Carlos Acosta has been awarded the 2018 Critics’ Circle Award for services to the arts – only the third person from the dance world to win the accolade.
He was presented the prize by Critics’ Circle president Mark Shenton and becomes the first person of colour to win the award. The award was created in 1988, with Peter Hall the inaugural recipient.
The award is the Critics’ Circle’s highest honour. Dance figures Alicia Markova and Matthew Bourne were awarded the honour in 2000 and 2016 respectively.
Graham Watts, who chairs the dance section, described Acosta as a “trailblazer all his career”.
“I doubt that Carlos ever set out to be a trailblazer. But, in almost everything that he has done, Carlos – a man who is himself innately humble – has been a true pioneer,” he added.
Acosta, born in Havana, trained at the National Ballet School of Cuba, and was a principal with the Royal Ballet for 17 years. He was recently appointed as director of Birmingham Royal Ballet.
The Critics Circle award for services to the arts is voted for by more than 500 members of the Critics’ Circle across its six sections – music, dance, film, drama, visual arts and literary criticism.
The Critics’ Circle was founded in 1913.