Image: Julia Conway accepting the 2019 Emerging Dancer Award from host Adam Cooper © Photography by ASH.

We’re pleased to announce the winner of the 2019 Emerging Dancer Award is Julia Conway.

Having performed the Flames of Paris pas de deux with fellow finalist Rentaro Nakaaki, and Untitled Code, a solo choreographed by Rambert dancer Miguel Altunaga, Julia Conway was announced as the winner on stage at Sadler’s Wells by our Artistic Director, Tamara Rojo. The annual competition was also live streamed to audiences around the world.

Julia Conway and Rentaro Nakaaki performing the Flames of Paris pas de deux for Emerging Dancer 2019 © Laurent Liotardo.

Of winning the 2019 Emerging Dancer Award, Julia said:

“I’m really surprised and honoured to be chosen as the 2019 Emerging Dancer. I think we’re all winners in the end just for being voted as finalists and to have been given the opportunity to perform this evening.

“I want to say a big thank you to my mentors, I couldn’t have done any of this without them. They helped me mentally overcome challenges as well as physically prepare me for the evening. The choreographer for my solo, Miguel Altunaga, pushed me and we achieved something amazing, I’m just so proud.

“My mum was in the audience and my sister tuned into the live stream, it’s lovely to be able to share this moment with them.”

Julia Conway performing Miguel Altunaga's Untitled code for Emerging Dancer 2019 © Laurent Liotardo.

Here are just a few of the audience comments on Julia’s performance:

No question they are all incredible but Julia has that extra technical and artistic quality for me.
Steve (on Facebook)
OMG Julia is amazing!
Josué (on YouTube)
​Julia was best woman by far, she made both the duet and solos look easy and great stage presence
Lolly (on Facebook)

Julia Conway, Rhys Antoni Yeomans and Eireen Evrard with their awards from Emerging Dancer 2019 © Photography by ASH.

The evening also saw Eireen Evrard named as the recipient of the Corps de Ballet Award acknowledging her exceptional work over the last year, while Rhys Antoni Yeomans was awarded the People’s Choice Award, as voted for by members of the public.

Rhys Antoni Yeomans performing an extract from In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated for Emerging Dancer 2019 © Laurent Liotardo.

Of winning the People’s Choice Award, Rhys Antoni Yeomans said:

“I’m so surprised to receive this award, it means an incredible amount that the public have been voting throughout the year and have appreciated my work this season. It really is going to spur me on for the next season and I can’t thank everyone enough.”

Eireen Evrard and other Artists of the Company in La Sylphide © Laurent Liotardo

Of winning the Corps de Ballet Award, Eireen Evrard said:

“I’m shocked but so happy, I had no idea! It means a lot – the corps de ballet work so hard, every single show, and sometimes it’s hard to keep yourself going through the long runs, so this award is a great acknowledgement of that commitment and I’m so happy to receive this year.”

The finalists of Emerging Dancer 2019 with Artistic Director Tamara Rojo © Photography by ASH.

Celebrating 10 years, Emerging Dancer allows us to recognise the excellence of our artists. Julia Conway was selected as the winner by an esteemed panel of judges: joining our Artistic Director Tamara Rojo on the judging panel was Sarah Wildor, Mavin Khoo, Carrie-Anne Ingrouille, Gerald Dowler and Michael Coleman.

On the decision, Tamara Rojo said:

“They are all winners because they all progressed so much during the process of Emerging Dancer, but I feel what set Julia apart is the security she had on stage. Both in the classical work and the contemporary – she seemed to have a presence beyond her years. The decision from the panel was unanimous, and much deserved – congratulations to Julia.”

Julia Conway and Rentaro Nakaaki performing the Flames of Paris pas de deux for Emerging Dancer 2019 © Laurent Liotardo.

The other finalists this year were Alice Bellini, Emilia Cadorin, Rentaro Nakaaki, Shale Wagman and Rhys Antoni Yeomans. They all gave such phenomenal performances – congratulations to them all for the hard work they put in!

Audiences were absolutely loving them all:

I’d say that all 6 are pretty well-matched this year in terms of technique and artistry.
Emma (on Facebook)
​These two [Julia and Rentaro] were fantastic separately and together! Bravo!
Victoria (on YouTube)
He’s just incredible!!! Rentaro for the win!!
Nicole (on Facebook)
Rentaro Nakaaki performing the Flames of Paris pas de deux for Emerging Dancer 2019 © Laurent Liotardo.
Great jumps from Shale & pointe work from Alice!
Anne (on Facebook)
Bravissima Alice
Lucia (on Facebook)
Shale is special. I predict him the winner.
Icarrus (on YouTube)


Alice Bellini and Shale Wagman performing the Grand Pas Classique for Emerging Dancer 2019 © Laurent Liotardo.
They [Emilia and Rhys] are in osmose, a beautiful couple
Christine (on Facebook)
Emilia is just so beautiful!!! I could watch her dance for days without feeling bored!
Froso (on Facebook)
Great technique Rhys!
Irena (on Facebook)
Emilia Cadorin and Rhys Antoni Yeomans performing the pas de deux from Coppélia for Emerging Dancer 2019 © Laurent Liotardo.

Before the winners were announced, Daniel McCormick, the winner of the 2018 Emerging Dancer Award, performed the Act III pas de deux from Don Quixote with Francesca Velicu. Their performance also ignited the audience!

Gorgeous partnership.
Margo (on Facebook)
​Wow, am really impressed with Dan’s technique considering he seems so young. holds up to Francesca beautifully
Florence (on YouTube)


In case you missed it, you can still watch the live stream of Emerging Dancer on catch-up today (until approximately 11pm BST).

Our 2018-19 season continues with Cinderella in-the-round at the Royal Albert Hall from 6 – 16 June 2019. Book your tickets now.