Debbie Allen and Dick Van Dyke to Receive Kennedy Center Honors

In May, Debbie Allen will enter into an exclusive group of American dance luminaries, joining bold-faced names like Carmen de Lavallade, Bill T. Jones, Twyla Tharp, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Ginger Rogers, Alvin Ailey and Gene Kelly as a Kennedy Center Honoree.

The annual awards, recognizing those who've made outstanding cultural contributions via the performing arts, postponed its December 2020 celebration due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Kennedy Center Honors are now moving forward with plans for an adjusted series of virtual tributes the week of May 17. The possibility of small, in-person events, to be held across the Kennedy Center's campus, will be evaluated as safety protocols evolve.


Along with Allen, the 43rd group of awardees includes singer-songwriter and activist Joan Baez, country singer-songwriter Garth Brooks, violinist Midori and actor Dick Van Dyke.

Allen, who also took home a 2020 Dance Magazine Award, is perhaps most well-known for her portrayal of dance teacher Lydia Grant on TV's "Fame." Her decades-long career spans stage and screen as a performer, choreographer, director and producer. Today, she continues to inspire and nurture young artists through her Los Angeles–based Debbie Allen Dance Academy.

Though he's chiefly recognized for his comedic acting, Van Dyke, now 95, is also remembered for his iconic dance roles, such as Albert Peterson in the Broadway and film versions of Bye Bye Birdie, and as lovable chimney sweep Bert in Disney's 1964 hit Mary Poppins. On TV, in his popular "Dick Van Dyke Show," he often sang and danced opposite co-star Mary Tyler Moore.

Details about the May virtual programming to celebrate these honorees will be announced at a later date on the Kennedy Center's website.

Latest Posts


Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

Cathy Marston Talks Literary Adaptations, Dream Projects and Dance Criticism

Prolific director-choreographer Cathy Marston has made story ballets chic again. Last year began with Marston poised to make a big splash in the U.S., with plans for new creations at The Joffrey Ballet (Of Mice and Men) and San Francisco Ballet (Mrs. Robinson, based on The Graduate), following up remounts at American Ballet Theatre and The Joffrey of her Jane Eyre. With both premieres delayed by the pandemic—even SFB's planned digital debut of Mrs. Robinson this month has been replaced by a webcast of her 2018 Snowblind—Marston continues to work remotely and even started a project-based company in partnership with choreographer Ihsan Rustem.

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS
February 2021