Dance Magazine Awards

The Dance Magazine Awards recognize outstanding men and women whose contributions have left a lasting impact on dance. The tradition dates back to 1954. Celebrate this years awardees at the 2017 Dance Magazine Awards on December 4th at 7:30pm in New York City:

For the first time ever, the proceeds from the awards ceremony will go to The Harkness Foundation for Dance to create a new grant for choreographers in their first decade of our work. It's our way of not only honoring those who have made dance what it is today, but investing in artists who will help shape what it becomes tomorrow.

To purchase tickets, please email dmawards@dancemedia.com or call (212) 979-4872. Performance and post-awards cocktail party tickets are $250. Performance-only tickets are $50. Opportunities to participate at a leadership level of $1,000 are available and include a VIP pre-performance champagne reception.

Dance Magazine Awards
Rennie Harris Puremovement. Photo by Christopher Duggan

Some nights, you head home buzzing with energy. After last night's Dance Magazine Awards, we were dancing with it.

We had the privilege of honoring four legends of our field—Rennie Harris, Marika Molnar, Linda Celeste Sims and Diana Vishneva—in a ceremony that was filled with inspiration and beauty.

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Dance Magazine Awards
Marika Molnar working with Ana Sophia Scheller. Photo by Rachel Papo for Dance Teacher

Since George Balanchine first asked her to care for his dancers in the 1980s, Marika Molnar has helped heal icons as varied as Merce Cunningham, Trisha Brown, Natalia Makarova, Judith Jamison, Twyla Tharp, Chita Rivera and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Some patients call her their guardian angel.

"Marika has always answered all my (sometimes ridiculous) questions with the patience and respect that can only come from a deep love of us patients and what we do," says New York City Ballet principal Ashley Bouder. "Without her help during and after my pregnancy, I would never have been able to come back to the stage at full capacity."

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Dance Magazine Awards
Andrew Eccles, courtesy AAADT

Yes, she's small, but the word "mighty" doesn't even begin to get to the root of Linda Celeste Sims' startling magnetism. She joined Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1996 and now, at 41, it's as if her luminous dancing has entered another realm.

"I don't feel tired," she says. "I don't feel like I hate it. I don't feel like it's redundant. I can express different things. I can see what's happening in a more mature way, and I'm intrigued by this moment."

It's not that she isn't aware of her aging body. "I'm not as quick and as fast as I used to be," Sims says. "It's a challenge, but how can I express movement in a new way?"

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Dance Magazine Awards
Osamu Inoue, courtesy Harris

It makes sense that Dance Magazine long ago dubbed Rennie (Lorenzo) Harris the "high priest of hip hop." When the often shy, Philadelphia-born choreographer founded his company Rennie Harris Puremovement in 1992, he planted a prodigious seed in the dance world. Then and now, Harris' mission has been to examine, preserve and share the culture of hip hop, decisively away from the commercially exploited view.

Harris remembers that when he started in the '90s, it was rough; a lot of his work was direct, so picketing and policing RHPM shows was the norm. But that time also harkened the birth of his well-thought-out launch of street dance onto the concert stage. There was the politically charged March of the Antmen, the pointed look at brotherhood and neighborhoods in P-Funk, and the tour de force Students of the Asphalt Jungle. His chilling solos, Lorenzo's Oil and Endangered Species, screamed chaos, contradiction and culture. In the 2000s, Rome & Jewels, his first evening-length work, garnered a Bessie Award. Facing Mekka followed, celebrating women of hip hop.

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Dance Magazine Awards
Photo by Valentin Baranovsky, courtesy Vishneva

For years, Diana Vishneva seemed to be an exotic creature who landed in New York City: If we held our collective breath long enough, perhaps she wouldn't fly away. But last June, this Russian ballerina did just that after delivering her farewell performance of Onegin with American Ballet Theatre, where she had been a principal since 2005. Her wild passion, her musicality and her ability to hold nothing back made her classical dancing all the more thrilling.

Vishneva got her start at the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg. Seven years later she won the Prix de Lausanne, and in 1995, she joined the Mariinsky Ballet, with whom she gave her first major performances in New York City. In 2001, she began her guest artist career, performing with La Scala Ballet, the Paris Opéra Ballet, Staatsballett Berlin and others over the years.

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Dance Magazine Awards

What do Fred Astaire, Pina Bausch and Misty Copeland have in common? They are all part of one of the most prestigious groups in dance: the Dance Magazine Award recipients. A tradition that dates back to 1954, the Dance Magazine Awards celebrate the living legends who have made a lasting impact on our field.

Today, we are thrilled to announce the four honorees for 2017:

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Dance Magazine Awards

***** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE *****

Contact: Nicole Buggé

Media Manager

Dance Media Publications, LLC

nbuggé@dancemedia.com 212-979-4862

Dance Magazine is pleased to announce that the annual Dance Magazine Awards, the most prestigious awards event in dance, will make the Harkness Foundation for Dance the beneficiary of the proceeds from the event, which will be held on Monday, December 4, at the Ailey Citigroup Theater (405 West 55th Street) in Manhattan. The Harkness Foundation for Dance, a leading donor to dance, will in turn designate the proceeds to a newly created award to assist choreographers in their first decade of professional work.

''I am thrilled that we are able, in partnership with the Harkness Foundation, to provide tangible support to the dance community. I could think of no better way to leverage the power of Dance Magazine, now celebrating its 90th anniversary.''—Frederic M. Seegal, owner and CEO, Dance Media Publications, LLC

The Dance Magazine Awards recognize outstanding men and women whose contributions have left a lasting impact on dance. The tradition dates back to 1954. The new Harkness Promise Award seeks to shine a light on the other end of the spectrum, recognizing emerging young artists for the promise of their artistic work, and also for their innovative thinking about how to be an effective artist-citizen who positively impacts dance and the broader community through performance, education, organization, activism or other means. From 1986 to the present, the Harkness Foundation has contributed over $30 million to more than 560 organizations across the industry.

The Harkness Promise Award will include a $5,000 unrestricted grant, up to 40 hours of studio space within the grant year, and ongoing consulting and mentorship with Joan Finkelstein, the foundation's executive director. A performance project may result from this support, but is not a condition of the award. The first recipient(s) will be announced in June 2018.

"The Harkness Foundation for Dance is honored to partner with the dance field's indisputable magazine of record, Dance Magazine. The Foundation is excited about this new initiative, which will extend our ability to support the future of the dance field.'' —Joan Finkelstein, Executive Director, The Harkness Foundation for Dance

The winners of the 60th annual Dance Magazine Awards will be announced in the October 2017 issue of Dance Magazine. To facilitate the success of the awards event and fundraising for the Harkness Promise Award, a gala committee is in formation.

Tickets to the performance and post-awards cocktail party and buffet are $250. Opportunities to participate at a leadership level of $1,000 are available and include a VIP pre-performance champagne reception. Performance-only tickets are $50. To order, email dmawards@dancemedia.com or call 212-979-4872.

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About Dance Magazine:
For 90 years, Dance Magazine has provided insight and practical information, as well as news, interviews and beautiful, original photography. Dance Magazine illuminates the art form on a global scale, often breaking ground with fiercely personal accounts of life as a dancer. Dance Magazine is published by Dance Media Publications, LLC, whose properties also include: Dance Spirit®, Dance Teacher®, Pointe® and Dance Retailer NewsTM, plus associated websites and apps.

About The Harkness Foundation for Dance:
The Harkness Foundation for Dance is a private grant-making foundation dedicated to invigorating and supporting the dance art-form, predominantly in New York City. Since 1959, the Harkness name has been synonymous with dance philanthropy. The Foundation carries forward the lifelong dedication to the dance art form of the great American dance patron Rebekah Harkness. Over many decades, this support has taken the form of funding, rehearsal and theater space, technical assistance, and guidance—an unrivaled legacy that has touched countless dance artists and companies in all dance styles and genres. With a broad focus that spans dance creation, presentation, education, medicine and other vital services to the dance field, from 1986 to the present the Harkness Foundation has contributed over $30 million to more than 560 organizations across the industry. For more information: harknessfoundation.org

Dance Magazine Awards

In 2017, we celebrate Rennie Harris, Marika Molnar, Linda Celeste Sims and Diana Vishneva.

Join us to celebrate with live performances and special guests at New York's Ailey Citigroup Theater on December 4. For the first time, this year's event will donate proceeds to the Harkness Foundation for Dance to fund a newly-created award for choreographers in their first decade of professional work. Click here for the official press release.

Tickets to the performance and post-awards cocktail party are $250. Opportunities to participate at a leadership level of $1,000 are available and include a VIP pre-performance champagne reception. Performance-only tickets are $50. To order, email dmawards@dancemedia.com or call 212-979-4872.

Watch highlights from the 2016 Dance Magazine Awards.

See all the past recipients of Dance Magazine Award below.

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Alexander Ekman's Midsummer Night's Dream was created for Royal Swedish Ballet. Photo by Hans Nilsson, Courtesy The Joffrey Ballet

Bales of hay, black umbrellas, bicycles—this Midsummer Night's Dream would be unrecognizable to the Bard. Alexander Ekman's full-length, inspired by Scandinavian solstice traditions and set to music by Mikael Karlsson, is a madcap celebration of the longest day of the year, when the veil between our world and that of the supernatural is said to be at its thinnest. The Joffrey Ballet's performances mark the seductively surreal work's North American premiere. April 25–May 6. joffrey.org.

Dance As Activism
Indumba investigates an African cleansing ritual. Photo by Ken Carl, via bam.org


When Kevin "Iega" Jeff saw Fana Tshabalala's Indumba at the annual JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience in South Africa, he immediately knew he would ask Tshabalala to set the work on his company.

"There's an ancient energy in Fana's movement, a deep and trusted knowing," says Jeff, director of the Chicago-based Deeply Rooted Dance Theater. "Because I witnessed the raw humanity of his dancer's souls, I wanted my dancers to have that experience."

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Name calling, physical intimidation and cyberbullying are all-too-common experiences among male dancers. Photo by Goh Rhy Yan/Unsplash

Growing up in a family-owned dance studio in Missouri had its perks for tap dancer Anthony Russo. But it also earned him constant taunting, especially in high school.

"There was a junior in my sophomore year health class who was absolutely relentless," he says. "I'd get tripped on my way to the front of the classroom and he'd say, 'Watch out, twinkle toes.' If I raised my hand and answered a question incorrectly, I'd hear a patronizing 'Nice one, Bojangles.' "

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Dance on Broadway
PC Kevin Berne, courtesy Boneau/Bryan-Brown

Choreographer Sergio Trujillo asked the women auditioning for ensemble roles in his newest musical to arrive in guys' clothing—"men's suits, or blazers and ties," he says. He wasn't being kinky or whimsical. The entire ensemble of Summer: The Donna Summer Musical is female, playing men and women interchangeably as they unfold the history of the chart-busting, Grammy-winning, indisputable Queen of Disco.

courtesy www.today.com

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Dance in Pop Culture
Ballet Zaida; Courtesy Agnes Muljadi

Have a scroll through Agnes Muljadi's Instagram feed (@artsyagnes), and you'll notice that in between her ballet shots is a curated mix of lifestyle pics. So what exactly sets her apart from the other influencers you follow? Muljadi has made a conscious effort to only feature natural beauty products, sustainable fashion and vegan foods. With over 500k followers, her social strategy (and commitment to making ethical choices) is clearly a hit. Ahead, learn why Muljadi switched to a vegan lifestyle, and the surprising way it's helped her dance career.

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The Creative Process
Brandon Sterling Baker never tries to make it a "light show." Photo by Lora Robertson, courtesy Baker

He may not be a household name, but you probably know Brandon Stirling Baker's work. The 30-year-old has designed the lighting for most of Justin Peck's ballets—including Heatscape for Miami City Ballet, and the edgy The Times Are Racing for New York City Ballet—but also Jamar Roberts' new Members Don't Get Weary at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and a trio of Martha Graham duets for L.A. Dance Project.

He's been fascinated by lighting ever since he attended a public performing arts middle school in Sherman Oaks, California, where he had his first experiences lighting shows. He also has a background in music (he plays guitar and bass) and in drawing. Both, he says, are central to the way he approaches lighting dance.

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