Saturday, 16 January 2010


I wanted to share with you a video from New York City Ballet as three Principal dancers prepare to take on the daunting role of Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty. It really is enlightening viewing.

In an earlier BALLET NEWS update I passed on the great news that David Nixon OBE has been awarded a New Year Honour, and here is the full press release :

New Year Honour for Northern Ballet Theatre's Artistic Director

Northern Ballet Theatre's (NBT) Artistic Director, David Nixon, has received an OBE for services to dance in the New Year Honours list announced on 31 December 2009.

David has made a significant artistic contribution to narrative dance in the UK and has been instrumental to the continued growth and success of NBT since taking over as Artistic Director in 2001. His creative output is prolific; in the past nine years he has choreographed nine new full-length ballets for NBT. David is committed to taking the highest quality dance to audiences throughout the country, bringing together collaborators at the top of their field to create new ballets with exceptional production values. He has also placed great importance in providing opportunities for young people throughout the North of England to access high quality classical dance training without having to leave home through the expansion of NBT's classical training programmes.

On hearing of his award David Nixon said: "I am overwhelmed that I have received this Honour. Coming at the end of NBT's 40th Anniversary year it is the icing on the cake to a wonderful year for the Company and for me personally. I would like to thank everyone who endorsed my nomination, the team at NBT for their hard work and dedication and especially my wife, Yoko Ichino for her unwavering support."

Dame Monica Mason, DBE, Director of The Royal Ballet supported David's nomination: "David Nixon has made the most tremendous contribution to NBT and to classical dance in the UK. His energy and his capabilities are astonishing and he is held in the highest regard within the profession."

Claude-Michel Schönberg, celebrated composer of Les Miserables and NBT's Wuthering Heights added: "David Nixon creates new works with original stories, newly commissioned scores and innovative choreography; its modernity remaining accessible to a wide ranging public. His work reaches out to the British public, bringing culture to towns and cities far from the main cultural centres of the UK. In 20 years time a young British dancer will explain his vocation in the theatre as a result of attending, one night, the performance of a ballet by David Nixon in a small town where he grew up."

The Honour is the latest in a string of awards recognising David's work. David was voted Director of the Year by readers of Dance Europe in 2003 and 2006; he remains the only Artistic Director to ever have won the accolade twice. Under his Direction NBT received the audience award at the Critics' Circle National Dance Awards for three successive years (2004, 2005, 2006), this is the only award voted for by members of the public. In 2009 NBT received the Patron's award recognising the work the Company has done to raise the profile of dance in the UK.

In 2010 NBT will move into a new purpose-built headquarters in central Leeds. Led by David's vision the building will be a powerhouse for inventive dance and a leading centre for narrative dance research.




Legendary ballerina Dame Beryl Grey will present conductor Richard Bonynge with the Patron’s Award for 2009 at the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards at the Royal Opera House next week.

The Patron’s Award is given to an individual or organisation that has significantly furthered the cause of dance in the UK. The recipient of the Award is chosen by Dame Beryl Grey, Patron of the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards. The awards ceremony, the most prestigious in the dance calendar, will take place at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden at 2pm on Thursday, 21 January 2010 in front of a VIP audience.

Dame Beryl said: “I decided to give the award to Richard Bonynge for his huge recorded catalogue of all the major ballets and his unique recordings of important items in the ballet canon unrecorded elsewhere (Russian Rarities, The Art of the Prima Ballerina, Homage to Pavlova etc). He has given access to the repertoire for many people unable to listen to this music live in the theatre. Richard Bonynge is world famous for his many recordings of operas with his wife, Dame Joan Sutherland, and Luciano Pavarotti and in addition has recorded ballet music throughout his long career.”

Past Patron’s Award winners:

2008 - Northern Ballet Theatre
2007 – Darcey Bussell
2006 – Strictly Come Dancing

The National Dance Awards celebrate the vigour and variety of Britain’s thriving dance culture. They are the only professional awards in the UK dedicated to dance and are presented by the Dance Section of the Critics’ Circle, which brings together more than 50 dance writers.

It is only natural that dance critics should celebrate as well as evaluate the art form about which they write and the National Dance Awards aim to highlight the astonishing diversity of dance in Great Britain. Dancers and dance-makers make a vital contribution to our vibrant cultural life and the Awards are our way of saying congratulations – and thank you.

HIT Entertainment, Dance UK and the Council for Dance Education and Training announced as new sponsors for the National Dance Awards.

Dame Beryl Grey said: “The tenth anniversary is a true milestone in the history of these prestigious Awards which are the focal point of the UK dance calendar. It has been a monumental achievement to make the event bigger and stronger with each passing year, with three new sponsors joining us very recently.”

HIT Entertainment is among the newest sponsors of the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards and next week will present the Angelina Ballerina Children’s Award to nine-year-old Lucy Wood (Susan Robinson School of Dance). The exciting new award was won by Lucy after a nationwide audition process which culminated in the best of the young hopefuls gathering at the studios of English National Ballet in front of a jury consisting of well-known broadcaster Angela Rippon, Dirty Dancing star Martin Harvey, Katherine Hollabird, author of the Angelina Ballerina books, and English National Ballet choreographer Antony Dowson.

Another major new sponsor is the Council for Dance Education and Training who will present their Student of the Year Award to 17-year-old Sam Chung (Tring Park School for the Performing Arts), an outstanding male dancer who triumphed in a national competition with very high standards in front of a jury chaired by Dame Beryl Grey herself. The new award will recognise each year a student of outstanding ability.

The Dance UK Industry Award will be presented to an individual working in dance who has made an outstanding contribution to the art form. The award is designed to acknowledge the contribution of a person who is often an unsung hero. It is a unique award given by the winner’s peers in the dance profession. The winner will be announced at next week’s ceremony at the Royal Opera House.

A full list of dancers, choreographers and companies nominated for National Dance Awards can be found at


  1. Always enjoy the news on dance and the ballet . thanks so much for sharing and posting .

  2. Great post. I'm a huge ballet fan.

  3. phonelady - thank you ! glad you are enjoying it

    Artist - good to hearm and welcome ! thank you for your comment.


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