Russell Maliphant beats Matthew Bourne to choreography prize at National Dance Awards

A scene from The Talent by Ballet Boyz. Photo: Tristram Kenton
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Russell Maliphant has taken home the prize for best modern choreography at this year’s National Dance Awards, seeing off competition from Matthew Bourne, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Guilherme Botelho.

Maliphant won for Fallen, the piece he created for Ballet Boyz as part of the company’s touring group and show, The Talent.

At a ceremony held today at the Place in London, the dance section of the Critics’ Circle – which runs the awards - also presented Ballet Boyz with the prize for best independent company for The Talent.

The best classical choreography award went to Christopher Wheeldon for Aeternum at the Royal Ballet. Meanwhile the outstanding classical performance prizes were given to Nicolas Le Riche in the male category for Le Jeune Homme et la Mort with the English National Ballet, and Yuan Yuan Tan in the female group for RAkU at the San Francisco Ballet.

Julie Cunningham won the outstanding female modern performance for New Works 2012 with the Michael Clark Company, while Paul White took home the outstanding male modern performance for Meryl Tankard’s The Oracle.

Elsewhere at the awards, Rambert’s Dane Hurst won the title of best male dancer and Mikhailovsky Ballet’s Natalia Osipova was named best female dancer.

Special achievement awards were also presented to Matthew Bourne and Leanne Benjamin.

Graham Watts, chairman of the awards committee, said: “These awards are a celebration of brilliance amongst the rich diversity of dance forms. More than 200 nominations of companies, choreographers and performers were received from the dance critics and the 40 short-listed for the awards came from a wide spectrum, both geographically and by genre, including the breakthrough of three nominees from flamenco.”

The winners in full are:

Best male dancer

Dane Hurst (Rambert)


Best female dancer

Natalia Osipova (Mikhailovsky Ballet and guest artist, Royal Ballet and Bolshoi Ballet)


Outstanding company

Mikhailovsky Ballet


Best classical choreography

Christopher Wheeldon (Aeternum for Royal Ballet)


Best modern choreography

Russell Maliphant (Fallen for Ballet Boyz the Talent)


Outstanding female performance classical

Yuan Yuan Tan (in RAkU for San Francisco Ballet)


Outstanding male performance classical

Nicolas Le Riche (in Le Jeune Homme et la Mort for English National Ballet)


Outstanding female performance modern

Julie Cunningham (in New Works 2012 for Michael Clark Company)


Outstanding male performance modern

Paul White (in The Oracle, Meryl Tankard)


Best independent company

Ballet Boyz, for The Talent


Awards for outstanding achievement

Leanne Benjamin

Matthew Bourne


Industry award

Amanda Chinn, general manager of Scottish Dance Theatre