David Dawson
Milagro Elstak

David Dawson

Associate artist

British choreographer David Dawson (1972, London, United Kingdom) is one of today’s leading ballet choreographers. His creations shed new light on classical ballet technique and have been praised by critics and audiences worldwide. Dawson was a dancer with Dutch National Ballet from 1995 to 2000 and was resident choreographer with the company from 2004 to 2006. Since 2015, he has returned to the company as Artistic Associate, a position he has also held since 2020 with the Semperoper Ballett in Dresden. Previously, from 2007 to 2012, he had been resident choreographer with both Semperoper Ballett and Ballet Vlaanderen in Antwerp.

Dawson’s ballets have been performed in more than 25 countries and are in the repertoire of leading companies all over Europe and in America, Asia and Oceania, including The Royal Ballet and English National Ballet in London, Scottish Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, Staatsballett Berlin, Bayerisches Staatsballett in Munich, Ballet National de Marseille, Wiener Staatsballett, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre, West Australian Ballet and Royal New Zealand Ballet. Dawson was the first British choreographer to create a work for the legendary Mariinsky Ballet in St Petersburg, Reverence, for which he received the highest Russian theatre award, the Golden Mask Award.

In 2000, Dawson created his first large-scale work for Dutch National Ballet: A Million Kisses to My Skin. This was followed by a great many works for the company, which often received major nominations and awards. For instance, for The Grey Area (2002) he was nominated for the British Critics’ Circle National Dance Award. He also received nominations for the ‘Zwaan’ award for Most Impressive Dance Production for 00:00 (2004) and Overture (2013). For The Gentle Chapters (2006), Dawson was presented with both the Benois de la Danse Award and the Choo San Goh Award. Edo Wijnen, soloist with Dutch National Ballet, was nominated for the ‘Zwaan’ award for Most Impressive Dance Achievement for his solo role in Dawson’s Citizen Nowhere (2017) and won the Alexandra Radius Prize for the same role in 2018.

Recent creations by Dawson for Dutch National Ballet are the full-length Tristan + Isolde (2018) and Requiem (2019). In 2021, his work Metamorphosis had its online world premiere. Furthermore, the Dutch premiere of Dawson’s The Four Seasons, for which he was nominated for the Saxon Dance Prize, will take place as part of the Holland Festival 2021. In 2010, Dawson was also nominated for the British Critics’ Circle National Dance Award and the Benois de la Dance Award for Faun(e), which he created for English National Ballet. Besides Tristan + Isolde, his full-length works also include contemporary interpretations of Swan Lake (Scottish Ballet) and Giselle (Semperoper Ballett).

Dawson has been a jury member of the Prix Benois de la Danse in Moscow and the Dance Open International Ballet Festival in St Petersburg. In 2019, he was given the honorary title of Artistic Patron of Junior Ballet Antwerp and that of Choreographer Laureate with the European School of Ballet in Amsterdam.

  • 2019: Nominated for the Saxon Dance Prize for The Four Seasons
  • 2019: Nominated for the Isadora Duncan Award for Anima Animus
  • 2014: Nominated for the Critics' Circle National Dance Award for Best Classical Choreographer, for The human seasons
  • 2013: Nominated for the ‘Zwaan’ award for Most Impressive Dance Production, for Overture
  • 2010: Benois de la Danse for Best Choreographer, for Faun(e)
  • 2010: Nominated for the Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for Best Classical Choreographer, for Faun(e)
  • 2006: Golden Mask Award (Russia) for Reverence
  • 2006: Choo San Goh Choreography Award (China) for The Gentle Chapters
  • 2005: Nominated for the Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for Best Classical Choreographer, for The Grey Area
  • 2003: Benois de la Danse for Best Choreographer, for The Grey Area
  • 2003: Nominated for the ‘Zwaan’ award for Most Impressive Dance Production, for 00:00
  • 1992: Nominated Best Newcomer of the Season, Dance & Dancers magazine
  • 1991: Winner Prix de Lausanne (Switzerland)
  • 1991: Winner Alicia Markova Award

Photo: Oliver Look

Watch David Dawson's Metamorphosis for free on this page.