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Dance News: The 43 Nominees For The 2018 Bessie Awards Are...

Dance News: The 43 Nominees For The 2018 Bessie Awards Are...

Published on September 4, 2018
MARIANA VALENCIA. Credit: Ian Douglas

The 34th Annual Bessie Awards will take place October 8 at 7:30pm at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. Don't miss it!

Nominated by the Bessie Selection Committee and comprised of  38 dance field professionals, The Bessies are presented in five different categories:  Outstanding Production, Outstanding Revived Work, Outstanding Performer, Outstanding Music Composition or Sound Design and Outstanding Visual Design.

“Like the irrepressibly vibrant and creative art form it was created to honor, The Bessies have always responded to change, be it political, social, cultural or artistic,” said Lucy Sexton, Executive Director of  the NY Dance and Performance Awards.  “The award has grown increasingly wide in the styles and forms of  dance that it recognizes, and more determined in its commitment to bring visibility to dance happening throughout the boroughs of  the city,” she continued. “This year, in response to conversations of the dance world, the title of  the “Outstanding Emerging Choreographer Award” was changed to the Outstanding ‘Breakout’ Choreographer Award in order to more clearly recognize an artist who has made an exceptional leap in their visibility in the field in 2017/18.”

In addition to The Bessie nominees, winners of  the 2018 Juried Bessie Award and the Outstanding “Breakout” Choreographer Award were announced on  July 11th.  Kyle Marshall was honored with the 2018 Juried Bessie Award, which was presented to him by the 2018 Bessies Jury:  Robert Battle, Stephen Petronio and Ana “Rokafella” Garcia, with a citation that read: “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.”

The Juried Award provides touring and residency opportunities outside of  New York City through partnerships including the New York State DanceForce, a statewide network of  arts organizations and presenters, The Emelin Theater, and other organizations.

Kyle Marshall Choreography. Photo credit: David Gonsier

Mariana Valencia received the 2018 Outstanding “Breakout” Choreographer, formerly called Outstanding Emerging Choreographer Award.  Her citation read: “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.” The other “Breakout” nominees were Hadar Ahuvia, Lauren Lovette and Kyle Marshall.

The 34th Bessie Awards will take place October 8 at 7:30pm at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.




Choreographer: Geoff Sobelle
Work: HOME
Venue: BAM Harvey

Choreographer: Hofesh Shechter
Work: Grand Finale
Venue: BAM Howard Gilman Opera House

Choreographer: Matthew Bourne
Work: The Red Shoes
Venue: New York City Center

Choreographer: Bouchra Ouizguen
Work: Corbeaux (Crows)
Venue: Brooklyn Museum:  Co-presenter: Crossing the LIne Festival

Choreographer: David Thomson
Work: he his own mythical beast
Venue: Performance Space New York

Choreographer: Marjani Forté-Saunders
Work: Memoirs of a... Unicorn
Venue: Collapsable Hole; Co-presenter: New York Live Arts

Choreographer: Kota Yamazaki
Work: Darkness Odyssey Part 2:I or Hallucination
Venue: Baryshnikov Arts Center

Choreographer: Jonathan Gonzalez
Work: ZERO
Venue: Danspace Project

Choreographer: Gillian Walsh
Work:  Moon Fate Sin
Venue:  Danspace Project; Co-presenter: PERFORMA 17

Choreographer: Jimmy Robert
Work: Imitation of Lives
Venue: The Glass House; Co-commission: PERFORMA 17

Choreographer: Nami Yamamoto
Work: Headless Wolf
Venue: Roulette

Courtney J. Cook of Urban Bush Women. Photo credit: Hayim Heron



Performer: Courtney Cook
Sustained achievement with Urban Bush Women, Maria Bauman, and Marguerite Hemmings
Venue: Various

Performer:  Duane Cyrus
Work: Virago-Man Dem
Choreographer:  Cynthia Oliver Venue: BAM Fisher

Performer:  Julian Barnett
Work: Darkness Odyssey Pt 2:1 or Hallucination
Choreographer: Kota Yamazaki
Venue: Baryshnikov Arts Center

Performer: Shamar Watt
Sustained achievement with Nora Chipaumire
Venue:  Various

Performer: William Roberson
Work: Indumba
Choreographer: Fana Tshabalala
Venue: BAM Fisher

Performer: Germaine Acogny
Work:  Mon élue noire (My Black Chosen One): Sacre #2
Choreographer:  Olivier Dubois
Venue:  BAM Fisher

Performer: Elizabeth DeMent
Work:  17C
Choreographer:  Big Dance Theater
Venue: BAM Harvey

Performer: Kaneza Schaal
Work:  Petra
Choreographer: Dean Moss
Venue: Performance Space New York

Performer: Laurel Atwell
Choreographer:  Milka Djordjevich
Venue: The Chocolate Factory

Performer: Sara Mearns
For sustained achievement with New York City Ballet, and various artists
Venue: Various

Performer: Jacqueline Green
For sustained achievement with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Venue: Various

Performer: Zoey Anderson
For sustained achievement with Parsons Dance
Venue:  Various

Photo: Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, by Ludovica Bastianini, Pina Bausch. Courtesy of Peggy Jarrell Kaplan and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts.




Revival: Early Shaker Spirituals
Creator: The Wooster Group
Venue: Performing Garage

Revival: 40th Anniversary Retrospective
Choreographer: Jane Comfort and Company
Venue: Ellen Stewart Theatre at La MaMa

Revival: Rite of Spring
Choreographer: Pina Bausch
Venue: BAM Howard Gilman Opera House



Composer: Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste
Sustained achievement in music composition with choreographers Jaamil Olowale Kosoko, Andre Zachery/Renegade Performance Group, and Will Rawls
Venue: Various

Composer: Zen Jefferson
Works: Let ‘im Move Your: This Is a Success and Let ‘Im Move You: A Study
Choreographers: jumatatu m. poe`and Donte Beacham
Venue: Abrons Art Center

Sound Design: Alim Qasimov, Johnny Gandelsman, and Colin Jacobsen
Work: Layla & Majnun
Choreographer: Mark Morris
Venue: Rose Theater at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

Composer: Ryan Seaton
Work: What will we be like when we get there
Choreographer:  Joanna Kotze
Venue:  New York Live Arts

Matthew Bourne/New Adventures's The Red Shoes. Credit: New York City Center.



Projection Design: Black Kirby (John Jennings and Stacey Robinson) and John Boesche
Work: Virago-Man Dem
Choreographer:  Cynthia Oliver
Venue: BAM Fisher
Set Design: Wade Kavanaugh and Stephen B. Nguyen
Work: Keen (No. 2) Choreographer:  Ivy Baldwin Venue:  Abrons Art Center

Design Team: Mimi Lien, Peiyi Wong, Tuçe Yasak, Richard Forté, and Meena Murugesan
Work:  Memoirs of a... Unicorn
Choreographer:  Marjani Forté-Saunders
Venue:  Collapsible Hole; Co-presenter New York Live Arts

Design Team: Lez Brotherston, Duncan McLean, and Paule Constable
Work:  The Red Shoes
Choreographer:  Matthew Bourne
Venue: New York City Center

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