Hon Gen Sec
While there are Baftas, Oscars, Tonys and Grammys for actors and musicians, there is only the Critics Circle Dance Awards for the extreme technical skill of standing on points and doing the splits. Thus the Critics’ Circle Dance Awards are also the National and there is no further honour before a Dame or Knighthood. There are a few of those of course and Dame Beryl Grey duly received the Dame Ninette de Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement. Those who didn’t know were told Dame Beryl was 14 in 1941 and left to do the math themselves. She’d been a de Valois protegee, and 60 years ago, with an international career already underway, she was the first Briton to dance as guest with the Bolshoi and Kirov companies. The award was presented by Dame Monica Mason, a former Director of the Royal Ballet, who called the first Dame ‘a national treasure’, which indeed she is.
No one should think, however, that the Critics Circle National Dance Awards are restricted to classical ballet, although the winner of the Outstanding Male Performer (Modern) did offer ‘deep deep pliees to you all’ in accepting. Dame Beryl herself said she was amazed at the unclassical moves which young dancers now execute, incredible choreography traceable to every part of the globe as the video clips of the nominees showed. The full list of winners is under the Dance menu of this website. The range of names is testament to London as a world centre of dance, a reputation it has earned through the cultural dissemination pioneered by Dame Beryl and others, which produced such progressive art in the twentieth century and beyond. It would be a disaster if the twenty-first were now to regress.
Enquiries about the Critics' Circle should be made to the Hon Gen Sec Rick Jones by email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 020 8698 2460.