London, UK. 19.02.2020. The Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards 2019 took place at The Barbican and were presented by Miguel Altunaga and Mara Galeazzi Miguel Altunaga and Mara Galeazzi hosts of NDA 2019. Photo - © Foteini Christofilopoulou.

The 21st National Dance Awards – #NDA21

Announcement of Nominations

The Dance Section of the Critics’ Circle is pleased to announce the short-listed nominations for the National Dance Awards (#NDA21)

Due to the impact of the pandemic, the qualifying period for performances, both live in the UK and digital (available in the UK) was extended by four months to between 1 September 2019 and 31 December 2020.  

The Committee of the National Dance Awards is delighted to recognise the sponsors of this year’s awards, without whose support the awards would not be possible. This year’s confirmed sponsors are Dancing Times, Dansez, Harlequin Floors, Irving and Olga David, Lee McLernon, Marquee TV, Stef Stefanou, Tendu, The Ballet Association, The L&M Trust and The Critics’ Circle

Four new awards have been introduced this year to recognise the dance sector’s response to the pandemic:

  • Best Company Response to the Pandemic
  • Best Digital Choreography
  • Best Dance Film
  • Best Short Dance Film

The shortlisted nominees are taken from nominations made by the members of the Dance Section of the Critics’ Circle, thirty of whom participated in the judging process this year.

In total there were 456 companies, choreographers, performers and other creative artists nominated (up from 418 in 2019) from which the shortlisted nominees are:


Matthew Ball (The Royal Ballet)

Jeffrey Cirio (English National Ballet)

César Morales (Birmingham Royal Ballet) 

Vadim Muntagirov (The Royal Ballet)

Marcelino Sambé (The Royal Ballet)

BEST FEMALE DANCER  (sponsored by Tendu)

Alina Cojocaru (English National Ballet)

Lauren Cuthbertson (The Royal Ballet)

Simone Damberg Würtz (Rambert)

Marianela Nuñez (The Royal Ballet)

Anna Rose O’Sullivan (The Royal Ballet)


Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Northern Ballet

Richard Alston Dance Company

The Royal Ballet

Scottish Ballet

BEST INDEPENDENT COMPANY (sponsored by Marquee TV)   

2Faced Dance

Acosta Danza    

Boy Blue Entertainment       

Rhiannon Faith Company 

Scottish Dance Theatre   

BEST CLASSICAL CHOREOGRAPHY (sponsored by The Ballet Association)

Cathy Marston for The Cellist (The Royal Ballet)

Kenneth Tindall for Geisha (Northern Ballet)

Kenneth Tindall for The Shape of Sound (Northern Ballet) 

Will Tuckett for Lazuli Sky (Birmingham Royal Ballet)

Valentino Zucchetti for Scherzo (The Royal Ballet)

BEST MODERN CHOREOGRAPHY (sponsored by Harlequin Floors)

Michael Keegan-Dolan for MÁM (Teać Damsa)

Dada Masilo for Giselle (Dada Masilo)

Crystal Pite & Jonathon Young for Revisor  (Kidd Pivot)

Luca Silvestrini for The Little Prince (Luca Silvestrini’s Protein)

Gisèle Vienne for Crowd (Gisèle Vienne/Dance Umbrella) 

EMERGING ARTIST AWARD (sponsored by The L&M Trust)

Aitor Arrieta (First Soloist, English National Ballet)

Jerome Anthony Barnes (Soloist, Scottish Ballet) 

Leo Dixon (First Artist, The Royal Ballet)

Azara Meghie (Multi-disciplinary Artist)

Arielle Smith (Choreographer)


Jemima Brown in Step Sonic  (Tom Dale Company)

Oona Doherty in Hope Hunt (and the ascension into Lazarus)  (Oona Doherty/Dance Umbrella)

Dana Fouras in MaliphantWorks3 (Russell Maliphant Dance Company)

Rachel Poirier in MÁM (Teać Damsa)


Dane Hurst in Staging Schiele  (Shobana Jeyasingh Dance)

Llewellyn Mnguni as Myrtha in Giselle (Dada Masilo)

Guillaume Quéau in Draw From Within (Rambert)

Kenrick H20 Sandy in REDD (Boy Blue Entertainment)

Jermaine Spivey in Revisor (Kidd Pivot)


Begoña Cao in Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan (Viviana Durante Company)

Lauren Cuthbertson in The Cellist (The Royal Ballet)

Momoko Hirata in the title role as Giselle (Birmingham Royal Ballet)

Fumi Kaneko as Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty (The Royal Ballet)

Beatriz Stix-Brunel in The Cellist  (The Royal Ballet)


Matthew Ball as Lensky in Onegin (The Royal Ballet)

William Bracewell in Dances at a Gathering (The Royal Ballet)

Jeffrey Cirio as Conrad in Le Corsaire (English National Ballet)

César Morales as Albrecht in Giselle (Birmingham Royal Ballet)

Marcelino Sambé as the Instrument in The Cellist (The Royal Ballet) 


Koen Kessels (Conductor; Music Director, The Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet)

John Macfarlane (Artist and Designer) 

Frank Moon (Composer and Musician)

Jess and Morgs (Film-makers)

Jeannie Steele/ Philip Selway  (Celebrating Merce Cunningham’s Centenary)


Birmingham Royal Ballet

Dutch National Ballet

English National Ballet

New York City Ballet


Scottish Ballet


Rhiannon Faith for Drowntown Lockdown (Rhiannon Faith Company)

Jessica Lang for Ghost Variations (Pacific Northwest Ballet)

Stina Quagebeur for Take Five Blues (English National Ballet)

Arielle Smith for Jolly Folly (English National Ballet)

Wim Vandekeybus for Draw From Within (Rambert) 

BEST DANCE FILM (sponsored by Marquee TV)   

English National Ballet for the five new films in their digital season* *Laid in Earth/ Echoes/ Senseless Kindness/ Jolly Folly/ Take Five Blues

Paul Lightfoot and Sol Léon for Standby/She Remembers

Michael Nunn and William Trevitt for Romeo and Juliet Beyond Words

Alice Pennefather for her dance films in the Summer Shorts Festival** **Dreams of Giverny/The Sun is God/Esprit du Jardin/In Her Hands

 Scottish Ballet for The Secret Theatre

BEST SHORT DANCE FILM  (sponsored by Irving  & Olga David)

Alleyne Dance for (Re)United  (Alleyne Dance)

Corey Baker Dance for Swan Lake Bath Ballet (Corey Baker Dance) 

Sophie Laplane for Indoors (Scottish Ballet)

Lost Dog for In a Nutshell  (Lost Dog)

Christopher Wheeldon for Boléro (The Royal Ballet)                 

The winners will be announced at an online ceremony to be streamed on Sunday, 27th June 2021.

The event will also play host to the De Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement for which there are no prior nominations.   

Once again, The Royal Ballet tops the list with a record total of 18 nominations (up from 15 in 2019), followed by English National Ballet (9), Birmingham Royal Ballet (6), Scottish Ballet (5) and Rambert (4). 

The Chair of the National Dance Awards, Graham Watts, said: “This has been a terrible year for the arts and dance and dancers have suffered from the enforced absence of live performance. A streak of a silver lining has been in the innovative and enthusiastic way in which dance has adapted to utilising a digital outlet in a significant way. This has opened the opportunity for critics in the UK to see companies from overseas without stepping onto an aeroplane or Eurostar and, as a consequence, we are delighted to include nominees from Dutch National Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater, New York City Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet based upon their digital output, alongside the recognition of Alvin Ailey’s American Dance Theater for their live performances at Sadler’s Wells back in September 2019. There has certainly been no absence of dance talent to enjoy during these dark days of closed theatres.”  

The National Dance Awards have been organised by the Dance Section of the Critics’ Circle in each year of this Millennium to celebrate the vigour and variety of Britain’s thriving dance culture. They are presented by the Dance Section of the Critics’ Circle, which brings together over 60 dance writers and critics. They are the only awards given by the body of professional dance critics in the UK.  

The Awards Committee wishes to express grateful thanks to our sponsors, without whom the event would not be possible; to the body of dance critics across the UK for giving their time to ensure the best possible list of nominees; and, above all, the companies, choreographers and performers for providing such a rich variety of choice.  

To discuss opportunities to sponsor the National Dance Awards contact the Chairman, Graham Watts, on or +44 (0) 7710 057252. 

For further information contact:

Graham Watts – Chairman – +44 (0) 7710 057252 –;

Deborah Weiss – Honorary Secretary  –

twitter: @NatDanceAwards #NDA21

Instagram: @national_dance_awards #NDA21

Facebook: National Dance Awards #NDA21

Featured image – Copyright Foteini Christofilopoulou – Miguel Altunaga and Mara Galeazzi – hosts of #NDA20