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It Happened Last Week- The Bessie Award Nominees Announced...

It Happened Last Week- The Bessie Award Nominees Announced...

Published on July 24, 2013

Third Annual Juried Bessie and Outstanding Emerging Choreographer Announced

The Dance Enthusiast At Last Week's Bessies Press Conference
Announcing The 2012- 2013 Bessie Award Nominees -
Presenting the Third Annual Juried Bessie Award to Darrell Jones and Outstanding Emerging Choreographer Award to Joanna Kotze


Erin Bomboy for The Dance Enthusiast

Excitement buzzes feverishly as Sammi Roxy Lim and I approach Studio 5-2 at the Gina Gibney Dance Center. With the sweat of a thousand rehearsals lingering in the air, we hear well-dressed movers and shakers of the dance community speculate on the soon-to-be-announced nominees of the annual New York Dance and Performance Awards, universally referred to as the Bessies after beloved mentor Bessie Schonberg.
The Bessies —dance’s answer to The Tonys — publicly commemorate performers, choreographers, composers, visual designers, and large and small scale productions for exceptional work. It’s an honor to be nominated, but more importantly, in today’s climate of dwindling audiences and draining resources, a nomination shows people are watching.


The Dance Enthusiast at The Bessies Press Conference: Video featuring Lucy Sexton, Paz Tanjuaquio , Darrell Jones, Beth Gill, Joanna Kotze


In 2010, the steering committee overhauled the Bessies to make them more relevant to the present-day dance scene. Produced by the indefatigable Lucy Sexton, this award has become a coveted accolade. While most of the nominees must wait until the official ceremony on October 7 at the Apollo Theater, two awardees were announced during the press conference. Darrell Jones, sporting a porkpie hat and patent leather lace-ups, ebulliently accepted the 2013 Juried Bessie for his club dancing work Hoo-Ha (for your eyes only) at Danspace Project. Joanna Kotze, reed-thin in a mint dress, tearfully received the Award for Outstanding Emerging Choreographer forIt happened it had happened it is happening it will happen, which also premiered at Danspace Project. Jones and Kotze gushed that the honor was positive reinforcement; both eagerly anticipate returning to the studio to hone their craft.
Darrell Jones, Bessie Juried Award Winner, Photo by AK47Division


Those acknowledged by the Bessie selection committee rhapsodized with elation. “I’m thrilled and so honored,” exclaimed Marty Beller, nominated for Outstanding Composition or Sound Design for Ephrat Asherie’s A Single Ride.Annique S. Roberts, a performer with Ronald K. Brown’s Evidence Dance Company and one of twelve dancers nominated for Outstanding Performer, was thrilled by the opportunity to join long-admired mentors who received Bessie nominations.Jennine Willett, co-artistic director of Then She Fell and nominated for Outstanding Production in a venue of less than 400 seats, expressed excitement at recognition for the dance choreography in a show that twines movement, theater, and an art installation into one experience.

Joanna Kotze at 2013 Bessie Nominee press conference, by AK47Division
While the nominees skew toward risk-taking downtown dance, the Bessie selection committee has extended their range to include ballet, Indian dance, and works that stretch the boundaries of a traditional form.Popular veterans were also acknowledged: Bill T. Jones’ D-Man in the Water and Doug Elkins’ Scott, Queen of Marys received accolades in the Outstanding Revived Work category.
Regrettably, the Bessie selection committee can’t celebrate all of the rich talent in New York’s dance scene. For those who feel strongly about exclusions, Sexton urges a 0 enrollment, which allows members to recommend individuals to the selection committee.
We must wait until autumn to find out who wins, but until then, conjecture runs rampant. I know whom I’m rooting for: How about you?



Outstanding Performer

Shantala Shivalingappa in Shiva Ganga Choreographed by Shantala Shivalingappa -Fall for Dance, City Center
Herman Cornejo- American Ballet Theatre Works by Mark Morris, Twyla Tharp and Alexei Ratmansky City Center and the Metropolitan Opera House
Aaron Mattocks Works by David Gordon, Stephen Petronio, Jodi Melnick, Christopher Williams, Faye Driscoll, John Kelly, Dean Moss, Doug Elkins and more
Annique Roberts Evidence Dance Company Works by Ronald K. Brown
Charles "Lil Buck" Riley and Ron "Prime Tyme" Myles Le Poisson Rouge
Kayo Seyama in BELL Choreographed by Yasuko Yokoshi New York Live Arts
David Wampach and Tamar Shelef in SACRE Choreographed by David Wampach The Invisible Dog Art Center as part of Performance Space 122’s COIL Festival
Jennifer Monson in Live Dancing Archive Choreographed by Jennifer Monson The Kitchen
Melissa Toogood in Interface, Choreographed by Rashaun Mitchell at Baryshnikov Arts Center and The Spectators, Choreographed by Pam Tanowitz at New York Live Arts
Sebastien Ramirez and Honji Wang in AP15 Choreographed by Sebastien Ramirez and Honji Wang The Apollo Theater, Breakin’ Convention
Hari Krishnan in The Frog Princess Choreographed by Hari Krishnan La MaMa, La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival
Jaro Vinarsky in Bastard (The Painted Bird Trilogy Cycle part I) Choreographed by Pavel Zustiak La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival

Outstanding Emerging Choreographer
Justin Peck for Year of the Rabbit New York City Ballet
Molly Lieber and Eleanor Smith for Tulip Roulette
Ephrat Asherie for A Single Ride Dixon Place
Joanna Kotze for It Happened It Had Happened It Is Happening It Will Happen Danspace Project

Outstanding Musical Composition/Sound Design
Omar Sosa For Miriam Choreographed by Nora Chipaumire BAM’s Fishman Space
Marty Beller for A Single Ride Choreographed by Ephrat Asherie
Ant Hampton and Tim Etchells for The Quiet Volume Created by Ant Hampton and Tim Etchells Performance Space 122 and PEN World Voices Festival
Liam O Maonlai for Rian, Choreographed by Michael Keegan-Dolan of Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre Lincoln Center, White Light Festival

Outstanding Visual Design
Suzanne Bocanegra, costume design for Ich, Kurbisgeist by Big Dance Theater at The Chocolate Factory
Pontus Lidberg, set and media design for Within (Labyrinth Within) by Morphoses at The Joyce
Fleur Elise Noble, visual design with media for Two Dimension Life of Her by Fleur Elise Noble at Under the Radar Festival, The Public Theater
Akiko Iwasaki, costume design for BELL by Yasuko Yokoshi at New York Live Arts

Outstanding Revived Work
Dionysus in 69 Rude Mechs from a work by The Performance Group New York Live Arts
State of Heads Choreographed by Donna Uchizono New York Live Arts
Scott, Queen of Marys Choreographed by Doug Elkins Baryshnikov Arts Center
D-Man in the Waters Choreographed by Bill T. Jones The Joyce

Outstanding Production
(performed in a large capacity venue of more than 400 seats)
Rian, Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre Choreographed by Michael Keegan-Dolan Lincoln Center, White Light Festival
Shostakovich Trilogy, American Ballet Theatre Choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky Metropolitan Opera House
The Legend of Apsara Mera, Royal Ballet of Cambodia BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House

Outstanding Production
(performed in a small capacity venue of less than 400 seats)
Then She Fell Created and choreographed by Third Rail Projects Kingsland Ward at St. Johns
Everything You See Choreographed by Vicky Shick Danspace Project
The Painted Bird Trilogy Cycle Choreographed by Pavel Zustiak and Palissimo La MaMa, La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival

Outstanding Production
(of a work stretching the boundaries of a traditional form)

Paseo Choreographed by Joanna Haigood Dancing in the Streets and Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education
red, black, & GREEN: a blues Choreographed by Marc Bamuthi Joseph BAM’s Fishman Space
Mo(or)town/Redux Choreographed by Doug Elkins Baryshnikov Arts Center

Outstanding Production
(of a work at the forefront of contemporary dance and performance practices)
Watch It Choreographed by Liz Santoro Museum of Arts and Design
The People to Come Choreographed by Yanira Castro The Invisible Dog Art Center
Organ Player Created by Narcissister Abrons Arts Center

Produced in partnership with Dance/NYC, the NY Dance and Performance Awards have saluted outstanding and groundbreaking creative work by independent dance artists in NYC for 29 years. Known as “The Bessie” in honor of revered dance teacher Bessie Schoenberg, the awards were established in 1983 by David White at Dance Theater Workshop. They recognize exceptional work in choreography, performance, music composition and visual design. A 40-member Selection Committee comprised of artists, presenters, producers, and writers choose nominees. All those working in the dance field are invited to join the NY Dance and Performance League—members participate in annual discussions on the direction of the awards and nominate members to serve on the Selection Committee.




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