British choreographer Wilton wins Global Dance contest

Image caption,
Wilton takes inspiration for his choreography from the world of martial arts

British choreographer James Wilton has been voted the winner of this year's Sadler's Wells Global Dance Contest.

The 23-year-old beat competitors from 30 different countries with his contemporary piece, The Shortest Day.

Wilton and his company will receive a cash prize of £2,000 and the chance to perform the piece at the Sadler's Wells theatre in London in January.

The winning work was selected by the public ahead of nine other entries.

Drawing inspiration from Mayan apocalypse theory, The Shortest Day is based around the psychological effects on people who know their time is limited.

Alistair Spalding, artistic director of Sadler's Wells, said the "powerful, physically testing" work would be "a hugely exciting" component of the theatre's January programme.

Image caption,
He began dancing at the age of 15 and studied at the London Contemporary Dance School

"The contest is truly global, with entries from the southern hemisphere, Asia and Europe," he went on.

"It's very encouraging that entries from the UK held their own to such an extent this year."

The initial 362 entries included performances in living rooms, book shops and even Berlin's Palast der Republik before it was demolished.

Bhangra, contemporary and Irish dancing were among the many styles represented.

Each entry was assessed for creativity and originality, performing skill and entertainment value.

The panel of judges included former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips and the broadcaster Miranda Sawyer.

Sadler's Wells began the contest last year, which will be held annually until 2012.

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