David Dawson (choreographer)

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David Dawson, (born 4 March 1972) is a British choreographer.

Education and dance career[edit]

Born in London, David Dawson began to dance at the age of 7 and received his early training at Rona Hart School of Dance and the Arts Educational School. He graduated from the Royal Ballet School,[1] where he was trained in dance and choreography.

In 1991 he received the Alicia Markova Award, won the Prix de Lausanne and was offered a contract by the Birmingham Royal Ballet. Under the direction of Sir Peter Wright he performed leading roles in all the classical repertoire as well as in ballets by Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Sir Frederick Ashton, Sir Peter Wright and David Bintley. He was nominated as Best Newcomer of the Season by 'Dance & Dancers' magazine in 1992.[citation needed]

In 1994, he joined the English National Ballet under the direction of Derek Deane as a soloist. A year later moved to Amsterdam to perform with Wayne Eagling's Dutch National Ballet. Here Dawson was able to continue dancing in classical productions as well as explore more neo-classical and modern repertoire in the works of George Balanchine, Rudi van Dantzig and Hans van Manen. Dawson worked with choreographers and created roles in new ballets by Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Glen Tetley, Twyla Tharp, Christopher Bruce, Wayne Eagling, Ted Brandsen, Mauro Bigonzetti, Itzik Gallili, Redha, Christopher D'Amboise.

Subsequently, he joined Ballett Frankfurt, where he worked with William Forsythe and performed for two more years before deciding to devote his time to creating his own new works.[1] Dawson ended his dance career in 2002.[2]

Choreographic career[edit]

Dawson choreographed his first ballet in 1997, while with the Dutch National Ballet. Its then artistic director Wayne Eagling encouraged him to create for the company’s choreographic workshop. This experience resulted in Dawson's first major creation for the main company, A Million Kisses to my Skin, in 2000.

He received the Prix Benois de la Danse in 2003 for choreography and nominated for the UK Critics’ Circle National Dance Award as Best Classical Choreographer for The Grey Area. His process of choreographing this ballet was vividly illustrated in Tim Couchman's film 'The Grey Area' in Creation. Dawson created Reverence for the Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet for which he was awarded Russia's highest theatre prize for visual art, the Golden Mask Award, as Best Choreographer.[3] By doing so he became the first British choreographer to create a ballet for this legendary company. He received the Choo San Goh Award for Choreography for The Gentle Chapters and was nominated for the highest dance prize of the Netherlands, The Golden Swan Award, as Best Choreographer for 00:00. For his re-imagining of Faun(e), created for the English National Ballet's Ballets Russes Festival at the Sadler’s Wells in London, Dawson was nominated Best Classical Choreographer for the UK Critics’ Circle National Dance Award[4] and the Prix Benois de la Danse Choreography Award in 2010. David Dawson and his Faun(e) were featured in the BBC documentary For Art’s Sake: The Story of the Ballets Russes.

Dawson has created numerous ballets internationally, including his full-length Giselle, which had its world premiere at the Semperoper. Amongst other significant works are day4, On the Nature of Daylight, The World According to Us, Morning Ground, Das Verschwundene|The Disappeared, A Sweet Spell of Oblivion, dancingmadlybackwards, and his highly acclaimed[citation needed] timelapse/(Mnemosyne) and The Third Light.

Between 2004[2] and 2012 David Dawson was resident choreographer for the Dutch National Ballet, the Dresden Semperoper Ballet and the Royal Ballet of Flanders.[1] His creations have been introduced to the repertoires of the Boston Ballet, Ballet National de Marseilles, Het (Dutch) Nationale Ballet, Dresden SemperOper Ballett, English National Ballet, Finnish National Ballet, Hungarian National Ballet, Norwegian National Ballet, Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre, West Australian Ballet, Aalto Ballet Theatre Essen, Slovenian National Ballet, Ballet du Capitole, Vienna State Opera Ballet. Dawson’s works have been performed in more than 25 countries and have entered repertoires of many ballet companies.

This season David Dawson will be creating world premieres for two companies he has a special connection with. On 15 June 2013 a new creation to a commissioned score by Szymon Brzoska will be premiered with the Dutch National Ballet during the Holland Festival, and on 10 July 2013 Dawson will present his Opus.11 to music by Greg Haines at the Semperoper in Germany.

Choreographic style[edit]

Dawson's work is based in the vocabulary of classical ballet and, though Dawson disagrees with the association,[5] is often said to be influenced by William Forsythe.[1][6][7] Dawson's website claims that his "personal choreographic style transforms classical ballet in new ways, and his signature works are atmospheric, emotionally physical, abstract/narrative pieces that have been praised by critics and audiences worldwide." He is quoted as saying that he is inspired by "everything that has ever existed and everything that exists now."[8]

Anna Tihomirova and Artem Ovcharenko (Bolshoi Ballet), "The Grey Area", Moscow, 2012


  • 2015 - Empire Noir
  • 2015 - Tristan + Isolde
  • 2013 - The Human Seasons
  • 2013 - Opus.11
  • 2013 - 5
  • 2013 - Overture
  • 2012 - day4
  • 2011 - somewhere music is playing...
  • 2011 - timelapse/(Mnemosyne)
  • 2010 - dancingmadlybackwards
  • 2010 - The Third Light
  • 2009 - Faun(e)
  • 2009 - The World According to Us
  • 2008 - Giselle
  • 2007 - On the Nature of Daylight
  • 2007 - A Sweet Spell of Oblivion
  • 2006 - Das Verschwundene|The Disappeared
  • 2006 - The Gentle Chapters
  • 2005 - Reverence
  • 2004 - Morning Ground
  • 2004 - 00:00
  • 2002 - The Grey Area
  • 2000 - A Million Kisses to my Skin
  • 1999 - Psychic Whack
  • 1998 - Step|Study
  • 1998 - Scenes from an Interview
  • 1997 - Born Slippy


  • 2014 - UK Critics' Circle National Dance Nominee as Best Classical Choreographer for the creation of The Human Seasons (The winners will be announced at a lunchtime ceremony to be held at a central London venue on Monday, 26 January 2015)
  • 2013 - Golden Swan Award Nominee for Best New Production in The Netherlands for the creation of Overture
  • 2010 - Prix Benois de la Danse Choreography Nominee as Best Choreographer for the creation of Faun(e)
  • 2010 - UK Critics’ Circle National Dance Award Nominee as Best Classical Choreographer for the creation of Faun(e)
  • 2006 - Golden Mask Award (Russian Federation) Winner as Best Choreographer for the creation of Reverence
  • 2006 - Choo San Goh Choreography Award Winner for the creation of The Gentle Chapters
  • 2005 - UK Critics’ Circle National Dance Award Nominee as Best Classical Choreographer for The Grey Area
  • 2003 - Prix Benois de la Danse Choreography Winner for Best Choreographer for the creation of The Grey Area
  • 2003 - Golden Swan Award Nominee for Best New Production in The Netherlands for the creation of 00:00
  • 1992 - Best Newcomer of the Season Nominee by Dance & Dancers magazine
  • 1991 - Prix de Lausanne Winner
  • 1991 - Alicia Markova Award Winner


  1. ^ a b c d Sulcas, Roslyn (11 November 2013). "British Choreographer Brings New Work Home to Royal Ballet". New York Times. New York City, United States. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Frater, Sarah (14 December 2007). "Great Leap Forward: Innovators Expand The World of Dance". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 15 February 2013. 
  3. ^ "Winners Of The Golden Mask Award In 2006" (Press release). Golden Mask. Retrieved 15 February 2013. 
  4. ^ "The 2009 Winner is Wayne McGregor" (Press release). National Dance Awards Critics' Circle. Retrieved 15 February 2013. 
  5. ^ Lo Sin Sjoe, Brian (12 June 2013). "DAVID DAWSON: "Overture" is about the awesomeness of nature". Theater Explorer. blogspot.com. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Monahan, Mark (31 December 2008). "Stars who will shine in 2009 - Dance: David Dawson". The Telegraph. Retrieved 15 February 2013. 
  7. ^ Sulcas, Roslyn (30 May 2013). "A Fresh Era of Wit and Innovation in Ballet". New York Times. New York City, United States. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "Interview with Choreographer David Dawson" (Press release). Base Now. 25 November 2009. Retrieved 15 February 2013. 

External links[edit]