Meet Our 2018 Dance Magazine Award Honorees
Today, we are thrilled to announce the honorees of the 2018 Dance Magazine Awards. A tradition dating back to 1954, the Dance Magazine Awards celebrate the living legends who have made a lasting impact on dance. This year's honorees include:
Ronald K. Brown
At only 18 years old, Ronald K. Brown founded Evidence, A Dance Company, out of a desire to tell the stories of the communities around him. Thirty-three years later, Evidence is now a mainstay in the modern dance world and Brown is a vanguard among choreographers fusing Western modern dance with movement from the African diaspora. In addition to running his own troupe, he's choreographed on such companies as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (including 1999's much-beloved Grace) and won an Astaire Award for his choreography on Broadway's Porgy & Bess in 2012.
Since becoming artistic director of Miami City Ballet in 2012, Lourdes Lopez has successfully built upon its Balanchine legacy while also embracing Miami's unique cultural identity. She first rose to prominence as a principal dancer with New York City Ballet, performing featured roles in works by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. Her wide-ranging career has also included stints as a cultural arts reporter on WNBC-TV, a faculty member at such institutions as Barnard College and Ballet Academy East, the executive director of The George Balanchine Foundation, and a co-founder of The Cuban Artists Fund and of Morphoses.
Since creating her company Kidd Pivot in 2002, choreographer Crystal Pite has become a critical darling for her dark, mysterious works that powerfully explore the human condition. Her increasingly ambitious productions, some featuring more than 60 dancers, span dance theater to contemporary ballet. A former dancer with Ballet British Columbia and William Forsythe's Ballett Frankfurt, Pite has created more than 50 works for companies like Paris Opéra Ballet, The Royal Ballet and Cullberg Ballet. Today, she is an associate choreographer of Nederlands Dans Theater, associate dance artist of Canada's National Arts Centre and associate artist at Sadler's Wells in London.
As a member of the Paul Taylor Dance Company for 20 years, Michael Trusnovec has commanded the repertory with authority and artistry. He has excelled in roles as diverse as the tormented and tormenting preacher in Speaking in Tongues; the lyrical central figure in Aureole; the dogged detective in Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rehearsal); and the corporate devil in Banquet of Vultures. His work has been honored with a Bessie Award and he was named the Positano Premia La Danza Dancer of the Year in 2016. Having created 26 roles in Taylor premieres, he now serves as company rehearsal director in addition to being one of PTDC's central performers.
Leadership Award: Nigel Redden
For the first year ever, Dance Magazine is also presenting a special Leadership Award, which is being given to Nigel Redden. Over the course of his career, Redden's expansive, globalist vision has guided performing arts institutions across the country, from the Walker Arts Center in Minnesota to the Santa Fe Opera. For two decades (1998-2017), Redden served as the director of New York City's wide-ranging Lincoln Center Festival. Today, he continues to direct the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina, which he has led since 1995.
Harkness Promise Awardees
Left: Ephrat Aherie, photo by Matthew Murphy. Right: Raja Feather Kelly, photo by Kate Shot Me
Another new award, The Harkness Promise Award, will shine a light on two young artists for the promise of their artistic work. The inaugural awardees are Raja Feather Kelly and Ephrat "Bounce" Asherie. The Harkness Foundation For Dance received proceeds from last year's Dance Magazine Awards for this grant. The award showcases innovative thinking and how to be an effective artist-citizen who positively impacts dance and the broader community through performance, education, organization and activism. Proceeds from this year's Dance Magazine Awards will be applied to next year's Harkness Promise Awards.
Come Celebrate with Us!
A ceremony to celebrate this year's honorees will take place on Monday, December 3 at the Ailey Citigroup Theater in New York City. Former Dance Magazine Award winner Misty Copeland will open the event with welcoming remarks. Performances and presentations for each honoree will follow.
Tickets start at $50 and can be purchased here or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jennifer Kahn knew the theater industry could do better. As a professional stage manager for 17 years she worked on regional, off-Broadway and Broadway shows. Nearly each time a show closed, something unsettling happened: "I would watch them throw away our shows. All of the beautiful artwork by my friends in the paint shop would go in the trash." The elaborate backdrops? Gone.
But she had an idea: What if the material used in the backdrops and legs could be upcycled into something new? And what if theater lovers could literally keep a piece of a beloved show?
"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.
For decades the name Alicia Alonso has been virtually synonymous with Ballet Nacional de Cuba, the company she co-founded in Havana in 1948. Alonso died on October 17, just shy of what would have been her 99th birthday. In recent years, she had stepped back from day-to-day decision-making in the company. As if preparing for the future, in January, the company's leading ballerina, 42-year-old Viengsay Valdés, was named deputy director, a job that seems to encompass most of the responsibilities of a traditional director. Now, presumably, she will step into her new role as director of the company. Her debut as curator of the repertory comes in November, when the troupe will perform three mixed bills selected by her at the Gran Teatro de la Habana Alicia Alonso. The following has been translated from a conversation conducted in Spanish, Valdés' native tongue.
New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns wasn't sure she was strong enough. A ballerina who has danced many demanding full-length and contemporary roles, she was about to push herself physically more than she thought was possible.
"I said, 'I can't. My body won't,' " she says. "He told me, 'Yes, it will.' "
She wasn't working with a ballet coach, but with personal trainer Joel Prouty, who was asking her to do squats with a heavier barbell than she'd ever used.