Dance News: Marya Warshaw And Simone Forti To Receive The Bessies' Highest Honors

Dance News: Marya Warshaw And Simone Forti To Receive The Bessies' Highest Honors

Published on September 26, 2018
Photo copyright: Simone Forti.

The Recipients Of 'Service to the Field of Dance' And 'Lifetime Achievement in Dance' To Be Honored on October 8, 2018

Two groundbreakers, Brooklyn Arts Exchange founder/director Marya Warshaw and avant-garde choreographer and dancer Simone Forti, have been tapped to receive The Bessies’ highest honors.  Warshaw, who will receive the 2018 NY Dance and Performance Award for Service to the Field of Dance and Forti, selected for the 2018 NY Dance and Performance Award for Lifetime Achievement in Dance, will be honored during the October 8 ceremony at NYU's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.  

Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Arts Exchange.

The 2018 Bessies will be hosted by tap dancer and actress Ayodele Casel, and feature performances by Mariana Valencia, recipient of this year’s Bessie for Outstanding “Breakout” Choreographer, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in celebration of their 60th season, and Pooh Kaye, who will perform in honor of Lifetime Achievement recipient Simone Forti.

Accompaniment for LaMonte’s “2 sounds” and LaMonte’s “2sounds” (2009). Photo courtesy of Yi-Chun Wu / Museum of Modern Art, New York.

There will also be a costume runway moment featuring designs by Machine Dazzle, Liz Prince, Claire Fleury, and the design team of Harriet Jung and Reid Bartelme.

Among the presenters will be Taylor Mac, performer, writer, producer and winner of multiple awards including a 2017 MacArthur Genius Award, former Bessie-recipient tap dancer Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards and Dr. Donald J. Rose of the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries, Kitty Lunn, Greg Miller, Jennifer Monson, Dwana Smallwood, and Eduardo Vilaro.

Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards. Photo by Eduardo Patino.

Brooklyn’s Own:

Marya Warshaw: LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN DANCE - A visionary humanist, Marya Warshaw was cited for “founding the Brooklyn Arts Exchange and working over 25 years to create a space where dance artists of all identities and backgrounds can create and where students of all ages can study. For constantly finding new ways to support the progress and creation of work in comprehensive ways through generous residencies and innovative planning.”

Tamia Santana: Producer - Tamia B. Santana is the Executive Director and founder of The Brooklyn Dance Festival and Jeté Dance Center.  She was born, raised and is currently raising her family in Brooklyn, NY and an advocate for the arts. Tamia serves on the Board of Directors for One Brooklyn to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, the Resident Dance Director of the Brooklyn Museum, and this year's proud Producer of the 2018 Bessie New York Dance and Performance Awards. As a prominent concert dance producer, she has executive produced and directed concerts and events at Brooklyn Academy of Music, Alvin Ailey, Summer Stage, The Schomburg Center, The Brooklyn Arts and more. Her previous experience as a dancer has been performing at venues such as Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall, The Apollo Theater, Lincoln Center, and in Europe.

Presenting: Dwana Adiaha Smallwood - Was a principal dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater from 1995-2007. She was the architect of dance program at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls (OWLAG) in South Africa and most recently founded the Dwana Smallwood Performing Arts Center in Brooklyn New.

Costume Designer and Dressing: Claire Fleury: With a history in dance and theatre, creates her designs with a stage in mind. She uses vibrant textiles and easy going but structural silhouettes to create appealing agender styles. Cf designs and makes costumes for dance, theatre and nightlife, and garments for all occasions as long as it is something special.

Preshow Installation Dancers: Carlos Franquiz and Matteo Foriaori

The evening's festivities continue following the ceremony at a free after-party at the legendary Judson Memorial Church, just down the street from the Skirball Center.


For tickets, visit

Oct 8 7:30pm

NYU’s Skirball Center For The Performing Arts


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