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The Bessie Awards Announce 2016 Lifetime Achievement & Service to the Field of Dance Awards

The Bessie Awards Announce 2016 Lifetime Achievement & Service to the Field of Dance Awards

Published on September 21, 2016
Brenda Bufalino, recipient of the NY Dance & Performance Award

All Nominees are to Receive Cash Award from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

The NY Dance and Performance Awards, The Bessies, New York City’s premier dance awards honoring outstanding creative work in the field, announce legendary tap innovator and choreographer Brenda Bufalino as the recipient of the 2016 NY Dance and Performance Award for Lifetime Achievement in Dance; and The Jerome Robbins Dance Division of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and Alex Smith, Executive Chairman of the Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center, as this year’s recipients of Outstanding Service to the Field of Dance.

Brenda Bufalino, poet, composer, and tap dancer, is a mixed genre performer.

The Bessie Awards are recognizing Brenda Bufalino for her decades-long contribution to the dance field. Bufalino is a co-founder of the American Tap Dance Foundation (originally called American Tap Dance Orchestra), which has helped sustain and spread the art of tap dance throughout the world. A master teacher, director, and performance artist, Bufalino has influenced and mentored generations of tap dancers.

This year, two Outstanding Service to the Field of Dance Awards will be presented—one to an organization and one to an individual. The Jerome Robbins Dance Division of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts will be honored for its invaluable archiving of material from generations of dance makers in one of the world’s leading collections. Alex Smith, Executive Chairman of the Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center, will receive a Bessie for keeping the center a vital home for choreographers of color for nearly three decades.

Denishawn group at Tent Theatre, first dance theatre in America. Image sourced from the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of The New York Public Library.

The three awards will be presented at the 32nd Annual Bessie Awards ceremony on Tuesday, October 18, 2016, at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House.

The Bessies are also thrilled to announce that all of the 2016 nominees will receive a cash award of $500, made possible by a generous gift from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF). The grant will allow the Bessies to give cash awards to nominees for three years. “This gesture of support for all of our nominated artists is profound,” says Lucy Sexton, Executive Director of The Bessies. “We are enormously grateful to DDCF for this additional salute to the dance makers working so hard in this city.”

Dayton Contemporary Dance Company performing Donald McKayle's Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder in June of 2011 at the American Dance Festival.
Photo: Sara D. Davis
 

The 2016 Bessie Awards ceremony will include a tap tribute to Brenda Bufalino, curated by Tony Waag, a performance by Joya Powell, recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Emerging Choreographer Award, and Donald McKayle’s Rainbow ’Round My Shoulder, performed by Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (2016 Bessie for Outstanding Revival).

Tickets for the 32nd Annual Bessie Awards can be purchased by calling 718-636-4100 and online at www.bam.org. The BAM Howard Gilman Opera House is located at 30 Lafayette Avenue in Brooklyn.

The Dance Enthusiast

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