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DANCE NEWS: Dance Magazine Awards Announces Esteemed Honorees for 2021

DANCE NEWS: Dance Magazine Awards Announces Esteemed Honorees for 2021

Published on December 1, 2021
Alethea Pace; photo by Marisol Diaz

The 64th Annual Event Will Take Place in Person at the Guggenheim and Virtually on December 6, 2021

Dance Media Foundation, in conjunction with Dance Magazine, has announced the honorees for the 64th annual Dance Magazine Awards: Robert Battle, Andy Blankenbuehler, Dormeshia, Akram Khan and Tamara Rojo. The Chairman’s Award will go to Works & Process, including a special citation for Dr. Wendy Ziecheck. The Harkness Promise Award recipients are Alethea Pace and Yin Yue.

A tradition dating back to 1954, the Dance Magazine Awards are among the most prestigious honors in the dance field. These awards have long celebrated living legends who’ve made a lasting impact on dance. Previous honorees include Misty Copeland, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Tommy Tune, Alvin Ailey, Ohad Naharin, Chita Rivera, Fred Astaire, Bob Fosse and more. The full list of past recipients can be found here.

"We are thrilled to be back live again and most spectacularly at the Guggenheim. Dance, whether live or virtual, has been a real source of joy and comfort over the last 18 months, and we are proud to once again celebrate its many great leaders," states Frederic M. Seegal, CEO/chairman of Dance Media.

The ceremony will take place in person at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum*, and simultaneously livestreamed on YouTube, on December 6, 2021, at 7:30pm Eastern. Performances will include a premiere by Andy Blankenbuehler, a site-specific performance in the Guggenheim’s iconic rotunda by Dorrance Dance, Robert Battle’s solo In/Side performed by Ailey’s Yannick Lebrun, and duets by both Harkness Promise Award recipients. Presenters will include Julio Bocca, Judith Jamison, Virginia Johnson, Susan Stroman, Wendy Whelan, among other dance icons.

A preshow starting at 7pm will gather former Dance Magazine Award honorees to talk about the interplay between visual art and dance, and the ever-growing role of museums within the dance field.

Tickets are now on sale at, starting at $50 for a general admission ticket to the livestream, plus a one-year subscription to Dance Magazine; a $125 ticket also includes access to a livestream of the preshow; a $200 ticket includes live attendance to the in-person ceremony and preshow at the Guggenheim*; and a $1,000 ticket also includes an exclusive reception plus a donation to the Dance Media Foundation to fund the Harkness Promise Awards. All net proceeds from the ceremony go to the Harkness Promise Awards.

The selection committee for the 2021 Dance Magazine Awards includes master teacher Sheila Barker, Dance Magazine contributor Joseph Carman, The Dance Edit editor in chief Margaret Fuhrer, Dance Media publisher/CRO Joanna Harp, MoBBallet founder Theresa Ruth Howard, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre artistic director Susan Jaffe, New York City Center vice president for programming Stanford Makishi, Dance Magazine editor at large Wendy Perron, former American Dance Festival director Charles L. Reinhart and Dance Magazine editor in chief and Dance Media content director Jennifer Stahl.

For more information on the Dance Magazine Awards or to purchase tickets, please visit

Robert Battle; photo by Dario Calmese


Robert Battle became artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 2011, becoming the third person to head the company since its founding in 1958. He has expanded the company’s repertoire with works by choreographers like Wayne McGregor, Rennie Harris and Kyle Abraham. Prior to joining Ailey, he founded Battleworks Dance Company, which performed his work at venues such as The Joyce Theater, American Dance Festival and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.

Andy Blankenbuehler; photo courtesy of the artist


Choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler has won Tony Awards for his choreography in Broadway’s Hamilton, Bandstand and In the Heights. He directed and choreographed Bring It On: The Musical and Bandstand. His work has been seen in several other Broadway musicals, as well as TV shows, including “The Sopranos,” and stage shows for Elton John and Bette Midler. 

Dormeshia; photo courtesy of Broadway Dance Center


Tap dancer Dormeshia has toured the U.S. and abroad on the tap festival circuit. In addition to appearing in the star-studded Imagine Tap!, she performed in Broadway’s Bring in ’Da Noise, Bring in ’Da Funk and After Midnight. She co-created 2013’s The Blues Project with Michelle Dorrance, Derick K. Grant and Toshi Reagon, and in 2016 she debuted And Still You Must Swing, which ran at Jacob’s Pillow and The Joyce Theater.

Akram Khan; photo courtesy of Akram Khan Company


Choreographer and dancer Akram Khan is known for fusing kathak and contemporary forms into epic narrative works. He has collaborated with world-class artists of many backgrounds and disciplines. In 2000, he founded Akram Khan Company. His full-length productions, like DESH, XENOS and zero degrees (created with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui), have toured internationally to critical acclaim.

Tamara Rojo; photo courtesy of the English National Ballet


Since 2012, Tamara Rojo has been the artistic director and a lead principal dancer with the English National Ballet. She previously danced with The Royal Ballet as a principal dancer for 12 years, and became an international star. Under her directorship, ENB has commissioned bold new works while continuing to uphold the highest standards of classical ballet, attracted top dancers to its ranks and in 2019 moved into the purpose-built, state-of-the-art Mulryan Centre for Dance.

Works & Process at the Guggenheim; photo courtesy of the Guggenheim


A Chairman’s Award, chosen by Dance Media CEO Frederic M. Seegal to honor distinctive movers and shakers behind the scenes, will go to Works & Process. Since its creation in 1984, the performing arts series at the Guggenheim has offered audiences a peek into the artists’ creative processes and, in recent years, has increasingly focused on commissioning work. This honor will include a special citation to Dr. Wendy Ziecheck, who helped to create and supervise “bubble residency” protocols that made it possible for dance artists to continue creating work during the pandemic.

Alethea Pace; photo by Whitney Browne || Yin Yue; photo courtesy of Yin Yue Dance Company


The Harkness Promise Awards, which offer a $5,000 grant and 40 hours of rehearsal space for innovative young choreographers in the first decade of professional work, will go to Alethea Pace and Yin Yue. This award, conferred in partnership with the Harkness Foundation for Dance, is funded by net proceeds from the Dance Magazine Awards ceremony. This year’s Harkness Promise recipients will also have a shared evening at Works & Process during the 2022 season.

Alethea Pace is a Bronx-based multidisciplinary choreographer and performer. A former Arthur Aviles Typical Theatre company member, her work has been supported by BAAD!, Dancing While Black, Pregones Theater, New Dance Alliance, New York Live Arts and the 92Y. She is committed to creating work in and with her community that is rooted in social justice, born out of resilience and made in spite of the obstacles facing artists (and people) of color.

Yin Yue, artistic director of YY Dance Company, has taught her signature FoCo Technique around the world. Her company has toured to Germany and China, and presented at SummerStage, BAM Fisher, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival Inside/Out and many other venues in the U.S. As a choreographer, Yue has received commissions from Martha Graham Dance Company, Philadelphia Ballet, Limón Dance Company, Gibney Company, BalletX, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Hubbard Street 2 and many others. 

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