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Bereishit Dance Company had to cancel North American performances in 2017 due to a visa issue. Photo by Sanghun Ok, courtesy Bereishit.

In late March, The Joyce Theater's annual gala performance included a last-minute substitution: Blueprint, by choreographer Pam Tanowitz. The trio took the place of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's Faun, after two Paris Opéra Ballet dancers were unable to secure visas to appear onstage in the U.S.

"It was a shock," says Linda Shelton, executive director at The Joyce Theater. "In all 25 of my years here, I think we'd only been turned down once before. That was ages ago and we already had a feeling that dancer wouldn't be approved anyway, because of an issue with their passport. This was just a big, big surprise."

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For Dance Magazine's 90th anniversary issue, we wanted to celebrate the movers, shakers and changemakers who are having the biggest impact on our field right now. There were so many to choose from! But with the help of dozens of writers, artists and administrators working in dance, the Dance Magazine staff whittled the list down to those we felt are making the most difference right now.

Click through the links below to find out why they made our list.

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Courtesy Joyce

The Joyce Theater remains a second home for mainstream dance lovers in New York City, and executive director Linda Shelton's choices of whom to present (made along with director of programming Martin Wechsler) hold remarkable power. Saying your company has landed a week at The Joyce is basically another way of saying you've "made it."

Prior to becoming the Joyce's executive director in 1993, Shelton was general manager of the Joffrey Ballet and managed tours for companies like the Bolshoi Ballet. She's served on panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, been on the jury of Russia's prestigious Benois de le danse, and is a nominator for the Tony Awards.

For her work, Shelton has been appointed Chevalier of France's Order of Arts and Letters and was given the 2015 "Ernie" Award for her work behind the scenes within the infrastructure of the dance field.

Read the rest of Dance Magazine's list of the most influential people in dance today.

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