UK National Dance Awards winners

A surgeon was working on Akram Khan’s injured Achilles tendon – and Sylvie Guillem was a no show – but many luminaries from the London dance world were gathered at The Place today for the announcement of the 12th National Dance Awards.

The sentimental favourite of the day was Ashley Page, the outgoing artistic director of Scottish Ballet, who won the De Valois award for outstanding achievement.

Page broke down a little when he accepted the award. His speech drew very warm applause from the audience.

It’s been a tough couple of years for Page who was offered a tokenistic, one year extension of his contract in 2010 which in turn led to his decision to quit the company he had then led for eight years.

Page will be succeeded this year by Christopher Hampson.

The Scottish Ballet was a double winner today, with one of its principals, Sophie Martin, winning the award for Outstanding Female Performance (classical) against tough competition from the three other finalists in that category, the Royal Ballet’s Melissa Hamilton and Akane Takada and Elisha Willis from Birmingham Royal Ballet.

For me, the sense of time passing quickly came when two winners stood before the audience of critics and dance community figures (including Sir Peter Wright, Maina Gielgud, Alistair Spalding and Tamara Rojo.)

It seems only a year or so ago that Xander Parish and Steven McRae were students at the Royal Ballet School, but it is in fact seven years and now, Parish is dancing at the Mariinsky and McRae is a principal at the Royal.

Parish accepted the award for Outstanding Company on behalf of the Mariinsky while McRae won for Best Male Dancer.

I can still remember McRae in 2003 as a homesick boy with an Aussie accent living opposite the boarding house for first year RBS students in Barons Court. (The accent has now completely vanished).

The most lively winner of the day was Daria Klimentová who almost jumped with joy onto the stage to receive the Grishko Award for Best Female Dancer.

Here’s the full list of winners:

Outstanding male performance (classical): Gary Avis (Royal Ballet)

Outstanding female performance (modern): Sylvie Guillem for 6,000 Miles Away

Best independent company: Luca Silvestrini’s Protein

Best classical choreography: David Bintley for Cinderella by Birmingham Royal Ballet

Best modern choreography: Akram Khan for Vertical Road

Outstanding female performance (classical): Sophie Martin (Scottish Ballet)

Outstanding male performance (modern): Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui for Dunas

Outstanding company: Mariinsky Ballet

Jane Attenborough Dance UK industry award: David Burnie (director of administration and finance, The Place)

The Dancing Times Award for best male dancer: Steven McRae (The Royal Ballet)

Grishko award for best female dancer: Daria Klimentová (English National Ballet)

De Valois award for outstanding achievement: Ashley Page (artistic director, Scottish Ballet)

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