The Third Carmen Mateu Young Artist European Award, Opera and Dance, held by the Castell de Peralada Foundation, was awarded on 21 November at a prize-giving at the Great Hall of the Monastery of Santa Maria de Pedrables, recognising Botis Seva who prevailed over a field of 34 candidates from eleven countries.

Isabel Suqué Mateu, President Castell de Peralada Foundation, said in her speech that “the intent of the Carmen Mateu Award is to promote the disciplines of opera and dance on the European stage and to enhance their prestige by giving recognition to the achievements of young artists and actively supporting the future development of their artistic careers.”

Dancer, choreographer and artistic director of Acosta Dance and Birmingham Royal Ballet, Carlos Acosta; Iratxe Ansa, winner of the National Prize for Dance 2020, ballerina, choreographer and co-founder of Metamorphosis Dance; choreographer and artistic director of the Sydney Dance Company, Rafael Bonachela; and choreographer, artistic director and Clore Cultural Leadership Fellow and director designate of Ballet Zurich, Cathy Marston, made up the internationally acclaimed jury appointed for this year's Award. The jury make special mention of the original, authentic and original voice of the winner. His ability to integrate staging into his choreography with visually striking results, and the interaction of all the components and his original, personal choreographic language combine to produce truly moving works.

The members of the jury also highlighted the significance to the career and artistic development of this young choreographer of winning the Carmen Mateu Young Artist European Award.


Botis Seva is a dance artist, choreographer and director working within the realms of contemporary dance, physical theatre and hip hop. Botis Seva is entrenched in hip hop dance theatre but experiments with form, structure and theatrics to reinvent choreography. Borrowing techniques from film, text, art and other dance languages, Botis’ focus is on making a difference and using his autobiographical experiences to drive narratives. Born and raised in London, Botis was introduced to dance aged 15, through hip hop dance theatre experimentalist Tony Adigun from Avant Garde Dance. After a brief performance career with Avant Garde Dance and leaving Barking Broadway college after a year, Botis realised he had his own creative urges and founded Far From The Norm aged 19. Internationally Botis has been recognised by leading European choreography competitions and initiatives including the Ballett Gesellschaft Hannover eV competition, Germany and Copenhagen International Choreograph Competition, where he won 1st place and various audience prizes, resulting in cash prizes and a residency with Australian Dance Theatre. He was also an Aerowaves Twenty17 artist, presenting work in Norway and Denmark as part of Spring Forward.
Botis has also been nominated/awarded a variety of prestigious UK awards including the Critics Circle National Dance Awards for Emerging Artist, Best Independent Company and Best Modern Choreography; Best New Dance Production at the Black British Theatre Awards; Bonnie Bird Marion North Choreography Mentoring Award.

The prize, which comes with €30,000 for a commission for a new choreography, paid as follows: the first €10,000 at the award ceremony; the next €10,000 during the creation of the work commissioned by the Castell de Peralada Festival, set by the Festival; and the final €10,000 on the occasion of the première of the work at the Castell de Peralada Festival.

The new choreographic work may be classical, neoclassical or contemporary and will feature the number of dancers and be of the duration agreed with the management of the Castell de Peralada Festival and will be staged for the first time at the 2024 Festival or subsequent Festivals, when the performance space will be determined.

The prize also includes an Artistic Residency for the creation of the choreography with dance company Acosta Danza, whose director is Carlos Acosta, and the involvement of the winner in Campus Peralada, the teaching programme of the Festival.

Botis Seva will be formally awarded the trophy at an event in Barcelona in the Spring of 2023. The sculptural work, by artist Santi Moix was inspired by the camellia, in memory of Carmen Mateu and was produced by prestigious creative jewellers Bagués Masriera.

The Third Carmen Mateu Award in the category of dance and the discipline of contemporary/neoclassical/classical choreography was opened for the submission of candidates on 24 March 2022 and accepted thirty-four candidates from eleven different countries. Among them, there were candidates from Italy, France, United States, Great Britain and Spain, an unprecedented success thanks to the involvement of Opera Europa and the European Festivals Association and SGAE, who worked with the Foundation to publicise the Award more widely.

The entry requirements included: being no more than 35 years old at the time of application; to have been working in dance, and had a choreographer performed; to be of the nationality of a member state of the Council of Europe or to be a national of a non-Council of Europe country but be working in a Council of Europe country.

Once the application period had closed, an Expert Panel, made up of Catherine Allard, artistic director of dance company IT Dansa; Enric Gasa, choreographer and artistic director of the Tyrolean State Theatre of Innsbruck; dancer, choreographer and teacher Anna Maleras; and, dancer and choreographer David Rodriguez, made a preliminary selection of twelve finalists submitted to the jury for this Third Award.

Botis Seva joins the list of winners of the Carmen Mateu Young Artist European Award alongside Maria Khoreva, first soloist of the ballet of the Mariinsky Theatre of Saint Petersburg, winner of the Award in its first year, and Helena Cánovas, opera composer who was successful in the second year.

Inaugurated in 2019 by the Castell de Peralada Foundation, the Carmen Mateu Young Artist European Award is a prestigious multidisciplinary prize awarded annually, going in alternate years to one of the principal areas of the Castell de Peralada Festival: dance and opera. The Prize seeks to sustain the legacy and love of music of Carmen Mateu by keeping her memory alive and continue her tenacious patronage of the arts and strong commitment to the excellence supported by that patronage. With the aim of being a bellwether in the promotion and standing of the disciplines of opera and dance in Europe, the Carmen Mateu Award gives recognition to the achievements of emerging young artists and to contribute to their future artistic careers.

The Castell de Peralada works with Opera Europa and the European Festivals Association (EFA) in publicising the Award.

Full information at