Royal Ballet rules the Critics' Circle National Dance awards

Company picks up four prizes in the annual celebration of the best in UK dance

The Royal Ballet has triumphed at this year's Critics' Circle National Dance awards, picking up four gongs in the annual critics' pick of the best in UK dance.

Royal Ballet dancers Edward Watson, Martin Harvey and Yuhui Choe won in the best male, classical male and classical female categories respectively, while the company also received the best classical choreography award for commissioning Christopher Wheeldon's Electric Counterpoint.

The English National Ballet also performed well, honoured with the Dance Europe award for outstanding company. The company's principal ballerina, Agnes Oaks, who is set to retire at the end of the season, beat the Royal Ballet's Sarah Lamb and New York City Ballet's Wendy Whelan to the prize for best female dancer.

Although the New York Times recently judged Sadler's Wells to be the most important dance venue in the world, the London theatre only won in the best modern choreography category – a shortlist it dominated – with a new work by Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter. Entitled In Your Rooms, Shechter's ambitious three-part production appeared at three of the capital's major dance venues: Sadler's Wells, the Place and the Southbank Centre. Kate Coyne, a regular performer at the Wells, picked up the award for modern female.

The youth-focused Billy Elliot award, created to recognise "the vigour and variety" of British dancers aged 11-16, was awarded to Michael Guihot-Jouffray, a ballet and tap dancer from the June Glennie School of Dance.

Speaking at the ceremony this lunchtime, the patron of the awards, Beryl Grey, said: "This year's nominations demonstrate the scale and diversity of dance in this country and the contribution of exciting visitors to our shores from Russia and China." She added that the success of the awards over the last nine years had "confirmed the huge and ever-increasing popularity of dance in the UK".

The awards are judged by the dance section of the Critics' Circle, bringing together more than 50 dance writers from a variety of publications.

Full list of winners at the Critics' Circle National Dance awards

De Valois award for outstanding achievement in dance

Richard Alston – artistic director, Richard Alston Dance Company

Dancing Times award for best male dancer

Edward Watson – Royal Ballet

Richard Sherrington award for best female dancer

Agnes Oaks – English National Ballet

Dance Europe award for outstanding company

English National Ballet

Best classical choreography

Christopher Wheeldon for Electric Counterpoint - Royal Ballet

Best modern choreography

Hofesh Shechter for In Your Rooms

Patron's award

Northern Ballet Theatre – received by NBT artistic director, David Nixon, from NDA patron, Beryl Grey

Artsworld Presentations award for best foreign dance company

New York City Ballet

Spotlight award: classical male

Martin Harvey – Royal Ballet

Spotlight award: classical female

Yuhui Choe – Royal Ballet

Spotlight award: modern male

Anh Ngoc Nguyen – Wayne McGregor / Random Dance

Spotlight award: modern female

Kate Coyne – Michael Clark Company and freelance

Working Title Billy Elliot award

Michael Guihot-Jouffray

Dance UK industry award

Janet Smith – Scottish Dance Theatre


Nosheen Iqbal

The GuardianTramp

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