Dance Magazine Awards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Nicole Buggé

nbugge@dancemedia.com

(New York, NY) September 21, 2020Dance Media Foundation (dancemediafoundation.org) in conjunction with Dance Magazine, announced today the honorees for the 63rd annual Dance Magazine Awards: Carlos Acosta, Debbie Allen, Camille A. Brown, Laurieann Gibson and Alonzo King. The Chairman's Award will go to Darren Walker. The Harkness Promise Award recipients are Kyle Marshall and Marjani Forté-Saunders.

A tradition dating back to 1954, the Dance Magazine Awards have long celebrated living legends who've made a lasting impact on dance. A list of past recipients can be found here.

Given the deep reflections on racial equity that have taken place this year, the selection committee interrogated the bias in the choices for the Dance Magazine Awards: Over the past seven decades, the list of honorees has been overwhelmingly white. This year, to reckon with and start to take a step toward repairing that history the committee chose to honor all Black artists and leaders.

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Since 1954, Dance Magazine has celebrated the living legends among us with the Dance Magazine Awards. This year, in light of deep reflections on racial equity inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, the selection committee decided to take a close look at exactly who the magazine has honored over the past seven decades. Unsurprisingly, the list is overwhelmingly white. Although it's grown more diverse in recent years, many brilliant artists of color have been left out for far too long.

So for 2020, in order to reckon with and take a step toward repairing that history, the committee chose an outstanding group of all Black artists. A ceremony to celebrate this year's Dance Magazine Award recipients will take place virtually on Monday, December 7, with performances and presentations for each honoree. For ticket information, visit dancemediafoundation.org. I'm delighted to announce our incredible honorees for 2020:

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Dance Magazine Awards
Jodi Melnick and Marc Happel presenting to Sara Mearns. Photo by Christopher Duggan

What a night. The Dance Magazine Awards yesterday at the Ailey Citigroup Theater was jam-packed with love for dance.

From legendary icons to early-career choreographers we can't stop obsessing over, the Dance Magazine Awards, presented by the Dance Media Foundation, recognized a wide spectrum of our field.

And with more performances than ever before, the night was an incredible celebration of the dance community. As host Wendy Perron pointed out, in many ways, we doubled the usual fun this year: Some honorees had two performances, some had two presenters, and David Gordon and Valda Setterfield were themselves, well, two awardees.

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Dance Magazine Awards
Jayme Thornton (2)

All net proceeds from the Dance Magazine Awards ceremony go towards the Harkness Promise Awards, which grant $5,000 and 40 hours of studio space to innovative young choreographers. This year's awardees are Bobbi Jene Smith and Caleb Teicher.

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Dance Magazine Awards
Courtesy The Joyce

In an industry that has been clamoring for more female leadership, Linda Shelton, executive director of New York City's The Joyce Theater Foundation since 1993, has been setting an example for decades. As a former general manager of The Joffrey Ballet, U.S. tour manager for the Bolshoi Ballet, National Endowment for the Arts panelist, Dance/NYC board member and Benois de la Danse judge, as well as a current Dance/USA board member, Shelton has served as a global leader in dance. In her tenure at The Joyce, she has not only increased the venue's commissioned programming, but also started presenting beyond The Joyce's walls in locations such as Lincoln Center.

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Dance Magazine Awards
Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB

Sara Mearns is a force. There is a monumentality to her dancing that was apparent even as a young corps member of 19, cast in her first Swan Lake with New York City Ballet. She threw herself into the role heart and soul, stretching each shape to the limit, trusting the music to carry her to a deep place (and her partner to save her should she go too far). In the 13 years since, her dancing has gained in power and focus, while never losing that edge of risk.

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Dance Magazine Awards
Luc Delahaye, Courtesy Gordon & Setterfield

How to frame two lifetimes of work as broad and vibrant as that of choreographer David Gordon and performer Valda Setterfield? When onstage together, an invisible tether connects them, whether they're kibitzing, chiding, flirting or embracing a sense of melancholy.

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Dance Magazine Awards
Courtesy Pennsylvania Ballet

When Angel Corella took over as artistic director of Pennsylvania Ballet in 2014, the company underwent a sea change. And while some in the ballet world were shocked by Corella's vision to reinvigorate and redirect the company, longtime fans of his career shouldn't have expected anything less.

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Dance Magazine Awards
Andrew Eccles, Courtesy Ailey

When Masazumi Chaya moved to New York City in 1970, leaving his Japanese homeland behind, he never dreamed he would become one of the longest-serving artists with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

For 47 years, Chaya has been a constant force in the Ailey studios: first as a dancer for 15 years, then as choreographic assistant to Ailey, a rehearsal director and, most recently, associate artistic director alongside Judith Jamison and Robert Battle. Quietly guiding hundreds of AAADT dancers to find their own artistic voices has sustained his unwavering work ethic for decades.

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Dance Magazine Awards
Clockwise from top left: Angel Corella photo by Arian Molina Soca, courtesy Pennsylvania Ballet. David Gordon and Valda Setterfield photo by Luc Delahaye, Courtesy Gordon and Setterfield. Sara Mearns photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB. Masazumi Chaya photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy Ailey

The 2019 Dance Magazine Awards are here! A tradition dating back to 1954, the Dance Magazine Awards have long celebrated living legends who've made a lasting impact on dance. These days, we go even further with our recently added Chairman's Award for distinctive leaders behind the scenes, and Harkness Promise Awards, a grant for innovative young choreographers.

So who's included among this year's honorees?

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Courtesy Ava Noble

Now more than ever, the students of USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance are embodying their program's vision: "The New Movement."

As the coronavirus pandemic stretches on, the dance world continues to be faced with unprecedented challenges, but USC Kaufman's faculty and BFA students haven't shied away from them. While many schools have had to cancel events or scale them back to live-from-my-living-room streams, USC Kaufman has embraced the situation and taken on impressive endeavors, like expanding its online recruitment efforts.

November 1 to 13, USC Kaufman will present A/Part To/Gather, a virtual festival featuring world premieres from esteemed faculty and guest choreographers, student dance films and much more. All semester long, they've rehearsed via Zoom from their respective student apartments or hometowns. And they haven't solely been dancing. "You have a rehearsal process, and then a filming process, and a production process of putting it together," says assistant professor of practice Jennifer McQuiston Lott of the prerecorded and professionally edited festival.

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Videos

This short film by director/photographer Rick Guest and designer/creative director Kate Dawkins features former Studio Wayne McGregor dancer James Pett moving to the music of Mura Masa, edited in a way that he almost appears to be partnering with a series of motion graphic designs. Made in collaboration with One Dance UK and the National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science, Guest says it speaks to the unsettling emotions we are all experiencing right now, as well as the resilience of pushing through. The film won the "Best Animation/Experimental" category at the Rethink Dance Film Festival 2020.

Pop Culture
Lil Buck in a still from Move. Courtesy Netflix

Get ready for your next Netflix binge: On October 23, the streaming giant is dropping Move, a five-part docuseries profiling some of the biggest choreographers and performers from around the globe. Each episode provides an intimate look at a different creator and their unique contributions to the art form.

First up are American-based Memphis jookin star Charles "Lil Buck" Riley and Jon Boogz, both founders of MAI (Movement Art Is). Subsequent episodes feature Gaga creator Ohad Naharin, of Israel; avant-garde flamenco star Israel Galván, of Spain; dancehall and Jamaican folk dance choreographer Kimiko Versatile; and kathak-meets-contemporary force Akram Khan, a British-based dancemaker of Bangladeshi descent.

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Career Advice
Courtesy Charlie Hodges

To Charlie Hodges, the idea of quitting dance is nothing more than a state of mind. "You can choose to quit, or you can choose to translate," he says. "Dance can be your tool set for the next step."

Today, he's translating the lessons he learned from working with Twyla Tharp on Broadway and in companies like L.A. Dance Project into starting a business that sells an environmentally sustainable, gender-neutral toy house.

And he's tapped three former New York City Ballet dancers to help him: Jenifer Ringer co-wrote the companion chapter book. Janie Taylor helped brainstorm ideas for the house and drew the illustrations in the book. And Kaitlyn Gilliland lent her business expertise from her recently acquired MBA from Yale.

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Health & Body
Getty Images
COVID-19 has meant canceled programs, postponed commissions, early retirements and cuts in budgets. Under­standably, overwhelming thoughts of loss and negativity abound. But, according to licensed social worker Josh Spell, this is precisely the time for self-inquiry. A former dancer with Pacific Northwest Ballet and Kansas City Ballet, Spell works with several companies to provide coping tools to reduce stress and perfectionism—chronic issues made worse by the pandemic.
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Popular
Studio shots by Alinne Volpato

Something magical happens when Jovani Furlan smiles at another dancer onstage. Whether it's a warm acknowledgment between sections of Jerome Robbins' Dances at a Gathering or an infectious grin delivered in the midst of a puzzle box of a sequence in Justin Peck's Everywhere We Go, whoever is on the receiving end brightens.

"I could stare at him forever," says New York City Ballet principal Megan Fairchild. "He's just that kind of open spirit. He's not judging anything. It's like he's looking at you with his arms wide open and a big smile—even if he's not smiling, that's the energy he's giving you."

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