OUT just released their round-up of the 100 most influential LGBTQ people of the year, and it features some familiar faces. In a list that included actors, musicians, writers and even military veterans, we were excited to see a few dance world icons included:
Kyle Abraham (whose company, Abraham.In.Motion was featured on the August 2017 cover of Dance Magazine) was recognized for his unique work both as a solo artist and choreographer for his company. He told OUT that his work "speaks to experiences of isolation and longing helps audiences find a kind of commonality."
Bill T. Jones
Photo by Stephanie Berger
Bill T. Jones has been using dance to address social issues like LGBTQ rights and the AIDS crisis for over four decades. "Queer life at its best represents individual freedom in search of beauty," Jones told OUT. "I'm in search of deeper meaning in a time evermore under the shadow of fascism. Today asks me, 'What are you made of? And are you really as brave as you say you are?' "
Director, producer and author Adam Shankman told OUT, "I think all we can do is use our voices to speak our truth and stand up for ourselves and our beliefs—but we also have to listen." Having directed the film adaptations of musicals like Hairspray and Rock of Ages, Shankman is currently co-producing Step Up: High Water, a scripted drama for YouTube Red, whose leading character is a young gay black dancer.
The Alvin Ailey Dancers
Out gave a special shoutout to company members (and real-life couple) Michael Francis McBride and Samuel Lee Roberts, as well as Vernard J. Gilmore, Yannick Lebrun, Jermaine Terry and Daniel Harder. For nearly 60 years, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has been breaking boundaries in dance as they tour the world with works by choreographers like Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Talley Beatty and Twyla Tharp.