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THE BESSIE AWARDS ANNOUNCE 2017 NOMINEES

by Janet Stapleton
July 14, 2017
New York, NY
The NY Dance and Performance Awards, The Bessies, New York City’s premier dance awards honoring outstanding creative work in the field, today announced the nominees for the 2016−17 season at the Bessies press conference. The nominees were selected by the Bessie Awards Selection Committee, an independent committee of 38 dance industry professionals. Bessie Award categories include Outstanding Production, Outstanding Revived Work, Outstanding Performer, Outstanding Music Composition or Sound Design, and Outstanding Visual Design. The list of nominations follows.

The 33rd annual Bessie Awards will take place on Monday, October 9, 2017, at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets will go on sale August 1.

Two 2017 awards were presented at the press conference. The Outstanding Emerging Choreographer Award was presented to Will Rawls for creating astute, genre-eluding work that explores the relationship between movement and language and delves deeply into ideas of transmission, translation, and authorship; and for his multifaceted artistry as choreographer, writer, editor, and curator, expanding the presence of dance and performance.

Abby Zbikowski was presented with the 2017 Juried Bessie Award. This year’s Bessies Jury—Kyle Abraham, Brenda Bufalino, and Beth Gill—recognized Zbikowski for her rigorous and utterly unique development of an authentic movement vocabulary, employed in complex and demanding structures to create dances of great energy, intensity, surprise, and danger.

About the Juried Bessie Award: The Bessies Jury is responsible for selecting a choreographer who exhibits some of the most interesting and exciting ideas in dance in New York City today. A new panel of three acclaimed choreographers is convened each year. The award provides the honored dance maker with touring and residency opportunities outside of New York City through a partnership with the New York State DanceForce, a statewide network of arts organizers and presenters.

“The city’s dance world this season was incredibly vital, brave, and engaged with the issues of our time, featuring boundary-stretching explorations of hip-hop, African, and African-American dance traditions, as well as political cabaret and searingly relevant balletic work,” said Bessies Executive Director Lucy Sexton. “I offer my congratulations and gratitude to all the nominated artists for their work.”

The 2017 Bessie Awards Steering Committee, responsible for setting policy and providing oversight for the Bessie Awards throughout the year, is comprised of Cora Cahan, Beverly D’Anne, Lane Harwell, Jeanne Linnes, Stanford Makishi, Nicky Paraiso, Carla Peterson, Tamia B. Santana, Laurie Uprichard, and Martin Wechsler.

The 2016−17 Bessie Awards Selection Committee: Diana Byer, Tymberly Canale, Leah Cox, Maura Donohue, Boo Froebel, Angela Fatou Gittens, Diane Grumet, Joseph Hall, Caleb Hammons, Zhenesse Heinemann, Jerron Herman, Iréne Hultman, Celia Ipiotis, Robert LaFosse, Matthew Lopez, Matthew Lyons, Harold Norris, Craig Peterson, Rajika Puri, Susan Reiter, Walter Rutledge, Sue Samuels, George Emilio Sanchez, Risa Shoup, Sally Sommer, Risa Steinberg, Carrie Stern, Kay Takeda, Catherine Tharin, Muna Tseng, Kay Turner, Tony Waag, Eleanor K. Wallace, Edisa Weeks, Ryan Wenzel, Adrienne Westwood, William Whitener, and Tara Aisha Willis.

The 2017 Bessie Awards Nominations

Outstanding Production:


Vanessa Anspaugh
The End of Men; An Ode to Ocean
Joyce Unleashed at Abrons Art Center

Kader Attou of CCN de la Rochelle/Cie Accrorap
OPUS 14
Fall for Dance at New York City Center

Bridgman / Packer
Voyeur
Sheen Center

Nora Chipaumire
portrait of myself as my father
BAM Fisher

Antony Hamilton
Meeting
La MaMa and Performance Space 122, COIL 2017

Jessica Lang
Thousand Yard Stare
The Joyce Theater

Ligia Lewis
minor matter
American Realness at Abrons Art Center

Taylor Mac
A 24-Decade History of Popular Music
St. Ann’s Warehouse/Pomegranate Arts

Crystal Pite
The Statement
Performed by Nederlands Dans Theater
New York City Center

Sébastien Ramirez and Honji Wang
Monchichi
BAM Fisher

Abdel Salaam
Healing Sevens
Featuring Forces of Nature Dance Theatre, Asase Yaa African American Dance Theatre, Ill Style & Peace Productions, and Dyane Harvey Salaam
DanceAfrica at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House

Adrienne Truscott
THIS
New York Live Arts


Outstanding Revived Work:

Variations on Themes from Lost and Found: Scenes from a Life and other works by John Bernd
Conceived by Ishmael Houston-Jones. Co-directed by Ishmael Houston-Jones and Miguel Gutierrez. John Bernd's music compositions arranged and re-mixed by Nick Hallett. Consultation by Jennifer Monson.
Danspace Project Platform 2016: Lost and Found

About Kazuo Ohno
By Takao Kawaguchi
Japan Society

Stephen Petronio Company
For Trio A (1966), Chair Pillow (1969), and Diagonal (1963) by Yvonne Rainer; Goldberg Variations (1986) by Steve Paxton; The Courtesan and the Crone (1999) by Anna Halprin
The Joyce Theater

Outstanding Performer:

Yeman Brown
In Citizen by Reggie Wilson
BAM Harvey

PeiJu Chien-Pott
In Virginie Mécène’s reimagining of Martha Graham’s 1933 solo, Ekstasis
The Joyce Theater

Sean Donovan
For his body of work with The Builders Association, Faye Driscoll, Witness Relocation, Jennie MaryTai Liu, and Jane Comfort

Jonathan Gonzalez
In minor matter by Ligia Lewis
American Realness at Abrons Art Center

Julie McMillan
In KO-BU by Benjamin Kimitch
Danspace Project

Cast of Riff this, Riff that
By Ephrat Asherie Dance
River to River Festival, Atrium Plaza

Anna Schön
In Citizen by Reggie Wilson
BAM Harvey

Nicholas Sciscione
In excerpts from Steve Paxton’s Goldberg Variations
Presented by the Stephen Petronio Company
The Joyce Theater

Ensemble of Skeleton Architecture: Maria Bauman, Sidra Bell, Davalois Fearon, Marjani Forté-Saunders, Melanie Greene, Kayla Hamilton, Jasmine Hearn, Marguerite Hemmings, Nia Love, Paloma McGregor, Sydnie L. Mosley, Rakiya Orange, Leslie Parker, Angie Pittman, Samantha Speis, Charmaine Warren, Marýa Wethers, Ni’Ja Whitson, and others*
Curated by Eva Yaa Asantewaa
Danspace Project Platform 2016: Lost and Found
*Edisa Weeks and Tara Aisha Willis also appeared in the cast, but are ineligible to vote on or receive awards as current Bessie Awards Committee members.

Daaimah Taalib-Din
In Eclipse: Visions of the Crescent and the Cross by Abdel Salaam
Aaron Davis Hall

Diana Vishneva
For Sustained Achievement with American Ballet Theatre

Cast of we free: DJ BLKWYNTR, Arielle Rosales, and Solo Woods, as well as Courtney Cook, Marguerite Hemmings, Jessica Phoenix and Italy Welton
By Marguerite Hemmings
Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center


Outstanding Emerging Choreographer (* indicates award recipient):

Lela Aisha Jones

Niall Jones

Will Rawls*

Katarzyna Skarpetowska


Outstanding Music Composition/Sound Design:

ICTUS ensemble/ROSAS
For Vortex Temporum
By Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker
BAM Next Wave Festival, Howard Gilman Opera House

Chris Kuklis and Will Rawls
For The Planet-Eaters: Seconds
By Will Rawls
River to River Festival, National Museum of the American Indian

Ryan MacDonald
For The End of Men, Again
By Vanessa Anspaugh
Danspace Project

Alisdair Macindoe
For Meeting
By Antony Hamilton
La MaMa and Performance Space 122, COIL 2017

Outstanding Visual Design:

Nora Chipaumire
For portrait of myself as my father
By Nora Chipaumire
BAM Fisher

Taylor Mac, Niegel Smith, Machine Dazzle, Mimi Lien, John Torres, Eric Avery, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar
For A 24-Decade History of Popular Music
By Taylor Mac
St. Ann’s Warehouse/Pomegranate Arts

Paulina Olowska
For Slavic Goddesses–A Wreath of Ceremonies
By Paulina Olowska
The Kitchen

Mark Ryden and Brad Fields
For Whipped Cream
By Alexei Ratmansky
Performed by American Ballet Theatre
Metropolitan Opera House

About the Bessies

The NY Dance and Performance Awards have saluted outstanding and groundbreaking creative work in the dance field in New York City for 33 years. Known as “The Bessies” in honor of revered dance teacher Bessie Schönberg, the awards were established in 1984 by David R. White at Dance Theater Workshop. They recognize outstanding work in choreography, performance, music composition, and visual design. Nominees are chosen by a selection committee comprised of artists, presenters, producers, and writers. All those working in the dance field are invited to join the NY Dance and Performance League, as members participate in annual discussions on the direction of the awards and nominate members to serve on the selection committee. The Bessies are produced in partnership with Dance/NYC. For more information, visit: www.bessies.org

Photo © & courtesy of Unknown

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