11 Jan 2021
Next to keyworkers and healthcare staff, dance and the arts featured prominently in this year’s New Year's Honours list, recognising perhaps how valuable the arts really are especially in challenging times.
Important dance figures on the list include Phoenix Dance Theatre’s founder David Hamilton and the company’s former artistic director and LCDS alumna Sharon Watson, who served on our Board of Governors and is now principal of Northern School of Contemporary Dance, as well as One Dance UK’s chief executive Andrew Hurst. They were all given MBEs for services to Dance.
Choreographer Stuart Hopps, who set up the first honours degree in choreography at Trinity Laban, received an OBE for services to Dance, and Bob Lockyer, who shaped the dance programme at the BBC for 40 years, also received an OBE for services to dance and broadcasting. The outgoing director of BBC Arts, Jonty Claypole, who set up Culture in Quarantine Virtual Festival of Arts showcasing the arts in the UK during lockdown, was also recognised.
Choreographer Pietra De Mello-Pittman and composer Ella Spira, who co-founded the theatre company Sisters Grimm, received MBEs for services to International Trade and to the Creative Industry.
Aakash Odedra and Anand Bhatt, Co-Founders of Aakash Odedra Company were recognised with a British Empire Medal for services to dance and to the community in Leicester.
MBEs were awarded to movement and theatre director, choreographer and performance art artist Greta Mendez, Dr Harold George Patten (‘H’ Patten) for services to African and Caribbean Dance and Chitra Sundaram for services to the South Asian Dance Sector.
British Empire Medals were given to Margaret Campbell for Services to Pipe Bands and Sollus Highland Dancers and Catherine Sinnadurai for services to Dance Education, Training and Performance.
Other awards within the arts sector went to Elizabeth Crump, the National Strategic Lead of ‘What Next?’, a national movement of arts and cultural organisations, artists, funders, policy makers and individuals who come together regularly to articulate and strengthen the role of culture in society. Moira Sinclair, chief executive of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, has been given an OBE for services to Charity and the Arts
Caragh Merrick, Trustee and Chair of Finance Committee, Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, and David Nightingale, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kent who served on the Board of Governor of The Place for 11 years, were awarded OBEs for services to Higher Education.
Graeme Betts, Director of Adult Social Care in Birmingham City Council was awarded a CBE for services to Adult Social Care.
Seeing the breadth and diversity of the dance sector celebrated and so many incredible faces from across the dance and higher education sector being recognised, especially in such testing times, shows us again how invaluable dance and the arts are for the wellbeing of the entire nation. Many congratulations to all of you!