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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Dance Magazine Awards
Misty Copeland opened the 2018 Dance Magazine Awards. Photo by Christopher Duggan.

What does it mean to be human? Well, many things. But if you were at the Dance Magazine Awards last night, you could argue that to be human is to dance. Speeches about the powerful humanity of our art form were backed up with performances by incredible dancers hailing from everywhere from Hubbard Street Dance Chicago to Miami City Ballet.

Misty Copeland started off the celebration. A self-professed "Dance Magazine connoisseur from the age of 13," she not only spoke about how excited she was to be in a room full of dancers, but also—having just come from Dance Theatre of Harlem's memorial for Arthur Mitchell—what she saw as their duty: "We all in this room hold a responsibility to use this art for good," she said. "Dance unifies, so let's get to work."

That sentiment was repeated throughout the night.

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Dance Magazine Awards
Harkness Promise Awardees Raja Feather Kelly and Ephrat Asherie. Photos by Kate Shot Me and Matthew Murphy

The Dance Magazine Awards are almost here. As we look forward to the celebration on Monday night, we're sharing an excerpt from the program—a letter written by our CEO Frederic Seegal:

The 61st year of the Dance Magazine Awards represents a major step forward. It extends the reach of the awards and now marks the second year of our collaboration with the Harkness Foundation for Dance, thus uniting two iconic organizations.

Firstly, this will be the inaugural presentation of the Harkness Promise Awards, which recognizes new talent at the upswing of their careers. Nurturing emerging artists, especially choreographers, is critical to ensuring dance's role in today's cultural landscape.

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News
Getty Images

When French President Emmanuel Macron proposed widespread pension reforms in December, the repercussions were felt almost immediately throughout France. In Paris, protests reverberated through the city. Metro trains halted, the Eiffel Tower was shut down, schools closed, and, at the Paris Opéra Ballet, dancers, singers, artisans and technicians went on strike.

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Dancers Trending
Amanda LaCount. Rich Clark Photography, Courtesy LaCount

Hip-hop dancer Amanda LaCount reflects on the biases she's encountered as a plus-size artist—and how dancers can be more supportive of one other. Inclusion starts in the studio, says LaCount.

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News
Jeremy Brick, Courtesy Royal New Zealand Ballet

It's fitting that New Zealand, the first country to give women the right to vote, should also be the place where, for the first time, a major ballet company will pre­sent an entire 12-month dance season devoted to works by female choreographers. But according to Royal New Zealand Ballet's artistic director, former Pacific Northwest Ballet star Patricia Barker, programming this historic season was far less difficult than it might sound.

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Training
Courtesy That's Entertainment Performing Arts Competition

When you've grown up on a competition stage, the college dance scene can feel totally foreign. Many programs will ask you to try movement that's more experimental than what you're used to. The pace of classes might feel frustratingly slow. Yet competition dancers bring unique talents to the college classroom—as long as they're open to a new kind of experience.

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Training
Julie Kent teaching pointe class. Photo by Mena Brunette, Courtesy Washington School of Ballet

"Julie Kent was my first ballet crush," Harry Warshaw admits with a shy smile. The curly-haired 17-year-old has just learned a variation from Swan Lake. "I remember watching Center Stage when I was about 10 or 11 just to see her."

Now he is taking technique class with the former American Ballet Theatre star and current artistic director of The Washington Ballet. And he's falling in love all over again. Kent "gives you a chance to actually move your body and breathe," he says. "In some classes you have to hold and make sure everything's in the right place, but with her you're actually getting to dance."

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Popular
Getty Images

When college admissions season rolls around, many dancers have their sights set on big-name universities. But a four-year institution isn't the only way to get a good dance education. Though sometimes overlooked, community colleges can offer quality dance instruction that's on par with the first two years of a university.

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