Early 2015 Bessies Winners and Nominees Announced
Storyboard P. Courtesy Akintola Hanif, still from Black Magic
Last week, the New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Awards (known as the Bessies), announced the nominees for its prestigious 2015 Emerging Choreographer award. Troy Schumacher, Moriah Evans, Storyboard P and Yves Laris Cohen, a diverse group of young dancemakers, were each deservedly nominated for the title. Though the Bessies won’t be taking place until October 19th, the committee announced yesterday that Storyboard P, a hip hop, modern and jazz fusion artist and imaginative storyteller, has been given the award. A jury of three – Susan Marshall, Reggie Wilson and Shen Wei – chose Pavel Zuštiak to receive the Juried Bessie Award, which recognizes an innovative and exciting choreographer and provides them with touring and residency opportunities outside of New York.
(L to R): Matthew Rogers, Jaro Viňarský, and Pavel Zuštiak of Palissimo in Zuštiak’s Endangered Pieces. Photo: Yi-Chun Wu, Courtesy Dance Beat
Nominees for Outstanding Production and Outstanding Performer – the most populated Bessie categories – are listed below. As is tradition, productions and dancers with little stylistic overlap compete within the same category. How do we compare Soledad Barrio’s fierce and heartfelt flamenco stories with Michelle Dorrance’s inventive tap rhythms or Justin Peck’s playful pas de deux? Melissa Toogood’s performance with Juan Ogalla’s? Robert Fairchild with Lil Buck? Of course, it is an honor to be nominated (as they say) and The Bessies aren’t the be-all end-all on the best productions and performances of the year. Still, The Bessies never fail to both delight me as I am reminded of the incredible diversity that the New York City dance world offers, and confound me as I wonder if these categories, these divisions between winners and losers, are an appropriate way to recognize the gems of our dance community.
Find the full list of nominees here.
The 2015 Bessie Nominations
Employee of the Year
FIAF/Crossing the Line
Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca
The Joyce Theater
Dorrance Dance with Toshi Reagon and BIGLOVELY
The Blues Project
The Joyce Theater
New York Live Arts
Roger Guenveur Smith
MoMA PS1 and Crossing the Line
Shwe Man Pwe
Music and Dance from Myanmar
David Neumann/Advanced Beginner Group
I Understand Everything Better
Abrons Arts Center co-presented by The Chocolate Factory
Rōdē,ō: Four Dance Episodes
New York City Ballet
Birds with Skymirrors
Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music
Broken Story (wherein there is no ecstasy)
The Guggenheim's Works & Process
Vuyani Dance Theatre Project
Fall for Dance, New York City Center
Alexandra Albrecht and Andrew Champlin
in Polly Pocket: Expansion Pack by Jillian Peña
For her body of work with Miguel Gutierrez
Sustained Achievement − posthumous
in Star Crap Method by Larissa Velez-Jackson
The Chocolate Factory
in An American in Paris
The Palace Theater
For Sustained Achievement in Performance in the work of Meredith Monk
For her overall body of work with Mark Morris
Ryan Haskett, Daniel Price, and Lil Buck
Live Performance following NYC premiere of Pharaohs of Memphis
DAMN! Film Series
in Antigona by Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca
The Joyce Theater
New York City Ballet
in OQ by Kota Yamazaki
For her body of work during the 2014−15 season in the work of Kimberly Bartosik, Merce Cunningham, Rashaun Mitchell, Stephen Petronio, Sally Silvers, Pam Tanowitz, among others.
Just hearing the word "improvisation" is enough to make some ballet dancers shake in their pointe shoes. But for Chantelle Pianetta, it's a practice she relishes. Depending on the weekend, you might find her gracing Bay Area stages as a principal with Menlowe Ballet or sweeping in awards at West Coast swing competitions.
She specializes in Jack and Jill events, which involve improvised swing dancing with an unexpected partner in front of a panel of judges. (Check her out in action below.) While sustaining her ballet career, over the past four years Pianetta has quickly risen from novice to champion level on the WCS international competition circuit.
Sean Dorsey was always going to be an activist. Growing up in a politically engaged, progressive family in Vancouver, British Columbia, "it was my heart's desire to create change in the world," he says. Far less certain was his future as a dancer.
Like many dancers, Dorsey fell in love with movement as a toddler. However, he didn't identify strongly with any particular gender growing up. Dorsey, who now identifies as trans, says, "I didn't see a single person like me anywhere in the modern dance world." The lack of trans role models and teachers, let alone all-gender studio facilities where he could feel safe and welcome, "meant that even in my wildest dreams, there was no room for that possibility."
It's hour three of an intense rehearsal, you're feeling mentally foggy and exhausted, and your stomach hurts. Did you know the culprit could be something as simple as dehydration?
Proper hydration helps maintain physical and mental function while you're dancing, and keeps your energy levels high. But with so many products on the market promising to help you rehydrate more effectively, how do you know when it's time to reach for more than water?
Inside a bustling television studio in Los Angeles, Lindsay Arnold Cusick hears the words "Five minutes to showtime." While dancers and celebrities covered head to toe in sequins whirl around preparing for their live performances on "Dancing with the Stars," Cusick pauses to say a prayer to God and express her gratitude.
"I know that it's not a given, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to do what I love for a living," says Cusick, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For her, prayer is a ritualized expression of her faith that she has maintained since she was a girl in Provo, Utah. Even with her seven-plus years of industry experience, she always takes a moment to steady herself and close her prayer in Christ's name before rushing onto the stage.