Back to homepage Blank Blank National Dance Awards
Back to homepage   Press
Back to press release choices
Dance awards
Audience awards
Children's Award
Industry awards
Student Award
Past awards
About us
  The Ninth Annual National Dance Awards
2008 Finalists Announced

The finalists of the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards 2008 were announced today for the most prestigious ceremony in the dance calendar, which will take place in front of a VIP audience at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London on Monday 26 January 2009.

The awards, which once again feature the popular Working Title Billy Elliot Prize for boys aged between 11 and 16, celebrate the vigour and variety of Britain’s thriving dance culture. They are the only professional awards in the UK dedicated specifically to dance, and are presented by the dance section of the Critics’ Circle, which brings together more than 50 dance writers.

English National Ballet has received six nominations in five categories including the Dance Europe Award for Outstanding Company. Artistic director Wayne Eagling receives a nomination for Best Classical Choreography and ballerina Agnes Oaks, who retires at the end of the season, receives a nomination for the Richard Sherrington Award for Best Female Dancer.

Martin Harvey, currently starring in the West End production of Dirty Dancing, is nominated for a Spotlight Award for his dancing with the Royal Ballet. His unprecedented leap from dancing ballet at the Royal Opera House to leading a London show as an actor has surprised many critics. The Royal Ballet has seven nominations, including Sarah Lamb for the Richard Sherrington Award for Best Female Dancer and Edward Watson for the Dancing Times Award for Best Male Dancer. At 22 Liam Scarlett of the Royal Ballet is the youngest choreographer ever to be nominated for a Best Classical Choreography award.

Sadler’s Wells has swept the board in the Modern Choreography category, where Akram Khan’s bahok, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Sutra and Hofesh Shechter’s in your rooms were all co-produced by the theatre.

There is an Eastern theme to the Awards this year with nominations for the National Ballet of China, Guangdong Acrobatic Troupe and individual performers Yuhui Choe of the Royal Ballet and Anh Ngoc Nguyen of Wayne McGregor | Random Dance Company, in addition to productions which included the Shaolin Monks (Sutra) and dancers from the National Ballet of China (bahok).

Russia’s Mikhailovsky Ballet has received two nominations after its debut season in the UK.

Patron of the Awards, legendary ballerina Dame Beryl Grey says: “This year’s nominations demonstrate the scale and diversity of dance in this country and the contribution of exciting visitors to our shores from Russia and China. The amazing success of these awards over the last nine years has confirmed the huge popularity of dance in the UK.”

The National Dance Awards were established by the Critics’ Circle in 2000 to highlight the astonishing range of dance on offer in the UK. As part of the awards’ unique partnership with Sadler’s Wells and the Royal Opera House, the ceremony alternates between the two venues.

Notes for Editors:

Dame Beryl Grey was the first British ballerina to be invited to dance in Russia and China.

The Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards are the UK’s only professional awards dedicated exclusively to dance. The ceremony is the principal celebration of British dance attended by visitors from all parts of the globe.

The Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards are presented in collaboration with The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and Sadler’s Wells.

The Awards are sponsored by: Thomas Lynch, Working Title, Artsworld Presentations, The Dancing Times, Dance Europe and

For further press information contact: Tony Shepherd on 0207 288 0266 or email:

Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards
List of Finalists 2008

Dancing Times Award for Best Male Dancer
Denis Matvienko (Mikhailovsky Ballet)
Friedemann Vogel (Stuttgart Ballet)
Edward Watson (Royal Ballet)

Richard Sherrington Award for Best Female Dancer
Sarah Lamb (Royal Ballet)
Agnes Oaks (English National Ballet)
Wendy Whelan (New York City Ballet)

Dance Europe Award for Outstanding Company
English National Ballet
Guangdong Acrobatic Troupe
New Adventures

Best Classical Choreography
Wayne Eagling for Resolution (English National Ballet)
Liam Scarlett for Of Mozart (Royal Ballet)
Christopher Wheeldon for Electric Counterpoint (Royal Ballet)

Best Modern Choreography
Akram Khan (bahok)
Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (Sutra)
Hofesh Shechter (in your rooms)

Artsworld Presentations Award for Best Foreign Dance Company
Mikhailovsky Ballet
National Ballet of China
New York City Ballet

Spotlight Award, Female Artist (Classical)
Laura Bruña Rubio (English National Ballet)
Begoña Cao (English National Ballet)
Yuhui Choe (Royal Ballet)

Spotlight Award, Male Artist (Classical)
Esteban Berlanga (English National Ballet)
Martin Harvey (Royal Ballet)
Eric Underwood (Royal Ballet)

Spotlight Award, Female Artist (Modern)
Kate Coyne (Michael Clark Company and Freelance)
Ana Luján Sánchez (Phoenix Dance Theatre)
Malgorzata Dzierzon (Rambert Dance Company)

Spotlight Award, Male Artist (Modern)
Anh Ngoc Nguyen (Wayne McGregor | Random Dance)
Aaron Sillis (New Adventures)
Alexander Whitley (Rambert Dance Company)

For detailed information about the finalists and the Awards visit our website at

For further press information contact: Tony Shepherd on 0207 288 0266 or email:

Back to top
All text is © copyright of the Critics' Circle / National Dance Awards.