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Get Ready for The Bessies: Catch Up with the Nominated Pieces and People The Dance Enthusiast Covered

Get Ready for The Bessies: Catch Up with the Nominated Pieces and People The Dance Enthusiast Covered

Published on October 8, 2019
Ni’Ja Whitson's Oba Qween Baba King Baba; Photo Ian Douglas

The 2019 Outstanding Breakout Choreographer Award: Daina Ashbee

Areli Moran Mayoral  in Daina Ashbee's Serpentine;  Photo by Ian Douglas

“Daina Ashbee's Serpentine is a work of immense power. The Canadian (Metís) artist's durational solo for performer Areli Moran Mayoral consists of a movement pass down a long, narrow stage. The performer is nude, and both she and the floor are coated in oil. Though the work can last up to two hours, this U.S. premiere was an hour and a half, with each pass lasting thirty minutes.”

Read Nicole Loeffler-Gladstone HERE

Nominated for Outstanding Production and Outstanding Performer: Kyle Abraham’s The Runaway featuring Taylor Stanley

Taylor Stanley of New York City Ballet in Kyle Abraham’s The Runaway: Photo Credit Paul Kolnik

The Runaway opens with a solo for Taylor Stanley (a Millennial with a very old soul). He oscillates his body like a sine wave before floating crossed arms down and over himself. Later, he whip stitches upstage, lost and haunted.”

Read Erin Bomboy HERE

Nominated for Outstanding Production: Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event Celebrating Merce Cunningham

Jacqueline Bulnes, Tamisha Guy, Eleanor Hullihan; Photo by Stephanie Berger

“Indeed, as the evening unfolds, Cunningham as nature poet gives way to Cunningham as urban poet. The soundscape steadily spills over into cacophony, with layers of electronic sound and buzzing nearly drowning out the saxophone.”

Read Nicole Dekle-Collins HERE

Nominated for Outstanding Production and Outstanding Performers (for Sustained Achievement): Juliana F. May’s Folk Incest Featuring Leslie Cuyjet and Molly Poerstel

Juliana F. May’s Folk Incest at Abrons Arts Center; Photo by Ian Douglas

“Folk Incest unpacks the aftermath of a thousand hammers dropped, the piece gushing like an infected, untreated wound. It exposes and releases the trauma of the collective female experience where the pain throbs so acutely that the only sane artistic response is insanity, absurdity, and bawdiness. Maybe then, someone, anyone, YOU will pay attention and give witness.”

Read Erin Bomboy HERE

Nominated for Outstanding Production and Outstanding Visual Design: Royal Osiris Kareoke Ensemble’s The Art of Luv: Awesome Grotto! with the Design Team of Tei Blow, Sean McElroy, Eben Hoffer, and Hyung Seok Jeon

Royal Osiris Karaoke Ensemble's The Art of Luv (Part 6): Awesome Grotto!; photo courtesy of Royal Osiris Karaoke Ensemble

“Awesome Grotto! could easily mock its subject matter, but ROKE encounters and responds to the anonymous YouTuber, and the vapid quality of haul videos, with compassion. Perhaps, they suggest, detritus from a global system that unequivocally destroys itself is a satisfactory replacement for a relationship to divinity.”

Read Nicole Loeffler-Gladstone HERE

Nominated for Outstanding Production: Vetigo Dance Company’s One. One & One

Vertigo Dance Company's One. One & One at Baryshnikov Arts Center; Photo by Stephanie Berger

Extending one arm, a woman leans back with an elasticity so languid as to suggest the aimlessness of long, hot days. Downstage of her, a man walks backward as he empties a can of dirt in a straight line. And so One. One & One begins.”

Read Deirdre Towers HERE

Nominated for Outstanding Production, Outstanding Performer, and Outstanding Visual Design: Ni’Ja Whitson’s Oba Qween Baba King Baba Featuring Kirsten Davis with the Design Team of Jeanne Medina and Ni’ja Whitson (Costumes), Gil Sperling, featuring art works by Wangech Mutu and Galvin Jantejes (Video), and Tuçe Yasak (Lighting)


Ni’Ja Whitson | The NWA Project’s Oba Qween Baba King Baba; Photo by Ian Douglas

“A gender-nonconforming practitioner of Yoruba spirituality, Whitson locates a history of nonbinary gender within Yoruba religious tradition by exploring the Orishas (Yoruba deities) as genderless figures. Fittingly, we first encounter the performers concealed in large, tent-like rafia garments, evocative of certain diasporic Yoruba dance rituals. Swaying, spinning and pulsating to hip hop beats, these beings are clearly alive, but they move without the guise of human form.  We can assign no gender, race, or other identity to them.”

Read Nadia Khayrallah HERE

Nominated for Outstanding Sound Design/Musical Composition: Joseph Kubera and Adam Tendler in Kathy Westwater’s Rambler, Worlds Worlds A Part 

Kathy Westwater's Rambler, Worlds Worlds A Part at New York Live Arts; Photo by Ian Douglas

The music is a steady babble of sound. Eastman’s lengthy score and dedication to minimalism create a melodic sedative. Mirroring the rhythm of the piece, both suggest the anticipation of a denied climax.”

Read Melanie Greene HERE

Nominated for Outstanding Sound Design/Musical Composition: Leyya Mona Tawil for for "Future Faith" by Lime Rickey International 

Lime Rickey International’s Future Faith at Abrons Arts Center; Photo by Brian Rogers

“ As if she’s a mad scientist, Tawil works a soundboard that rests center stage, a tangle of wires snaking from it. One time, she takes a microphone and scrapes it against a concrete wall. The rasping from that bounces around, never landing but always hitting.”

Read Erin Bomboy HERE

For the full list of nominees, go HERE.

To purchase tickets, go HERE.

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