2013 Bessies: The Highlights

October 7, 2013

Once a year, the New York dance community takes a night off to celebrate its biggest triumphs and brightest talents.


Well, most of the community takes the night off. At yesterday’s The Bessies, the NY Dance and Performance Awards, the awardees were such a prolific group that half of them were busy performing in other parts of the world.


The event was hosted by the always-elegant Martine van Hamel and the ever-lovable Gus Solomons jr, who launched the evening with a tongue-in-cheek performance of Paul Taylor’s completely still Duet to John Cage’s completely silent 4’33”.


Gus Solomons jr and Martine van Hamel in Paul Taylor’s
Photo by Christopher Duggan.


The first winner of the night was Dance Magazine cover star Lil Buck for his jaw-dropping performance with Ron “Prime Time” Myles at Poisson Rouge. Outstanding Performance awards also went to American Ballet Theatre principal Herman Cornejo for his technical ability and artistic purity in the company’s contemporary rep; Shantala Shivalingappa for her vibrant, athletic solo Shiva Ganga; Jaro Vinarsky for his explosive physicality in Pavel Palissimo’s Bastard; and Sebastien Ramirez and Honji Wang for their electric hip-hop duet AP15.


Then She Fell
, the interactive Alice in Wonderland event which has been playing at St. Johns for over a year, won Outstanding Production. Joanna Haigood‘s Paseo in the streets of the Bronx, Michael-Keegan Dolan’s high-energy Rian and Liz Santoro’s Watch It at the Museum of Arts and Design (with the audience watching from across the street) also won Outstanding Production awards. Bill T. Jones’ iconic D-Man in the Waters took home the award for Outstanding Revival.


During the ceremony, we were treated to post-modern trio by Joanna Kotze, winner of the Outstanding Emerging Choreographer Award and a solo (in a full face hood) by Darrell Jones, winner of the Juried Bessie Award.


Rounding out the evening were awards for Outstanding Sound Design, which went to Ant Hampton and Tim Etchells’ The Quiet Volume for their whispered text inside of libraries across the city, and Outstanding Visual Design, given to Fleur Elise Noble for her 2 Dimensional Life of Her, which used projections on paper cut-outs. Balanchine historian Nancy Reynolds was given a Bessie for Outstanding Service to the Field of Dance and jazz master Luigi was given one for Lifetime Achievement in Dance.


Congrats to all the winners! As Lucy Sexton, director of The Bessies, put it in her speech last night, “You make New York City worth living in.”