Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Our Bessie Awards Winners of 2018

34th Annual Bessie Awards


The New York Dance
& Performance Awards

NYU Skirball Center

October 8, 2018



Marjani Forté-Saunders
in her Bessie-winning production
Memoirs of A . . .Unicorn
The piece also won her creative team
a Bessie for Outstanding Visual Design.
(photos: Maria Baranova) 



OUTSTANDING ‘BREAKOUT’ CHOREOGRAPHER

Mariana Valencia 
Presented in July 2018
For seamlessly blending ethnography, memoir, and observation of cross-cultural identities in choreography that engages from start to finish. For a unique vision that uses humor and sadness, reality and imagination, to push dance and performance into new territory.


2018 BESSIES ANGEL AWARD

Deborah Sale and Ted Striggles
For a lifelong commitment to supporting dance For working to better the lives of dance artists on and off the stage For warmly gathering and connecting the dance-making community across decades.


OUTSTANDING PERFORMERS

Courtney Cook
For bringing a powerhouse presence and a soulful strength to every performance A riveting performer of searing vocal work and sensuous explosive movement, who brings her rich range of dance forms and unique theatrical power to the work of Urban Bush Women, Maria Bauman and Marguerite Hemmings.

Germaine Acogny
For her fierce, fearless embrace of the “sacrificial one” in a reimagined Rite of Spring created especially for her. No longer doomed, she performs a powerful solo celebrating her heritages in dance, and women, and black women dancing. In Mon élue noire (My Black Chosen One): Sacre #2 by Olivier Dubois at BAM Fisher

Elizabeth DeMent
For her cool, intelligent presence, exquisite dancing, and ability to move seamlessly between spoken text and virtuosic dance. For a brilliantly nuanced performance, comic and serious and continuously captivating as a 17th century woman and the narrator of the piece. In 17C by Big Dance Theater BAM Harvey

Sara Mearns
Sustained Achievement in the work of New York City Ballet, Isadora Duncan, Jodi Melnick, Wang Ramirez and Matthew Bourne.
For her work as a mesmerizing ballet dancer and insatiable dance explorer, known for consummate musicality, imagination, and theatricality. For an extraordinary season in which she boldy immersed herself in work by masters of hip hop, classic modern, experimental post modern, and theater ballet.


OUTSTANDING PRODUCTIONS

David Thomson
for he his own mythical beast 
Performance Space New York
For demolishing the idea of a ‘neutral’ body in a revelatory excavation of his own mythological identity as a dancer, performer, artist, man, person. For the team creation of an inexhaustible, ecstatic, sweaty swirl of voice and movement addressing race, gender, and the many selves contained within a body.

Geoff Sobelle
for HOME 
BAM Harvey 
For exploring and exploding the relationship between house and home. For collaborating with a brilliant team using dance, illusion, live music, scenic engineering and audience interaction to create a moving, poignant and zany theatrical work.

Nami Yamamoto
for Headless Wolf 
Roulette
For an entertaining and profound journey through the range of human experience. For interweaving five distinctive performers, a puppet, and yards of paper into a total work of theater, a contemplation of birth and death and all in between.

Marjani Forté-Saunders
for Memoirs of a . . . Unicorn
Presented by New York Live Arts at Collapsable Hole 
For an installation and performance that digs underground to mine memory and mythology; For conjuring family, friends, and ancestors as she navigates a magical landscape, weaving intersecting tales into a collective memoir.


OUTSTANDING REVIVAL 

40th Anniversary Retrospective 
by Jane Comfort & Company 
La MaMa
For a program highlighting four decades of illuminating work delving into politics, family, friendship, and pure dancing. For a pivotal exploration of language, music and movement in pieces addressing social issues in ways that continue to have impact in the current moment.


OUTSTANDING SOUND DESIGN OR MUSIC COMPOSITION

Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste
For mobilizing the technologies of the age to conjure new worlds. For bringing forth hidden languages and primal presences via layered soundscapes in his own work and in collaborations with Jaamil Olowale Kosoko, André M. Zachery/Renegade Performance Group, Jonathan Gonzalez, and Will Rawls.


OUTSTANDING VISUAL DESIGN

Mimi Lien (set), Meena Murugesan (media), Peiyi Wong (installation), Tuçe Yasak (lights), and Richard Forté (set construction)
Memoirs of a . . . Unicorn by Marjani Forte-Saunders
Presented by New York Live Arts at Collapsable Hole

For creating a mythical, multi-sensory and immersive design in the industrial basement space of Collapsible Hole. For beautifully integrating all the visual elements in a way that heightened the emotional impact of the choreographer’s journey through time and memory.



LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN DANCE

Simone Forti
For her revolutionary, fearless, and widely influential approach to movement, pushing the boundaries of what dance could be-----in her dance constructions and improvised work. For years of investigation into the human body in motion, finding poetry in gravitational forces, the movement of animals, and the natural world.


SERVICE TO THE FIELD OF DANCE

Marya Warshaw
For her visionary work at the Brooklyn Arts Exchange creating a space for choreographers of all identities and backgrounds, and for students of all ages and incomes. For finding new and comprehensive ways to support the long process of creation through pioneering residencies and by fostering a true home for dance artists and innovators.

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