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DANCE NEWS: The Full List of 2022 Bessie Nominations Plus A 'Service to the Field' Award for The Dance Enthusiast's Christine Jowers!

DANCE NEWS: The Full List of 2022 Bessie Nominations Plus A 'Service to the Field' Award for The Dance Enthusiast's Christine Jowers!

Published on September 21, 2022
"Treading" by Martha Graham Dance Company

On September 20th, the NY Dance and Performance Awards aka The Bessies, New York City’s premier dance awards honoring outstanding creative work in the field, announced the nominees for the 2022 Bessie Awards at a virtual press conference hosted by Gibney.

Christine Jowers, Founding Editor of The Dance Enthusiast (that's us!)

The Bessies announced that Christine Jowers, founding editor of the online publication The Dance Enthusiast, will receive the 2022 Service to the Field of Dance Award. Jowers is the founding editor of the nonprofit, independent arts journalism site The Dance Enthusiast. For 15 years, she has covered the NYC dance scene as a videographer, writer, and speaker. She has discovered and mentored new dance writers, provided a place for experienced journalists to share their work, and created space for artists to write firsthand of their efforts. Believing that everyone, not only critics and academics, should be part of the documented dance conversation, Jowers created a venue where audiences could contribute their thoughts on performance. Her work promoting dance literacy has been funded by Dance USA, through the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, and the Lower Manhattan Community Council, under the auspices of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts. Jowers credits her passion for arts and community to her Caribbean ancestry and upbringing. 

Nai-Ni Chen in Truth Bound; photo by Sylvia Chiang

Renowned choreographer and dancer Nai-Ni Chen will also be posthumously honored with the 2022 award for Lifetime Achievement in Dance. Chen (1958–2021) was a unique artist whose work crossed many cultural boundaries. Each of her dances reflected her personal vision as an immigrant and as an American female artist with deep roots in Asian culture. From this perspective, she created dances that reflected current issues with global influences. Many of her works were developed in collaboration with renowned artists in different disciplines and cultures. Musical collaborators included the Ahn Trio, Glen Velez, Joan La Barbara, Kenji Bunch, Huang Ruo, Jason Kao Hwang, Tao Chen, Tan Dun, Gerald Chenoweth, the New Asia Chamber Music Society, and the Chinese Music Ensemble of New York. Award-winning designers and visual artists with whom she worked include Myung Hee Cho, Jay Moorthy, AC Hickox, costume designer Karen Young, Angel Tsai, and, most recently, Javier Valencia from SoHarlem. With the help of her manager Joanne Rile, Chen’s work has been presented in 42 states and 10 countries to millions of people worldwide.

The organization will host a Bessie Awards Reception on Friday, December 16, 2022. Produced by H+ | TOTEM Productions, this fundraising reception will be held at Chelsea Factory, 547 West 26th Street, in Manhattan, and will also be streamed live.

Tickets for the in-person event will start at $38 to commemorate the 38th year, available at limited capacity. Tickets for the livestream will be available by donation. Tickets will be available beginning November 1. 

Nominations are made by the Bessie Awards Selection Committee, an independent committee of approximately 20 dance industry professionals. Works presented between June 1, 2021 and May 31, 2022 were eligible for consideration. Award categories include Outstanding Choreographer/ Creator, Outstanding Revival, Outstanding Performer, Outstanding Sound Design or Music Composition, and Outstanding Visual Design.

Bessies Executive Director Heather Robles said: “Artists are vital to the health of our society. We honor their process, labor, creative dedication, and service with this year’s nominations.”


The 2022 Bessie Awards Nominations


Outstanding Choreographer/Creator:

Kyle Abraham
An Untitled Love
Brooklyn Academy of Music

Sidra Bell
New York City Ballet Fall Fashion Gala at David H. Koch Theater

Camille A. Brown
Fire Shut Up in My Bones
The Metropolitan Opera

Leslie Cuyjet
The Shed

Indigenous Enterprise
Indigenous Liberation
The Joyce Theater

Bill T. Jones, Janet Wong, and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company
Deep Blue Sea
Park Avenue Armory

Rashaad Newsome
Park Avenue Armory

Okwui Okpokwasili and Peter Born 
On the way, undone
Crossing the Line Festival 2021 at Weeksville Heritage Center

Eiko Otake
The Duet Project: Distance is Malleable
NYU Skirball

Anna Sperber
Bow Echo
Presented by XO Projects Inc. at Old American Can Factory 

Raúl Tamez
On Limón Dance Company
Migrant Mother
The Joyce Theater

Sasha Waltz
In C
Brooklyn Academy of Music

Zave Martohardjono in Territory; photo by Scott Shaw

Outstanding Performer:

Soledad Barrio
Soledad Barrio & Noche Flamenca
By Soledad Barrio
The Joyce Theater

Krudxs Cubensi
Queer Hip Hop Cypher
Park Avenue Armory 

Kayla Farrish
December 8th
By Kayla Farrish in collaboration with Belinda McGuire
The Eva Yaa Asantewaa Solo for Solo Showing

Carla Forte, Ildiko Toth, Joanna Lesnierowska, Ermira Goro, Rosalynde LeBlanc, and Colleen Thomas
Light and Desire
By Colleen Thomas
New York Live Arts

Antonio Granjero
Soledad Barrio & Noche Flamenca
By Soledad Barrio
The Joyce Theater

Lloyd Knight
With Martha Graham Dance Company
By Elisa Monté
The Joyce Theater

zavé martohardjono
TERRITORY: The Island Remembers
By zavé martohardjono in collaboration with x, Ube Halaya, Raha Behnam, Marielys Burgos Meléndez, Julia Santoli, Katherine De La Cruz, Jordan Reed, Theresee Tull, Proteo Media + Performance

Nikolai McKenzie
A Jamaican Battyboy in America
By Arthur Aviles
Hemispheric Institute at NYU and BAAD! 

Doron Perk
Grandfather Visit
By Doron Perk
Presented through LABA: Laboratory for Jewish Culture at the 14th Street Y 

Antonio Ramos
Puro Teatro
By luciana achugar
The Chocolate Factory Theater

Yesenia Selier 
Queer Hip Hop Cypher
Park Avenue Armory 

Shannon Tyo
As "Afong Moy”
The Chinese Lady
By Lloyd Suh
Directed by Ralph B. Peña
The Barrington Stage Company and Ma-Yi Theater Company Production
The Public Theater


Mark Morris Dance Group in L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato; photo by Stephanie Berger

Outstanding Revival:

A Jamaican Battyboy in America 
Performed by Nikolai McKenzie
Original production in 1996 by Arthur Aviles 
Hemispheric Institute at NYU & BAAD!

L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato
Performed by Mark Morris Dance Group
Original production in 1988 by Mark Morris
Brooklyn Academy of Music

Set and Reset/Reset
Performed by Candoco Dance Company
Original production in 1983 by Trisha Brown
Brooklyn Academy of Music

Performed by Martha Graham Dance Company
Original production in 1982 by Elisa Monté
The Joyce Theater


Outstanding Sound Design or Musical Composition:

Marc Álvarez (arrangement)
By Johan Inger
Performed by Compañia Nacional de Danza
The Joyce Theater

Donald Eaton, Jerome Hunter, Abdel R. Salaam, Kweku Sumbry, and K. Osei Williams
By Abdel R. Salaam
Presented at DanceAfrica
Brooklyn Academy of Music

Efrain Rozas
Puro Teatro
By luciana achugar
The Chocolate Factory Theater

Kwami Winfield
Virtual Performance
By Kyle Marshall
Baryshnikov Arts Center

Indigenous Liberation by Indigenous Enterprise

Outstanding Visual Design:

Elizabeth Diller - DS+R, Peter Nigrini, and Robert Wierzel
Visual Environment, Video Projection, and Lighting Design 
Deep Blue Sea
By Bill T. Jones, Janet Wong, and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company 
Park Avenue Armory

Indigenous Enterprise
Projection, Costume Design, and Lighting Design
Indigenous Liberation
By Indigenous Enterprise
The Joyce Theater 

Andrew Jordan and Joe Levasseur
Costume Design and Lighting Design
By Christopher Williams
New York Live Arts

New Affiliates – Ivi Diamantopoulou, Jaffer Kolb and Rashaad Newsome Studio with Truman T. Brown Jr. and Howie B., Kimberly Jones, Randy Rosenthal
Set Design and Costume Design
By Rashaad Newsome
Park Avenue Armory


Outstanding Breakout Choreographer:

Flex Kingdom: Jabari Gooding, Obinnaya Williams, and Diamond DuBose

Sun Kim

Princess Lockerooo

Angie Pittman 

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