Rising stars Rina Kanehara and Aitor Arrieta have been awarded English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer Award for 2017.

Announced live on stage at Sadler’s Wells, English National Ballet Artistic Director Tamara Rojo said “I am incredibly proud and absolutely thrilled with all the performances, the standard this year was so high that making a decision was very difficult. Rina and Aitor are two very charismatic and extremely gifted dancers who both have great careers ahead of them.”

He added “Emerging Dancer is one of my favourite evenings in the season. I am so pleased that we have this opportunity to celebrate young dancers. Having this platform allows us to continue our commitment to nurture the stars of the future, and develop them artistically.”

Rina Kanehara and Aitor Arrieta performed together in the Esmeralda pas de deux; Kanehara also danced Raimondo Rebeck’s Blind Dreams set to music by Philip Glass while Arrieta performed SelF, a new piece by Aleix Mañe.

The other finalists this year were Isabelle Brouwers, Madison Keesler, Guilherme Menezes and Emilio Pavan.

Previous winners of the Emerging Dancer Award include Yonah Acosta (2012), who is now a Principal of English National Ballet, Shiori Kase (2011), and Junor Souza (2014), who have since been promoted to First Soloist.