The Emerging Dancer finalists with Artistic Director Tamara Rojo, Photo by ASH

English National Ballet Announces Winners of Emerging Dancer 2019

Having performed the Flames of Paris pas de deux with partner Rentaro Nakaaki and Untitled Code, a solo by choreographed by Rambert dancer Miguel Altunaga, Julia Conway was announced as winner on stage at Sadler’s Wells and livestreamed to audiences across the world last night (Tuesday 7 May 2019) by Artistic Director of English National Ballet, Tamara Rojo. Of winning the 2019 Emerging Dancer Award, Julia said: “I’m really surprised and honoured to be chosen as the 2019 Emerging Dancer. I think we’re all winners in the end just for being voted as finalists and to have been given the opportunity to perform this evening.

“I want to say a big thank you to my mentors, I couldn’t have done any of this without them. They helped me mentally overcome challenges as well as physically prepare me for the evening. The choreographer for my solo, Miguel Altunaga, pushed me and we achieved something amazing, I’m just so proud.

“My mum was in the audience and my sister tuned into the livestream, it’s lovely to be able to share this moment with them.”

Julia Conway and Rentaro Nakaaki dancing Flames of Paris, Photo by Laurent Liotardo

The evening also saw Eireen Evrard named as the recipient of the Corps de Ballet Award acknowledging her exceptional work over the last year, while Rhys Antoni Yeomans was awarded the People’s Choice Award, as voted for by members of the public.

Of winning the People’s Choice Award, Rhys Antoni Yeomans said: “I’m so surprised to receive this award, it means an incredible amount that the public have been voting throughout to year and have appreciated my work this season. It really is going to spur me on for the next season and I can’t thank everyone enough.”

Shale Wagman performing Grand Pas Classique Photo by Laurent Liotardo

Of winning the Corps de Ballet Award, Eireen Evrard said: “I’m shocked but so happy, I had no idea! It means a lot – the corps de ballet work so hard, every single show, and sometimes it’s hard to keep yourself going through the long runs, so this award is a great acknowledgement of that commitment and I’m so happy to receive this year.”


Rhys Antoni Yeomans performing In The Middle Somewhat Elevated Photo by Laurent Liotardo

Celebrating 10 years, Emerging Dancer allows English National Ballet to recognise the excellence of its artists. Tamara Rojo CBE, Artistic Director of English National Ballet was joined on the judging panel by Sarah Wildor, Mavin Khoo, Carrie-Anne Ingrouille, Gerald Dowler and Michael Coleman.

Alice Bellini performing Grand Pas Classique, Photo by Laurent Liotardo

Tamara Rojo CBE, Artistic Director of English National Ballet said: “They are all winners because they all progressed so much during the process of Emerging Dancer, but I feel what set Julia apart is the security she had on stage. Both in the classical work and the contemporary – she seemed to have a presence beyond her years. The decision from the panel was unanimous, and much deserved – congratulations to Julia.”

The other finalists this year were Alice Bellini, Emilia Cadorin, Rentaro Nakaaki, Shale Wagman and Rhys Antoni Yeomans.

Shale Wagman performing Peculiar Mind, Photo by Laurent Liotardo
Emerging Dancer 2019 finalists, winners and judges, Photo by ASH

Previous winners of the Emerging Dancer Award include Shiori Kase (2011), and Junor Souza (2014), who have since been promoted to Principal and First Soloist respectively, Alison McWhinney (2014) who went on to be promoted to First Soloist, and 2017 joint winners, Aitor Arrieta and Rina Kanehara who have been promoted to Soloist and Junior Soloist respectively. Last year’s winner Daniel McCormick highlights this season have included dancing the role of Lescaut in Manon, Nutcracker in Nutcracker and the pas de trois in Derek Deane’s Swan Lake.

Dance for You Magazine will publish its Emerging Dancer 2019 review by Deborah Weiss in the next print issue end of May.