Awards and Honors

 

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

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, Louisville.com, 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, Arts-Louisville.com, 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

Maslow

"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

 

 "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

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, Arts-Louisville.com, 7 November 201

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, Arts-Louisville.com, 3 February 2012