Awards and Honors


Artistic Fellow, Amy Seiwert's Imagery (2018-20) - Amy Seiwert, Artistic Director

Northern California Regional Emmy Award (2018) - "Arts/Entertainment-Program/Special" BaseBallet: Into the Game, Producer/Choreographer

Northern California Regional Emmy Award (2018) - "Writer-Program" BaseBallet: Into the Game, Writer

Isadora Duncan Dance Award Nominee (2018) - Individual Performance, "Be Here Now" by Trey McIntyre, Smuin Contemporary American Ballet 

Northern California Regional Emmy Award (2016) - "Arts/Entertainment-Feature/Segment" BaseBallet, Choreographer

Participant, National Choreographers Initiative (2016) - Molly Lynch, Artistic Director

BFA, Ballet, Magna Cum Laude (2010) - University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music

The Schlager Prize for Valor (2006) - Awarded to the student who, during his or her years at St. Paul’s School, has exhibited courage, strength of character, and a determination to succeed.

The McLeod Prize (2006) - Awarded upon graduation to the student who has contributed the most to the dance program at St. Paul’s School through talent, dedication, enthusiasm and spirit.

The Form of 1971 Visionary Award (2005) - Awarded by St. Paul’s School to an individual who “demonstrates originality, creativity, capacity for self-direction, and other immeasurable, often unheralded, qualities that have been a source of inspiration.”

The Heckshire Prize (2005) - Awarded annually to “defray expenses connected with a theses or project of exceptional merit.” (My project, the Hip Hop Evolution, is a study of Hip Hop dance and Hip Hop’s history, culture, and development, focusing primarily on how race and prejudice influence the culture.)

The Dickey Prize in Ballet (2004) - For the individual who achieves the highest distinction in ballet.


Performance Review


The second half of the “Aureole” duet as danced by Caroline Betancourt and Ben Needham-Wood (United States) proved among the evening’s few fresh moments.

--Alastair Macaulay, New York Times, 30 June 2009


 “…Needham-Wood, in a long, flowing black coat, took command of the stage at every appearance ...”

--Elizabeth Kramer, Courier Journal, 23 October 2010


The Pas de Deux which closes the evening, performed by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier, is the icing on this fantastic cake: Erica De La O and Ben Needham-Wood provide a show-stopping flurry of leaps and pirouettes that utterly transport the audience.”

--Karen Ellestad,, 20 December 2011


 “…Mr. Needham-Wood embodies a youth and naiveté that makes Armand’s immediate passion and reckless pursuit of Marguerite believable and heartbreaking.”

--Kathi E.B. Ellis,, 8 October 2012


“...'Drummer Boy' is a solo that can come off as corny and dated, but dancer Ben Needham-Wood refused to take himself too seriously and brought the house down.

--Virginia Bock, The Mercury News, 9 December 2016


Choreographic Reviews


“…what did impress was Needham-Wood’s choreography, especially his treatment of the hand. Throughout Echo, hands reached outward looking for answers or maybe even an escape. They dove towards the floor with fear and trembling. With aggressive intent, dancers were dragged by their hands across the stage. In other contrasting moments, the hands spoke of care and connection. The cast stood in a line and gently rested their palms on each other’s backs. They held hands in a circle, grasping one another for support. Needham-Wood took a deep dive into one choreographic element and it worked. It conveyed emotion after emotion and I found myself tracking the dancers’ hands to see what might happen next.”
--Heather Desaulniers, DanceTabs, 24 September 2018 [Full Review]

“In his ‘Echo,’ set to a piano score by Nicholas Britell, Needham-Wood explored the myth of Echo and Narcissus. The idea isn’t new (Isadora Duncan and Michel Fokine trafficked in it a century ago), but the contemporary choreography was stripped of superfluous detail, using the dancers’ bodies to drive the compelling narrative. Without telegraphing their role as water, an ensemble of blue-clad dancers drowned Kurta and Valerie Harmon, whose limbs rippled with torment.”
--Claudia Bauer, SF Chronicle, 24 September 2018 [Full Review]

“Ben Needham-Wood’s lovely “Echo” spoke with a clearly-articulated personal voice; it evoked the myth of Echo and Narcissus cogently within a sense of a dreamy reality.”
--Rita Felciano, Dance View Times, 30 September 2018 [Full Review]

--BachTrack, Jaime Robles, 24 September 2018 [Full Review]
--Bay Area Stringer, Joanna G. Harris, September 2018 [Full Review]
--The Classical Girl, Terez Rose [Full Review]


"Dancer Ben Needham-Wood’s unlikely subject for a ballet, 20th-century psychologist Abraham Maslow, whose theme of “self-actualization” persists even though it’s known by different words today, took on an intriguing shape both materially and cerebrally... The choreographer seems determined to balance skepticism with a wish to believe, and it’s a twisty path to take in the brief time allotted. The original music, by Needham-Wood’s collaborator Ben Sollee, echoes the spirit of unease... Self-actualization is tricky, as is Needham-Wood — someone to watch out for."
--Janice Berman, SF Classical Voice, 28 September 2015 [Full Review]

"In classic Smuin disregard for tradition, Maslow utilizes movements drawn from both contemporary ballet and hip-hop. Set to the music of composer and cellist Ben Sollee, Maslow is pure Smuin at it’s mind-bending best."
--Geraldine Duncann, AXS San Francisco, 27 September 2015 [Full Review]

Apollo and Daphne

Company member Ben Needham-Wood’s powerful Apollo and Daphne was the next variation on the program. I originally saw this ballet during last fall’s Choreographers Showcase, and Erica De La O and Douglas Ruiz’s partnership in this intense and disturbing ballet has deepened over time. This piece could be in every compilation program, and audiences would find new nuances each time – I look forward to experiencing this piece many times with the powerful partnership between these two dancers.”

--Kathi E. B. Ellis,, 7 November 2011

Setting A Tone

… Mr. Needham-Wood plays with form, adding and subtracting dancers with great fluidity so that a seething stage transforms almost invisibly into more intimate variations for smaller numbers of dancers… The pas de deux are intricately conceived sequences exploring relationships, at first seeming separate but through echoed hand-play suggesting connections between these couples… Mr. Needham-Wood blends recognizably classical motifs with an exploration of non-traditional lifts, dynamic floor work and non-classical groupings...

--Kathi E. B. Ellis,, 3 February 2012