Bonnie Bird in her solo The Judgement, Cornish School, 1938, photo: Bonnie Bird Collection, Laban Archive


This biennial award celebrates and acknowledges those who have made exceptional lifetime contributions to the specific development of choreography and choreographic practice in the UK.

The award was set up partly to formally recognise a unique aspect of the dance industry, and partly in recognition of the contribution that our founder Bonnie Bird made in this respect to choreographic practice in the UK during her lifetime. We aim to honour both her and others who are following in her steps, making both subtle and dramatic shifts to the choreographic landscape.

Individuals might choose to nominate a choreographer, but equally might nominate an educator, programmer or producer, any one individual who, through their lifetime has contributed specifically to the development of choreography in the UK in a significant way for a significant time.

The inaugural award was made to Rosemary Butcher in December 2015.

A book was created for Rosemary by David Ellis at why not associates, which is available to view by clicking here.

Robert Cohan CBE was awarded in December 2017 in recognition of his lifelong contribution to the development of choreography in the UK and beyond.


The awardee is selected by the Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund's Trustees and Advisors, from nominations invited from the dance sector. Anyone can nominate someone for the award and only one nomination is accepted from each nominator. The call for nominations is advertised on our website, Facebook page and Twitter account.

In addition, colleagues are contacted by the Trustees and Advisors through personal email and invited to make a nomination. Trustees and Advisors themselves may also nominate.

The deadline for nominations for the 2017 Lifetime Contribution to Choreography Award has now passed.