012) and three awards for Best Modern Choreography (2003, 2011 and 2014). Artistic Director of English National Ballet, Tamara Rojo accepted the award on behalf of Akram Khan who is premiering his new show in Athens.
Michael Keegan-Dolan won the award for Best Modern Choreography for Swan Lake/Loch na hEala with Teaċ Damsa, his second win in the category after he won the award in 2007 for The Bull, whilst Harry Alexander broke The Royal Ballet’s recent monopoly by receiving the Emerging Artist Award, the first Modern dancer to take home the award.
After waiting fifteen years since her last award, having won Best Female Dancer in 2002, Alina Cojocaru received the Outstanding Female Performance (Classical) award for Giselle in Akram Khan’s production with English National Ballet.
Marcelino Sambé and Ashley Shaw received their first National Dance Awards with Marcelino Sambé taking the Dance Europe Award for Outstanding Male Performance (Classical) for his performance as Colas in La Fille mal gardée and Ashley Shaw taking home the Outstanding Female Performance (Modern) award for her performance as Vicky Page in Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes. Shaw’s win marks the second time a New Adventures dancer has won the Outstanding Female Performance (Modern) award in the past three years following Zizi Strallen’s win for The Car Man.
Scottish dance critic, Mary Brennan won the Jane Attenborough One Dance UK Industry Award, the third British Dance Critic to receive an award following Ivor Guest (2006) and Jann Parry (2010) both of whom won the De Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement.
Chairman of the Awards committee, Graham Watts OBE, said; “There was a superb array of nominations from 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 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 of the Critics’ Circle is delighted to honour and thank the 2017 National Dance Awards Sponsors: 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.