The National Dance Awards were held this year on June 5th at the Coronet Theatre in Notting Hill. First held in 2000 they are the dance equivalent of the Laurence Olivier theatre awards. They were voted on by the 60 dance critics who are members of the UK’s Critics’ Circle, chaired by Graham Watts, for performances seen in 2022.
This year five lucky London Ballet Circle ballot winners were invited to the ceremony hosted by the Brazilian ‘dream team’ of lifelong friends Mariana Gomes (formerly Bolshoi Ballet) and José Alves (Ballet Black). Fourteen awards were made, each receiving 4-5 nominations, with the LBC sponsoring the award for the Outstanding Male Classical Performance. Nominees for this were Manuel Liñán in Viva! (Compañia Manuel Liñán), Bruno Micchiardi as Coppelius in Coppélia (Scottish Ballet), Vadim Muntagirov as Crown Prince Rudolf in Mayerling (The Royal Ballet), Marcelino Sambé as Pedro in Like Water for Chocolate (The Royal Ballet) and Joseph Taylor in the title role as Casanova (Northern Ballet). The delighted winner was Marcelino Sambé who also collected the 2021 award in the same category for his portrayal of The Instrument in The Cellist as it had not been possible to present him with it then.
It was a lively, entertaining and sometimes emotional event with an enthusiastic audience of dancers, supporters and ballet lovers. Film clips were shown of all the nominations in all categories celebrating both modern and classical ballet and this demonstrated the breadth, versatility and diversity of the dance world today.
The other winners were: Scottish Ballet for the Stef Stefanou Award for Outstanding Company; Lost Dog for Best Mid-scale Company; Alleyne Dance for Best Independent Company; Jess and Morgs for Coppélia for Best Classical Choreography; Ben Duke for Ruination for Best Modern Choreography; Musa Motha from Rambert for Emerging Artist Award; Zeleidy Crespo in 100% Cuban (Acosta Danza) for Outstanding Female Modern Performance; Israel Galván in La Consagración de la Primavera (Compañia Israel Galván) for Outstanding Male Modern Performance; Constance Devernay-Laurence as Swanhilda in Coppélia (Scottish Ballet) for Outstanding Female Classical Performance; Jeffrey Cirio from English National Ballet for Best Male Dancer; Laura Morera from The Royal Ballet for Best Female Dancer and Bob Crowley, designer for Like Water for Chocolate and Paco Peña, director and guitarist for Solera, jointly, for Outstanding Creative Contribution.
Amidst much hilarity (but sadly without a demonstration of head pirouettes) the final award of the event, the de Valois Award for Outstanding Contribution, was presented to the hip-hop artist from Breakin‘ Convention, Jonzi D. A very popular choice! Thank you to Graham Watts and to the NDA for a fascinating afternoon.