The Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards 2014 took place at The Place in London, at a ceremony hosted by Arlene Phillips on 26 January.
New records were set as choreographer and dancer, Akram Khan, became the first to win a sixth NDA, picking up this year’s for Best Modern Choreography for Dust, his work for English National Ballet that was part of its Lest We Forget programme. Christopher Wheeldon became the first to win five awards in the same category, winning the Best Classical Choreography Award for The Winter’s Tale for the Royal Ballet.
Natalia Osipova and Jonathan Goddard became the first dancers to pick up two awards at the same ceremony: Osipova won the category of Outstanding Female Performance (Classical) for her performance as Giselle for the Royal Ballet, and Goddard won the Outstanding Male Performance (Modern) for his portrayal of Dracula for Mark Bruce Company (which won Best Independent Company). Both dancers were consequently named Best Dancers of 2014. 2014 marked Goddard’s second collection of The Dancing Times Best Male Dancer, a record-breaking fourth time as Grishko Best Female Dancer for Osipova.
The De Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement was presented by Darcey Bussell to Carlos Acosta in recognition of his outstanding career as a dancer and a producer, and The Outstanding Company of 2014 went to English National Ballet. The Outstanding Male Performance (Classical) was won by Xander Parish, the British dancer who left the Royal Ballet to join the Mariinsky Ballet, for his performances of George Balanchine’s Apollo. The Outstanding Female Performance (Modern) went to Wendy Houstoun, for her one-woman show, Pact with Pointlessness, inspired by the death of choreographer, Nigel Charnock.
The Dance Section of the Critics’ Circle introduced a new award for 2014 to recognise emerging artists, and this was won by upcoming Royal Ballet soloist, Francesca Hayward, notably for her performances of Ashton repertoire. The awards completely celebrate and encompass the talent of the dance industry, both from home-based companies and many touring ensembles from overseas. The next National Dance Awards are scheduled to be held in London on 25 January 2016.