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  The Ninth Annual National Dance Awards
Hosted by The Balletboyz
Sadler’s Wells, London: January 26 2009 at 1.30pm

Gallery of Awards Pictures

The Ninth Annual Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards, hosted by Channel 4’s favourite dance presenters The Balletboyz, took place at Sadler’s Wells today, Monday January 26th at 1.30pm.  The only professional awards ceremony in the UK dedicated to dance is presented by the Dance Section of the Critics’ Circle and highlights the huge range of dance on offer in the UK.

Patron of the Awards, 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 and ever-increasing popularity of dance in the UK.”

Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards Winners 2008

De Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance
Richard Alston

Dancing Times Award for Best Male Dancer
Edward Watson (Royal Ballet)

Richard Sherrington Award for Best Female Dancer
Agnes Oaks (English National Ballet)

Dance Europe Award for Outstanding Company
English National Ballet received by ENB Artistic Director, Wayne Eagling

Best Classical Choreography
Christopher Wheeldon for Electric Counterpoint (Royal Ballet)

Best Modern Choreography
Hofesh Shechter for in your rooms

Patron’s Award
Northern Ballet Theatre received by NBT Artistic Director, David Nixon

Artsworld Presentations Award for Best Foreign Dance Company
New York City Ballet

Spotlight Award: Classical Male
Martin Harvey (Royal Ballet)

Spotlight Award: Classical Female
Yuhui Choe (Royal Ballet)

Spotlight Award: Modern Male
Anh Ngoc Nguyen (Wayne McGregor | Random Dance)

Spotlight Award: Modern Female
Kate Coyne (Michael Clark Company and freelance)

Working Title Billy Elliot Award
Michael Guihot-Jouffray

Dance UK Industry Award
Janet Smith (Scottish Dance Theatre)

Attendees include: 
Richard Alstonartistic director, Richard Alston Dance Company
The BalletboyzMichael Nunn and William Trevitt
Eleanor Bergsteinwriter, ‘Dirty Dancing’
Wayne Eaglingartistic director, English National Ballet
Maina Gielgudformer British ballerina and director of Australian Ballet 1983-96
Tony Hallchief executive, Royal Opera House
Gillian Lynnechoreographer, Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Deborah, Lady MacMillan     Kenneth MacMillan estate
Dame Monica Masondirector, The Royal Ballet
David Nixon artistic director, Northern Ballet Theatre
Angela Rippon OBETV presenter, newsreader, journalist
Farukh Ruzimatovartistic director, Mikhailovsky Ballet, Russia
Alistair Spaldingartistic director, Sadler’s Wells
Gailene Stockdirector, Royal Ballet School
Dame Sue Street ex DCMS permanent secretary and now a governor of the Royal Ballet
David Wall former principal, Royal Ballet; Ballet Master, English National Ballet
Sir Peter Wrightinternationally renowned choreographer, Director Laureate, Birmingham Royal Ballet

One of the most popular awards is the Working Title Billy Elliot Prize which is open to all boys aged between 11 and 16.  Launched in response to the huge popularity and success of Billy Elliot – both the film and the stage production - which did so much to encourage teenage boys to take up dance classes, this year’s award went to 13 year old Michael Guihot-Jouffray who is a rising star on the tap and ballet scene.  His award was presented to him by last year’s winner, Brandon Lawrence, who is currently a pupil at the Royal Ballet Upper School. 

The National Dance Awards’ masters of ceremonies were the enormously popular Michael Nunn & William Trevitt, aka The Balletboyz, whose Channel 4 series drew a massive new audience to ballet and contemporary dance and whose stage and film work since they left the Royal Ballet has been seen worldwide.  The audience were treated to outstanding performances by the virtuoso tap dancer Ashley Nottingham (42nd Street), whirlwind Indian classical dancer Ash Mukherjee and Royal Ballet pupils Shiori Kase and Benjamin Ella.

Dame Beryl Grey was unable to attend today’s ceremony due to illness – her place was taken by Angela Rippon who presented the Patron’s Award to Northern Ballet Theatre and the coveted de Valois Award to Richard Alston, artistic director of Richard Alston Dance Company.

NDA winners included English National Ballet ballerina, Agnes Oaks, who retires at the end of the season – she won the Richard Sherrington Award for Best Female Dancer (**).  And the dynamic Martin Harvey, who recently hung up his Royal Ballet shoes to star in the smash hit West End production of Dirty Dancing, won the special Spotlight Award for Classical Male Dancer for his work with the Royal Ballet.  His award is presented by Eleanor Bergstein, writer of Dirty Dancing.  This year’s Best Male Dancer, Edward Watson, of the Royal Ballet, won a National Dance Award for the second time in his career – last time it was Outstanding Young Male Artist in the 2001 awards.

Hofesh Shechter won the Best Modern Choreography Award for his critically acclaimed in your rooms which was co-produced by Sadler’s Wells, The Place and the Southbank Centre; the Spotlight Award for Modern Female Dancer went to the sublime Kate Coyne for her work with the Michael Clark Company and others; and the Spotlight Award for Modern Male Dancer went to the outstanding Anh Ngoc Nguyen for his work with Wayne McGregor | Random Dance. 

What they said:

“Just getting a nomination marks these individuals out as outstanding talents” – Award Ceremony hosts, The Balletboyz, Michael Nunn & William Trevitt

“I’m truly delighted to have won this award and want to thank all of those choreographers with whom I have ever worked – particularly Michael Clark who continues to inspire me …. and employs me!” – Kate Coyne, recipient of the Spotlight Award: Modern Female

“To be in the same company as the previous two winners of the Patrons Award, Strictly Come Dancing and Darcey Bussell, is fantastic. Both in their own way have done much to further the profile and growing reputation of dance and ballet in this country. If the Royal Academy of Dance didn’t have such an evangelical spirit to reach every ice-hockey town in Canada, I probably wouldn't be here today to collect this award on behalf of Northern Ballet Theatre” - David Nixon, Artistic Director of NBT, recipient of the Patron’s Award

“I dedicate this award to my former, and late, teacher, Anatoli Grigoriev, and to Eleanor Bergstein for the wonderful new life I have” – Martin Harvey is a former Royal Ballet soloist and now stars in Dirty Dancing in London’s West End. Recipient of Spotlight Award: Classical Male

“I’m really happy that my work seems to inspire people” - Hofesh Shechter, recipient of Best Modern Choreography

“I’m absolutely shocked. I’m not used to winning individual awards but I’m particularly thrilled as I’ll be retiring from dancing this coming summer” - Agnes Oaks of English National Ballet, recipient of the Richard Sherrington Award for Best Female Dancer

“Thank you to my boss Monica Mason at the Royal Ballet for letting me dance such wonderful roles” - Edward Watson of the Royal Ballet, recipient of the Dancing Times Award for Best Male Dancer

“Critics are critics but what they also do is support our art form……. I still choreograph because I still love it. The most amazing thing is to go into the studio with my dancers and make work together. I forget that I’m 60 when I’m in the studio but remember it pretty quickly once I’ve left” - Richard Alston, Artistic Director of Richard Alston Dance Company, recipient of the De Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance

** On Friday January 30th English Ballet stars Agnes Oakes and Thomas Edur will be giving a gala performance at Sadler’s Wells at 7.30pm – it will mark Agnes&rsquos; professional stage farewell.

Further info:    020 7940 4686

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