Northern Ballet Premier Dancer wins National Dance Award

Press release date 
Mon 24 Jan 2011

Martha Leebolt, Premier Dancer with Leeds-based Northern Ballet, has scooped a top accolade at the National Dance Awards, announced at Sadler's Wells in London today.

Martha won the award for Outstanding Female Performance (Classical) for her performance as the Marquise de Merteuil in Dangerous Liaisons, choreographed by Northern Ballet's Artistic Director, David Nixon OBE. She was nominated alongside Crystal Costa (English National Ballet) and Akane Takada (The Royal Ballet).

Martha has been dancing with Northern Ballet since 2001 and has performed numerous leading roles. She is currently creating the eponymous role in David Nixon's new production, Cleopatra, which will première in Leeds in February.

Martha said, "This award is not only a personal chievement for me but also one for Northern Ballet. We are a unique and close-knit group that has a built-in support for one another. Our achievements are made as a team."

Following Martha's award David Nixon presented the award for Outstanding Male Performance (Classical) to Vadim Muntagirov from English National Ballet.

Northern Ballet has received a number of nominations and awards from the Critics' Circle over the years. The Company won the coveted Patron's Award in 2009, which is given to an individual or organisation that has significantly furthered the cause of dance in the UK. Northern Ballet also won the Audience Award for three consecutive years (2004, 2005 and 2006), the only award voted for by the public, and in 2009 Premier Dancer Tobias Batley was nominated for a Critic's Circle National Dance Award in the categry of Outstanding Male Performance (Classical) for his portrayal of Anthony, the leading male role in David Nixon's Swan Lake.

The Critics' Circle National Dance Awards celebrate the vigour and variety of Britain's thriving dance culture. They are the only professional awards in the UK dedicated to dance and are presented by the Dance Section of the Critics' Circle, which brings together more than 50 dance writers. The National Dance Awards were established by the Critics' Circle in 2000 to highlight the astonishing range of dance on offer in the UK.