NEWPORT-based Ballet Cymru has been nominated for a prestigious national award.

The 11-strong company which works out of the Riverfront, has been nominated in the Best Independent Company category for the 13th annual National Dance Awards.

The awards, which are organised by the dance section of the Critics’ Circle, brings together more than 50 dance writers and critics from across the UK to decide the shortlists.

Ballet Cymru will now be one of four companies left to fight it out for the prize, when the decision of the panel is announced at a ceremony held in the Robin Howard Theatre at The Place, London on January 28.

Newport-born artistic director, Darius James, said: "It’s absolutely unbelievable, we are still pinching ourselves.

"They used to have an award which was voted for by audiences which we won a few years ago but this is the first time a Welsh company has ever been shortlisted for an award by the panel.

"In the press release they sent out the judges said that those nominated ‘were the cream of 2011’, which is good enough for us in itself."