Sunday, 1 November 2015

Ballet Cymru Am Byth

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It is not often that my heart leaps when I see the nominations for the National Dance Awards but it did this time when I read that Ballet Cymru has been nominated for the best independent company award (see Judith Mackrell's National Dance Awards 2015 nominations: ice dance, flamenco and independent companies celebrated 29 Oct 2015 Guardian Dance Blog). I am very fond of that company. Last month I visited them at their studios in Newport (see Ballet Cymru at Home 5 Oct 2015). Next Friday I will be in Newport for the première of Traces Imprinted, the new work by Marc Brew, which will be performed with TIR and Celtic Concerto.

One of the reasons why I like Ballet Cymru is that they worked with wheelchair dancers and others in Stuck in the Mud. Marc Brew choreographed that work to a score by Jack White who has composed the music for Cinderella which you can hear above. Brew has also created work for Candoco Dance Company which has been nominated for the Outstanding Company award. That is another company that admire. Founded in 1991 it describes itself as "the company of disabled and non-disabled dancers". This is a company with first class productions which also manages to provide first class outreach opportunities for the general public. It is up against English National Ballet, New Adventures and Northern Ballet for that award. Even though I would normally support any of those three companies for that award I am rooting for Candoco on this occasion.

Three of my favourite male dancers, Steven McRae, Vadim Muntagirov and Ed Watson are up for the best male dancer category and I am conflicted because I cannot choose between them as I like them all. I have seen superb performances by all of them this year but the one that touched my heart was Muntagirov's pas de deux from Swan Lake with Daria Klimentova at Northern Ballet's Sapphire gala in Leeds on 14 March 2015 (see Sapphire 15 March 2015). I never thought I would ever see them dance together again and they were the highlight of my evening.

The choice is slightly easier for best female dancer. After seeing her Juliet in the Albert Hall last year it has to be Alina Cojocaru (see Romeo and Juliet in the Round - Saturday 14 June 2014 20 June 2014) though I am also a great fan of Alessandra Ferri and Marianela Nuñez. I am delighted to see Laura Morera in the outstanding female performance category for her role as Lise (see The Best Fille Ever 18 April 2015 and my flat footed attempt to congratulate the ballerina in Laura Morera 25 Aug 2015). I am also pleased for Eve Mutso to be nominated for her performance in A Streetcar Named Desire. I saw Luciana Ravizzi dance the role when I saw the ballet (see Scottish Ballet's Sreetcar 2 April 2015) but I have seen Mutso in other works this year and she never fails to delight me.

I would have expected Streetcar to have been nominated for best classical choreography as well as Darius James's Cinderella but what do I know? However, I was delighted to see nominations for David Bintley's The King Dances and William Bracewell's performance in that work. For me the performance of that work to celebrate Bintley's 20th anniversary as artistic director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet and its 25th anniversary in Birmingham was was one of the highlights of the year (see In Praise of Bintley 21 June 2015).

I am conscious that I have not mentioned a lot of people who deserve mention. As I come from the North of England I take particular pleasure in Kenneth Tindall's nomination for two categories as well as Northern Ballet's and Tobias Batley's for outstanding company and best male dancer respectively. I congratulate everyone and every company that has been nominated, I thank them all for their work and wish them all well for the future.

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