David Nixon awarded an OBE in New Years Honours

December 31, 2009 at 10:30 am (Company News, General Information)

Northern Ballet Theatre’s (NBT) Artistic Director, David Nixon, has received an OBE for services to dance in the New Year Honours list announced today.

David has made a significant artistic contribution to narrative dance in the UK and has been instrumental to the continued growth and success of NBT since taking over as Artistic Director in 2001. His creative output is prolific; in the past nine years he has choreographed nine new full-length ballets for NBT. David is committed to taking the highest quality dance to audiences throughout the country, bringing together collaborators at the top of their field to create new ballets with exceptional production values. He has also placed great importance in providing opportunities for young people throughout the North of England to access high quality classical dance training without having to leave home through the expansion of NBT’s classical training programmes.

On hearing of his award David Nixon said: “I am overwhelmed that I have received this Honour. Coming at the end of NBT’s 40th Anniversary year it is the icing on the cake to a wonderful year for the Company and for me personally. I would like to thank everyone who endorsed my nomination, the team at NBT for their hard work and dedication and especially my wife, Yoko Ichino for her unwavering support.”

Dame Monica Mason, DBE, Director of The Royal Ballet supported David’s nomination: “David Nixon has made the most tremendous contribution to NBT and to classical dance in the UK. His energy and his capabilities are astonishing and he is held in the highest regard within the profession.”

Claude-Michel Schönberg, celebrated composer of Les Miserables and NBT’s Wuthering Heights added: “David Nixon creates new works with original stories, newly commissioned scores and innovative choreography; its modernity remaining accessible to a wide ranging public. His work reaches out to the British public, bringing culture to towns and cities far from the main cultural centres of the UK. In 20 years time a young British dancer will explain his vocation in the theatre as a result of attending, one night, the performance of a ballet by David Nixon in a small town where he grew up.”

The Honour is the latest in a string of awards recognising David’s work. David was voted Director of the Year by readers of Dance Europe in 2003 and 2006; he remains the only Artistic Director to ever have won the accolade twice. Under his Direction NBT received the audience award at the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards for three successive years (2004, 2005, 2006), this is the only award voted for by members of the public. In 2009 NBT received the Patron’s award recognising the work the Company has done to raise the profile of dance in the UK.

In 2010 NBT will move into a new purpose-built headquarters in central Leeds. Led by David’s vision the building will be a powerhouse for inventive dance and a leading centre for narrative dance research.

David Nixon started his career at the National Ballet School of Canada where he became a principal dancer. In 1985 he joined the Deutsche Oper Ballet in Berlin where he won the Critics Award for Best Male Performance.

Nixon left Berlin for a series of principal guest artist positions with National Ballet of Canada, Bayerisches Staatsballett, Munich and Royal Winnipeg Ballet before returning to Deutsche Oper Ballet in 1994 as first ballet master. David has also appeared as a guest artist for a number of international ballet companies including: Birmingham Royal Ballet, Hamburg Ballet, Sydney City Ballet and Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

In 1994 David became Artist Director of BalletMet in Columbus, Ohio USA and in 2001 Artistic Director of Northern Ballet Theatre in the UK.

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