Olga Smirnova and Young Gyu Choi in Raymonda

Olga Smirnova & Young Gyu Choi nominated for Critics’ Choice 2022 ‘Dancer of the Year’ 

5 October 2022

Dutch National Ballet is rewarded with 21 mentions in various categories in the Critics’ Choice of renowned dance magazine Dance Europe for the 2021/2022 international dance season, including ‘Dancer of the Year’, ‘Company of the Year’, ‘Director of the Year’, ‘Best Premiere’, and ‘Outstanding Dance Performance’.


Dancer of the Year

Principals Olga Smirnova and Young Gyu Choi are both nominated in the ‘Dancer of the Year’ category. In this category, an international jury nominates a total of 12 outstanding dancers from around the world. All nominees then compete for the ‘Dancer of the Year’ audience award. The public can vote throughout October. Maia Makhateli, principal at Dutch National Ballet, won the competition's first edition in 2020.

On September 30, 2022, Young Gyu Choi received the Zwaan for the most impressive dance performance for his role in Toer van Schayk's 7th Symphony.



All dancers nominated in the ‘Dancer of the Year’ category are in the running for the audience award. The public can cast their vote via e-mail or text message throughout the month of October. You can vote as well!

  • E-mail: media@danceeurope.net
  • Text message: +44(0)7542770072
  • Mention the name of the dancer you wish to vote for
  • Mention your own name and e-mail address/phone number


Company and Director of the Year

Three members of the twelve-member Critics’ Choice jury named Dutch National Ballet ‘Company of the Year’ and Ted Brandsen ‘Director of the Year’.


Outstanding performance by female and male dancers 

In the categories ‘Outstanding performance by a female dancer’ and ‘Outstanding performance by a male dancer’, there are honourable mentions for Maia Makhateli in Raymonda and Voorbij GegaanAnna Ol in Trois Gnossiennes and Adagio Hammerklavier, for Olga Smirnova in Raymonda, Edo Wijnen in Concertante, Giorgi Potskhisvili in Two Gold Variations and Young Gyu Choi as Abd al-Rahman in Raymonda.


Best Premieres

Raymonda by Rachel Beaujean is mentioned three times in the ‘Best Premieres’ category. Toer van Schayk's Lucifer Studies and Wubkje Kuindersma's Anatomy of Light also get a mention.


Name to watch

Mila Nicolussi Caviglia of the Junior Company is mentioned as a ‘Name to watch’.

The Critics’ Choice 2022 was compiled by a 12-member jury of editors writing for Dance Europe and other international (dance) publications. Each member of the jury constructed a personal list including the best dancer, dancers who have given outstanding performances, the best company, best director and the best new productions of the past dance season.

Photocredits: left Altin Kaftira / right Marc Haegeman