Tuesday, October 8, 2013

And now...The 2013 Bessies!

Co-hosts Gus Solomons Jr.
and Martine van Hamel
(c)2013, Eva Yaa Asantewaa
Awards presenter Renee Robinson
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Nominee Vicky Shick
(c)2013, Eva Yaa Asantewaa
From my vantage point as a now-outsider, the restored and refreshed Bessie Awards organization appears to be hitting its stride. This year, the New York Dance and Performance Awards (affectionately known as The Bessies) deserves its own award for exemplary professional flair. Also, its goal of increasing the range and diversity of its nominees and winners is starting to feel like the New Normal. The atmosphere at The Apollo Theater last evening was great fun--good people, marvelous talent, a sense of light and hope in difficult times. I love my city, and I love that dance is such a fierce and exhilarating part of it.
Nominee Aaron Mattocks
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Nominee Donna Uchizono
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Broadway's Donna McKechnie
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Lifetime Achievement Award winner Luigi,
the legendary master teacher of jazz dance,
greets his former student, McKechnie
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Award presenters Meredith Monk
and Rajika Puri
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Nominees Marty Beller and Ephrat Asherie
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The 29th Annual 
New York Dance and Performance Awards

Bessie winner Darrell Jones
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Previously announced awards

Outstanding Emerging Choreographer: Joanna Kotze
Juried Bessie Award: Darrell Jones
Outstanding Service to the Field of Dance: Nancy Reynolds
Lifetime Achievement Award: Louis “Luigi” Faccuito

Announced at the ceremony

Outstanding Production: Michael Keegan-Dolan’s Rian for Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre at Lincoln Center’s White Lights Festival, for a dance of life-affirming joy that featured an extraordinary group of dancers from Nigeria, Indonesia and Europe.
Joanna Haigood's site-specific Paseo celebrated
the pride, joy and traditions of South Bronx neighborhoods
(Outstanding Production of a work stretching the boundaries of a traditional form)
(c)2013, Eva Yaa Asantewaa
Also for Outstanding Production: Joanna Haigood’s Paseo at Dancing in the Streets & Casita Maria Center for Arts, for taking the audience on a celebratory passage through Bronx cultural life set to the Latin beats that originated in these neighborhoods.
L to r: Tom Pearson, Jennine Willett and Zach Morris
of that popular and winning team, Third Rail Projects.
Their immersive theater production, Then She Fell,
has been a critical and audience favorite.
(c)2013, Eva Yaa Asantewaa
Also for Outstanding Production: Zach Morris, Tom Pearson and Jennine Willett’s Then She Fell for Third Rail Projects at Arts@Rennaissance and Kingsland Ward at St. Johns, for using dance and fractured text to create a dreamscape as compelling and disorienting as Alice in Wonderland’s original journey.

Also for Outstanding Production: Liz Santoro’s Watch It at Museum of Arts and Design, for blurring art and life by placing the audience in a space from which they viewed New York street life, choreography by chance and choice.

Outstanding Revival: Bill T. Jones’ D-Man in the Waters for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company at the Joyce Theater for returning to a work of great joy born of a time of great loss and bringing its fierce fight for life to a new generation.

Outstanding Performance: Sebastien Ramirez and Honji Wang in their duet AP15 at the Breakin’ Convention at the Apollo Theater. This electric duet, rooted in hip hop, explored the space between the lover and the loved with delicacy, passion and agility.

Also for Outstanding Performance: Charles “Lil Buck” Riley and Ron “Prime Tyme” Myles at Poisson Rouge. This duo inhabited the space where street styles become stage artistry, catching rhythms with intricate footwork, slides, toe stands, rippling torsos and sudden freezes.

Also for Outstanding Performance: Jaro Vinarsky in Pavel Palissimo’s Bastard at La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival. A coiled bolt of energy capable of captivating stillness and explosive physicality, he made every moment harrowing, sharp and urgent.
ABT's outstanding principal dancer Herman Cornejo
pauses on the Bessies red carpet
(c)2013, Eva Yaa Asantewaa
Also for Outstanding Performance: Herman Cornejo of American Ballet Theater. He combines an astonishing technical ability with an unaffected purity of movement in the works of choreographers Alexei Ratmansky, Mark Morris and Twyla Tharp.

Also for Oustanding Performance: Shantala Shivalingappa for her Shiva Ganga, for embodying the god Shiva and the spirit of the River Ganges in one riveting performance, a vibrant athletic battle of life force.

Outstanding Sound Design: Ant Hampton and Tim Etchells for The Quiet Volume at Performance Space 122 and PEN World Voices Festival. For their use of intimately whispered text in a work in libraries across the city and for a score which heightened the experience in a space at once public and private.

Outstanding Visual Design: Fleur Elise Noble for her 2 Dimensional Life of Her at Under the Radar Festival at the Public Theater. She used detailed projections onto simple paper cut-outs to create a complex, playful, visually compelling world.

Produced in partnership with Dance/NYC, the NY Dance and Performance Awards have saluted outstanding and groundbreaking creative work by independent dance artists in NYC for 29 years. Known as “The Bessie” in honor of revered dance teacher Bessie Schoenberg, the awards were established in 1983 by David White at Dance Theater Workshop. They recognize exceptional work in choreography, performance, music composition and visual design. A 40-member Selection Committee comprised of artists, presenters, producers, and writers choose nominees. All those working in the dance field are invited to join the NY Dance and Performance League—members participate in annual discussions on the direction of the awards and nominate members to serve on the Selection Committee.

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