American visitors lead the way in the National Dance Awards 2023

The Winners of the 2023 National Dance Awards were announced on June 3 at a ceremony at The Coronet Theatre in London’s Notting Hill Gate.

The awards, voted upon by the 60 dance critics who are members of the Dance Section of the Critics’ Circle, the UK’s association for professional performing arts critics, are for performances seen between January 1 and December 31, 2023. The winners came from a list of 70 nominations covering every dance genre, those nominees coming from a record 350 recommendations from the dance critics.

Fumi Kaneko, winner of Best Female Dancer,
in Untitled, 2023 by Wayne McGregor
Photo The Royal Opera House, Alice Pennefather

This year’s winners have a distinctly international flavour with no less than five coming from the USA. A further two hail from Japan, although both perform with The Royal Ballet.

The premier ‘lifetime’ award, the De Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement was presented to Iain Webb, formerly a dancer with The Royal Ballet, who has been artistic director of Sarasota Ballet since 2007. Sarasota Ballet is about to make their Royal Opera House debut.

Continuing the American theme, Tiler Peck, principal dancer with NewYork City Ballet, won the award for Outstanding Female Classical Performance for her appearances in the Turn it Out season by Tiler Peck and Friends at Sadler’s Wells. William Forsythe’s The Barre Project won the award for Best Classical Choreography.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Chalvar Monteiro and Ashley Green
in Kyle Abraham’s Are You in Your Feelings?
Photo Paul Kolnik

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater also won two awards: the Stef Stefanou Award for Outstanding Company, with Kyle Abraham won the Best Modern Choreography Award for Are You in Your Feelings? seen during their London season.

At The Royal Ballet, awards also went to two ballerinas who originate from Japan: Fumi Kaneko won Best Female Dancer, while and Sae Maeda picked up the Emerging Artist Award. The Royal Ballet picked up a third award with William Bracewell winning the Dancing Times Award for Best Male Dancer.

Birmingham Royal Ballet and special guest, Tony Iommi,
in Black Sabbath – The Ballet
Photo Johan Persson

Carlos Acosta won the Award for Outstanding Creative Contribution for the original concept that led to Black Sabbath – The Ballet for Birmingham Royal Ballet, which is shortly to tour in Europe, with US performances planned for 2025.

Brandon Lawrence, now at Ballett Zürich but then also of Birmingham Royal Ballet, won the Outstanding Male Classical Performance Award for his solo performance in Liebestod.

Brandon Lawrence in Liebestod by Valery Panov
Photo Johan Persson

ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company, whose Message in a Bottle has recently been released on film, scooped the Best Mid-Scale Company Award. The McOnie Company won Best Independent Company having delighted at the Southbank Centre with their jazz Nutcracker.

The Outstanding Modern Performance Awards were both taken by British dancers: Jemima Brown for her performance in Surge for Tom Dale Company, and Paris Fitzpatrick for his performance as Romeo in Matthew Bourne’s Romeo + Juliet for New Adventures.

The Award for Best Dance Film went to the Yorke Dance Project for their film of Kenneth MacMillan’s Sea of Troubles, soon to be released in cinemas as part of Dance Revolutionaries, a double bill also featuring Robert Cohan’s Portraits. The award for Best Short Dance Film went to Javier De Frutos, who choreographed and directed Whoever You Are.

The 2023 National Dance Awards in full:

Best Male Dancer: William Bracewell
Best Female Dancer: Fumi Kaneko
Outstanding Company:  Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Best Midscale Company: ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company
Best Independent Company: McOnie Company
Best Classical Choreography: William Forsythe for The Barre Project by Tiler Peck and Friends
Best Modern Choreography: Kyle Abraham for Are you in Your Feelings? by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Outstanding Male Classical Performance:  Brandon Lawrence in Liebestod by Birmingham Royal Ballet
Outstanding Female Classical Performance: Tiler Peck for Turn it Out by Tiler Peck and Friends
Outstanding Male Modern Performance:  Paris Fitzpatrick as Romeo in Romeo + Juliet by New Adventures
Outstanding Female Modern Performance: Jemima Brown in Surge by Tom Dale Company
Emerging Artist: Sae Maeda, soloist at The Royal Ballet
Best Dance Film: Sea of Troubles by Yorke Dance Project, directed by David Stewart
Best Short Dance Film: Whoever You Are, choreographed and directed by Javier de Frutos
Outstanding Creative Contribution: Carlos Acosta for the concept of Black Sabbath – The Ballet
De Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement: Ian Webb, Sarasota Ballet