CHEERING AUDIENCE OF OVER 800 RAISED A GLASS TO 2018 BESSIE WINNERS ANNOUNCED TONIGHT, OCTOBER 8, 2018 AT NYU SKIRBALL CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
The night remained forever young at The New York Dance and Performance Awards, The Bessies, with live performances, videos, tearful and grinning thank you’s, hugs and cheers for this year’s award recipients, and a costume sashay thrown into the wild mix of celebration tonight, October 8, at NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. Installation dance performances took place outside the theater, along with Simone Forti’s Huddle. Ayodele Casel and Shernita Anderson hosted the Awards. A pre-ceremony cocktail party at NYU’s Kimmel Center honored Deborah Sale and Ted Striggles with the 2018 Bessies Angel Award. Following the awards ceremony at NYU Skirball, the night of celebration continued with The Bessies After Party at the legendary Judson Memorial Church.
The evening at NYU Skirball began with New York Dance and Performance Awards Executive Director Lucy Sexton, Managing Director Heather Robles, and former Dance/NYC Director Lane Harwell welcoming the audience of over 800 dance community members. Kitty Lunn, Taylor Mac, Greg Miller, Jennifer Monson, Dean Moss, Dwana Smallwood, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Dr. Donald J. Rose and Eduardo Vilaro served as presenters. Opening the festive evening was an excerpt from Robert Battle’s “Ella” by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, with additional performances by Pooh Kaye, and Mariana Valencia. A scrolling list of names in honor of those who passed away during the past year was projected and read by Sylvia Waters, who also spoke about Arthur Mitchell and Donald McKayle while Peter Born, Umechi Born, David Thomson and Okwui Okpokwasili chanted “A Song for Sam”, created by Okpokwasili in honor of Sam Miller. A short video of Paul Taylor was shown following the chant.
The 2018 Bessie Awarded artists are as follows: for Outstanding Performer, Courtney Cook for Sustained achievement with Urban Bush Women, Maria Bauman, and Marguerite Hemmings, Germaine Acogny in Mon élue noire (My Black Chosen One): Sacre #2 by Olivier Dubois at BAM Fisher, Elizabeth DeMent in 17C by Big Dance Theater at BAM Harvey, and Sara Mearns for Sustained Achievement in the work of New York City Ballet, Isadora Duncan, Jodi Melnick, Wang Ramirez and Matthew Bourne. For Outstanding Visual Design, Mimi Lien, Peiyi Wong, Tuçe Yasak, Meena Murugesan, and Richard Forté for Memoirs of a… Unicorn by Marjani Forté-Saunders presented by New York Live Arts at Collapsable Hole. For Outstanding Music Composition or Sound Design, Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste for Sustained achievement in music composition with choreographers Jaamil Olowale Kosoko, Jonathan Gonzalez, André M. Zachery/Renegade Performance Group, and Will Rawls. For Outstanding Revival, 40th Anniversary Retrospective by Jane Comfort & Company at La MaMa. For Outstanding Production, Geoff Sobelle for HOME at BAM Harvey, David Thomson for he his own mythical beast at Performance Space New York; Marjani Forté-Saunders for Memoirs of a… Unicorn presented by New York Live Arts at Collapsable Hole, Nami Yamamoto for Headless Wolf at Roulette. Service to the Field of Dance to Marya Warshaw. Lifetime Achievement in Dance to Simone Forti.
Nominees and awardees alike in the categories of Outstanding Production, Outstanding Performer, Outstanding Revival, Outstanding Music Composition or Sound Design, Outstanding Visual Design, and Outstanding ‘Breakout’ Choreographer will receive a $500 gift made possible by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
ABOUT THE BESSIES
The Bessies were established by David R. White in 1984 at Dance Theater workshop to recognize outstanding work in choreography, performance, music composition and visual design. Nominees are chosen by a Selection Committee comprised of artists, presenters, producers, and writers, which this year is comprised of Ronald Alexander, Elise Bernhardt, Diana Byer, Tymberly Canale, Alexis Convento, Leah Cox, Parijat Desai, Maura Donohue, Boo Froebel, Angela Fatou Gittens, Diane Grumet, Brinda Guha, Joseph Hall, Iréne Hultman, Celia Ipiotis, Koosil-ja, Matthew Lopez, Matthew Lyons, Lydia Mokdessi, Harold Norris, Craig Peterson, Doug Post, Rajika Puri, Susan Reiter, Ali Rosa Salas, Walter Rutledge, George Emílio Sanchez, Andrea Snyder, Carrie Stern, Risa Steinberg, Sally Sommer, Kay Takeda, Catherine Tharin, Muna Tseng, Eleanor K. Wallace, Martin Wechsler, Adrienne Westwood, and William Whitener.
Responsible for setting policy and providing ongoing oversight, the 2018 Bessies Steering Committee is comprised of Cora Cahan, Beverly D’Anne, Lane Harwell, Jeanne Linnes, Stanford Makishi, Nicky Paraiso, Carla Peterson, Paz Tanjuaquio, Laurie Uprichard, and Sylvia Waters.
CITATIONS FOR RECIPIENTS OF 2018 BESSIE AWARDS
2018 BESSIE JURIED AWARD
Presented in July 2018
For exploring important ideas around race and sexuality in dances that embody rather than illustrate complicated issues. For drawing on a variety of movement styles to create accomplished, witty, and immensely engaging choreography.
OUTSTANDING ‘BREAKOUT’ CHOREOGRAPHER
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
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.
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
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
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 boldly immersed herself in work by masters of hip hop, classic modern, experimental post modern, and theater ballet.
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
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
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.
40th Anniversary Retrospective
by Jane Comfort & Company
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
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 (lighting), and Richard Forté (set construction)
Memoirs of a . . . Unicorn by Marjani Forté-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 Collapsable 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
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
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 of a true home for dance artists and innovators.
2018 NY Dance and Performance Award Recipients
2018 Bessies Angel Party
2018 Bessies Cocktail Party and Press Conference
The Bessie Podcast is launched!
RECIPIENTS OF THE 2017 NY DANCE AND PERFORMANCE AWARDS
Let’s start at the very begin shall we?
How did you first find out about Dance Parade?
I first heard of dance parade through my friend Erik. He introduced me to the parade and got me involved the first year as a NYDP officer (New York Dance Police). It was the perfect first experience to ticket people for NOT dancing!
What is your current role in Dance Parade, Inc?
Currently I lead a production team that plans and produces the parade. I’m here to help make sure the day of the parade runs smoothly.
What is your favorite style of dance to watch? to participate in?
I love watching expressive, modern dance; I love when people can tell a story through dance. I also really enjoy watching couple dance whether it be salsa, samba, swing or modern. The connection of two dancers performing is so captivating.
I participate in non-traditional forms of free form dance… including 5Rhythms. Anywhere there is good music you will find me dancing… whether there is a dance floor or not. I’ve never performed any type of dance routine for a formal audience.
What is your dance background?
After studying business management in college and then working in an office job I knew there was something more to a job. So I quit my business job and went to photo school. After learning all the techniques and the business of photography I moved to NYC to start my career. Along the way I found my passion for photographing babies and children and now specialize in children’s fashion photography as well as photographing newborns and family portraiture. I am available for personal and commercial shoots: email@example.com. You can check out some of my work at: www.adelegodfrey.com.
What is your interest in dance?
I’ve taken only a handful of formal dance classes, but I grew up belly dancing and salsa dancing within my community. Now I am a regular at 5 rhythms and continue to create uplifting dance energy where ever dancing is appropriate.
If you could share the stage with anyone in history famous or not, living or deceased, a trained dancer or not, performing a routine choreographed by yourself…who would it be?
Shakira! She’s an amazing dancer and she can rock the hips the way a Lebanese (even half) woman should. She not only dances for her audience and her songs, but I’ve seen some beautiful serene dance sequences she’s be a part of and it’s magic. You can’t help but be mesmerized by her moves.
What does this year’s theme “The Cabaret of Life” mean to you?
Don’t let life hold you down, but find the freedom to dance… even if it’s just in your room by yourself. Dancing releases so much stress and anxiety, it allows us to embrace our connection with our body and feel free, even if just for a few moments. During dance we can put our troubles and pessimistic thoughts aside while our bodies move to find the release and freedom from those damaging thoughts. Many people are afraid to let themselves go to feel the freedom dance allows. This year’s theme challenges those who may not feel free to let that go and let themselves dance to feel the freedom. It promotes the idea of living free and connecting that with dance! Dance more is my resolution for the new year. I always feel great after a good dance session.
What dance group or dance style are you most looking forward to seeing this coming year in the parade?
I’m looking forward to seeing the performances of the underprivileged kids that dance parade brings classes to. From what I understand there are some kids who are taught a routine that will be showcased in the parade. I thing this is an amazing thing Dance Parade participates in that is a benefits for kids not just on this day, but ongoing. There is also this swing dancing group that I saw last year who were just amazing! They are enjoyable to watch and I look forward to seeing what they are bringing this year.
If you could pick another country to hold a Dance Parade and Festival….which would it be?
Good question! Another country… how about Southern California… ok that’s not a different country, but sometimes it feels like it is. Paris would be my other country pick. Why? It’s pretty and will make pretty backgrounds for photos as people are parading around town. 🙂
Supporting a non profit organization can at times be daunting with limited personnel and limited funding….what is it that keeps you coming back for more and more?
It is frustrating with the limited amount of time I have that I can spend with volunteering. I’m back for the first time and not sure exactly how much is going to be expected from me. I’ll let you know next year why I will return, if I do return…haha 😉
The reason I joined this year is because I feel moved by the awesomeness of the parade and festival (and I’m not the kind of person who usually enjoys parades.) But this parade has such an uplifting energy throughout…it’s not just people solemnly walking or marching, but its an environment where people are smiling, laughing, stylishly moving and connecting all through the love of dance. The love of dance brings together people of all ages, backgrounds, races and colors and it’s just beautiful to witness and experience. This is why I am involved.
Describe a special memory you have from Dance Parade’s past?
Little moments happened last year when I was a dance police (which is the most awesome addition to the parade by the way)…I saw this older gentleman just sitting and watching the parade looking so bored and disinterested, not smiling or anything… I went up to him and said sternly, “You are in violation for not smiling and not dancing!” Right away he perked up smiled and started moving his body, saying “No, no I’m dancing… see?” I gave him a citation anyway but when I left him he was still smiling and continued his dance. Opening the audience to interact with the parade and dance themselves is something special I took with me from Dance Parade.
A little moment from the dance festival that still sits with me: In the middle of a crowd of people dancing and being entertained by a DJ on a main stage I pauses to look around me, I saw people roughly my age shaking it, but I also saw people in their late stages of life getting down, I saw children smiling and moving like they were going to lose their legs, a man grooving with his walker, a younger woman smiling and rocking with a broken foot…the diversity of people around me enjoying the same music and loving energy was a beautiful scene always to be remembered.
What pitch would you use to attract a new volunteer onto the Dance Parade team?
Do you want to be a part of a movement that reaches the biggest diversity of people? Dance parade is a movement that brings people together through the love of dance. An organization that opens the doors for dancers and groups to showcase their talents and hard work and creates a day of dance to share on the streets of Manhattan. In addition to the actual parade and festival, Dance Parade is active within the community in providing dance classes for people who may not be able to afford to take classes with the goal of performing in dance parade. By volunteering you help sustain a community of dancers and give them opportunities they may not have otherwise.
Thank you Adele!
Each year Dance Parade attracts hundreds of photographers of all ilks to capture the magic found when 80 unique styles of dance and cultures are all presented in the same place. They love the energy, movement and color found among ancient cultures and highly ambitious artists. This year we will add a new category, “DanceFest” which follows the parade in Tompkins Square Park. For each category, Dance Parade and DanceFest, we will award 3 winners with t-shrits, tote bags and other commemorative items.
Entries must be digital in color or can be black and white. If participating in the contest we would like to use your photos for our promotional purposes to present the parade as an art parade and also a participatory experience. Therefore we will need to request you to sign off on using your photos and will credit the photographer’s whenever appropriate.
1. Choose your best shots – Select among your photos to upload up to 5 photos for Dance Parade and up to 5 photos for DanceFest
2. Identify – Name your Photos with your legal name “JaneDoe1.jpg”, “JaneDoe2.jpg” and if possible include the artist name “JaneDoe1_Barishnikov.jpg”
3. Upload – Photos should be high resolution 300dpi between 1MB and 2MB. It would be helpful to us as well if you could also upload low resolution photos so that we can post the best entries into our website’s photo gallery. Upload a maximum of 10 photos to our dropbox link here. (you don’t need a Dropbox account for this upload)
Deadline for Entry & Uploads – May 30th, 2018
4. Jury Review – A jury of at least 5 members from the Dance Parade Steering Committee will review each photo and assign a number from 1 (least) to 10 (best). First stage highly scored photos may appear on our Facebook @danceparadenyc, Twitter @danceparadenyc or Instagram @danceparadenyc pages for social media feedback. The top 5 Photographers with the highest score will then be selected in a semi-finalist review period and the committee will re-evaluate and re-score. This selection process will last one week.
5. Announcement – The winner will be announced June 4th.
Thank you and good luck!