The dance sector has again been well recognised in Her Majesty The Queen’s New Year’s Honours list. Dance is hugely diverse, and the awards demonstrate how strong dance’s contribution to culture is.
The awards include:
Darcey Bussell CBE – Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire;
Robert Ramdhanie – Member of the Order of the British Empire;
Lucille de Zalduondo Briance – Member of the Order of the British Empire;
Akosua Boakye-Nimo – Medallist of the Order of the British Empire;
Sonia Bond – Medallist of the Order of the British Empire;
Benjamin Hammond – Medallist of the Order of the British Empire.
Notable among these honours is the award of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) to Darcey Bussell CBE, who trained at the Royal Ballet School and began her professional career at Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet. After only one year she moved to The Royal Ballet, where she became a principal dancer at the age of 20 in 1989. She is widely acclaimed as one of the great British ballerinas. Although Darcey retired from a performing career in 2007, she remains highly committed to the dance world, becoming a television personality through her work as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing.
Also notable is Robert Ramdhanie on the award of an MBE for services to dance, recognising his work championing the arts of the Black community in Britain for over five decades. He is an arts activist, visionary and pioneer, establishing dance companies including The Black Dance Development Trust, Kokuma Dance Company, and Danse de L’Afrique, and venues including The CAVE Arts Centre. His legacy is nationwide, not only for dance but for the cultural sector as a whole.
Regina Akosua Boakye-Nimo has also been recognised for her services to dance in the community. A lecturer and PHD student at Canterbury Christ Church University investigating Ghanaian Dance Culture, Akosua is a previous recipient of the One Dance UK Trailblazer Fellowship, championing the organisation’s work supporting dance artists. Her roles include Children’s Casting Coordinator for The Lion King, and Founder and Director of AkomaAsa Performing Arts Academy.