David Burnie awarded The Jane Attenborough Dance UK Industry Award 2011

Date Mon 23 January 2012
Filed under: Events and Other Interesting Stuff

Dance UK is delighted to announce that David Burnie, Director of Administration and Finance at The Place is the winner of the 2011 Jane Attenborough Dance UK Industry Award. David was presented with his award at the National Dance Awards of the Critics’ Circle on 23 January 2012. 

The Dance UK Industry Award honours an individual working in dance who has made an outstanding contribution to the art form and who, through their knowledge, skill and generosity, has had a significant effect on dance. The winner is chosen following an open nomination process, making the winner someone who is truly respected and admired by their colleagues. 

Citations received for David highlight the tremendous generosity and dedication he has shown to dance and dance professionals during a career spanning 25 years. He is described by those who know him as ‘An accountant with a heart of gold’, a manager, who puts people at the head of everything he does. 

Emma Gladstone, Artistic Programmer and Producer, Sadlers Wells, who presented David with the award said:

'David Burnie is one of the unsung heroes of the dance world. He does not look for much less expect public recognition but many companies and individual artists and managers have benefited incalculably from his support. This award was established for people like David, those behind the scenes, and having worked in the arts for over 25 years I can think of no one more deserving.

David Burnie is a hidden gem. The Director of Administration and Finance at The Place, for 20 years he has been quietly and unassumingly helping to steer The Place through a myriad of major changes, (move from LCDT to Richard Alston Dance Company, a major capital project) while still managing the on-going financial and administrative support structures in his calm and reassuring way.

But there is more to David Burnie than this. He has also been an invaluable member of the boards of Dance UK, V-TOL and Ricochet Dance Company, once again providing sound and sensible advice and rolling up his sleeves and mucking in whenever needed. And it does not stop there. David endlessly gives his time to individuals, those of us that have worked with him in the past and still call upon his judgment and advice, always so generously given. 

As an extremely skilled manager, he has many admirable qualities – patience, empathy, kindness, generosity, humility and true dedication to his work. He also has a great sense of humour which – as anyone who knows him will agree - makes working with him a pleasure. 

Finally I have to say that it is rare to meet anyone who listens as well as David does. This ability to listen leaves people better able to manage themselves and their situation, whatever it may be, and, along with his extraordinary generosity, is the one of the many reasons why he is so widely respected across the generations, and across the profession.'

Since 1989 David has managed The Place’s finances through a sustained period of change and growth for the organisation, including the creation of the Richard Alston Dance Company, the securing of higher education funding for London Contemporary Dance School and the continued growth of The Place as a centre for choreographic development. During his tenure the turnover of the organisation has grown from around £2.3m to £6.7m and over £8.5m of capital has been raised for redevelopment of its building. 

In response to the announcement of his win David said:

'Given the long and distinguished list of past winners who have contributed so much to the world of dance it’s a real honour to be given this award. Over my 22 years at The Place I have met and worked with a host of skilled and committed people, inside and outside the organisation, who have dedicated themselves to ensuring that dance artists are given the best possible opportunity to realise their vision – many of whom would themselves be worthy recipients of this award. I remain constantly amazed by how much is achieved within the independent dance sector with such limited resources. As resources become even more constrained I hope that the commitment and dedication from those who don’t get their moment of glory on stage and the opportunity to take their bow in public remain enough to keep the sector as vibrant and exciting as it is now.'


Previous winners of the Jane Attenborough Dance UK industry award:

Dick Matchett MBE (2003) Arts Consultant, Theresa Beattie (2004) Arts Consultant, Brendan Keaney (2005) Director of Greenwich Dance Agency, Val Bourne CBE (2006) Founding Director of Dance Umbrella, Celeste Dandeker OBE (2007) the founding Artistic Director of CandoCo and Janet Smith (2008) Artistic Director of Scottish Dance Theatre, Marie McClusky MBE, Director of Swindon Dance (2009) and the late Gill Clarke MBE, leading Independent Dance Artist (2010)