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About the Change

2007 - the results of's annual poll

Plus a look back 10 years to 1997.

Jane Simpson with a round up of now, and what was then....

2007 Poll entries

Comment on the results

Last Year's Poll Results

The 1997 Poll Results

It's 10 years since we first ran our annual poll, so we thought it might be interesting to have a look back at what you thought of 1997, as well as seeing who and what were this year's most popular. As usual, thanks to all who posted.

The Results

Best production overall: The Royal Ballet's Jewels

No doubt at all about this year's favourite production: Jewels came in handomely ahead of the competition. The Bolshoi's Don Quixote and the Birmingham Royal Ballet's revival of Edward II were next.

Best new production: English National Ballet's The Snow Queen

English National Ballet's admirers have really made their voices heard this year, and The Snow Queen had more votes than Jewels in this category. Two pieces by Christopher Wheeldon, DGV and Fool's Paradise came jointly third.

Best revival: English National Ballet's Giselle

Another hit for ENB, with Mary Skeaping's production of Giselle moving up from second last year to the top spot. It was followed by two Royal Ballet productions, Romeo and Juliet and Jewels.

Best staging: The Royal Ballet's Nutcracker

An old favourite which does well whenever it's in the repertoire. The Snow Queen came second, and English National Ballet's Swan Lake third.

Best home company: The Royal Ballet

The Royal Ballet has come top in this category every year, but this time - as you might guess from the results so far - with a much stronger challenge than usual from ENB.

Best visiting company: The Bolshoi Ballet

One of the biggest landslides we've ever had: no other company got more than one vote.

Best male dancer: Carlos Acosta

This is the fifth year Acosta has come top in this category: he's undoubtedly been the most popular male dancer in the lifetime of our poll. This time, though, he was only a couple of votes ahead of Edward Watson, with Johan Kobborg third.

Best female dancer: Elena Glurjidze of English National Ballet

Glurjidze has been getting more and more mentions in our posting pages over the last couple of years so this isn't entirely a surprise; but she's far less well known than any of our previous winners and it's good to see her recognised. She was followed by three previous winners :Alina Cojocaru came next, with Marianela Nunez and Zenaida Yanowsky jointly third.

Best partnership: Agnes Oaks and Thomas Edur

... breaking, at last, the long reign of Cojocaru and Kobborg, who have owned this category for the last four years. They were third this time (still quite an achievement, given how few performances they actually did together), with Mara Galeazzi and Edward Watson in second place.

Most promising male dancer: Steven McRae of the Royal Ballet, yet again.

This is McRae's third year as 'most promising': will 2008 be the year he starts getting votes in the 'best' category? Zachary Faruque (RB) came second, and the Bolshoi's Ivan Vasiliev third.

Most promising female dancer: Yuhui Choe of the Royal Ballet

A lot of support for Choe, who was way ahead of ENB's Asta Bazeviciute in second place.

Worst production: Carlos Acosta and his friends from Cuba at Sadler's Wells

Many people are too kind-hearted to vote in this category, but those who did came out against Acosta's latest venture - sad, after his show with Royal Ballet dancers won the 'Best staging' category last year. La Scala's Sleeping Beauty was the next least liked.


Darcey Bussell's farewell

It's clear from the 'Special Mentions' comments that Bussell's farewell performances affected many people deeply. Surprisingly, perhaps, the only time she came top of our 'Best Female Dancer' category was in a triple tie with Guillem and Rojo back in the year 2000; but there's never been any doubt about the breadth of her popularity, and she certainly went out on a high. Gary Avis's support for her, and Belinda Hatley's retirement on the same evening, also came in for a lot of notice.

The Bolshoi

The whole of the Bolshoi's Coliseum season was a huge success, but there were two performances which dominated people's comments: Carlos Acosta in Spartacus, and the brilliant young pair Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev in Don Quixote.

English National Ballet

This was undoubtedly ENB's best showing since our poll has been running - people obviously think they are in fine shape, and it can only be good to see the Royal Ballet getting some real competition.

Looking back

It's hard to believe it's really 10 years since we first ran this poll. 1997 was the year the Royal Opera House closed for rebuilding, and Sadler's Wells was also closed - a state of affairs it's hard to imagine now.

The Kirov's productions and dancers took many of the top honours then, with Igor Zelensky 'Best Male Dancer' and Altinai Asylmuratova tying with the RB's Miyako Yoshida as 'Best Female Dancer'. Viviana Durante and Irek Mukhamedov won the 'Best Partnership' category, and then went on to win it twice more, as well as taking the individual categories between them in 1998.

We didn't introduce the 'Most Promising' categoires till our second year. Since then, Zenaida Yanowsky and Maranela Nunez have gone from winning at that level to taking the 'Best' prize, but so far none of the young men who've featured as promising has yet made the leap to the more senior level. (Edward Watson nearly made it this year, though.) So far Yanowsky is the only one to have come top of the 'Best Female' category more than once (2003/4 and 2005), and this year's winner, Elena Glurjidze, is the first from a British company other than the Royal Ballet . As already mentioned, Acosta has won the 'Best Male' five times so far, starting in 1999; Kobborg has won twice, and Zelensky and Thomas Lund (RDB) are the only non-RB dancers to have come top.

Either the Bolshoi or the Kirov has won the 'Best Visiting Company' category every year except for 2005, when it went to the Cuban National Ballet. The Bolshoi is ahead at the moment, but obviously it depends very much on how often they visit.

The most surprising result ever, I think, was in 1998 when the 'Best New Production' category was won by an 'installation piece' called Babel Index at the British Library. The ROH closure may have had something to do with that, but even so it's the only show of that type which has ever seriously featured in our voting. It's also perhaps interesting how relatively rarely the Royal Ballet comes top in the 'New' category - the Chroma/DGV bill won last year, but before that only Christopher Wheeldon's Tryst and Kobborg's production of La Sylphide had made it.

I wonder what we'll be looking back on in 2017?

The Prize

Back in 1997 we gave the poll prize to Alison Penfold; since then she has contributed many long and interesting entries, and is the only person who voted in 1997 who is still voting. So we are happy to make her this year's prizewinner too.

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