Lucy Sexton, producer of The BessiesLast night, at a press conference at Gibney Dance Center, the New York Dance and Performance Awards (casually known as The Bessies, in honor of revered dance teacher Bessie Schönberg) announced the 40 nominees for the 2012-13 performing season. The Bessies, which have been referred to by The New York Times as “the dance world’s version of the Academy Awards,” will take place on October 7, at the Apollo Theater in NYC. The 40 nominees, in categories like Outstanding Production, Outstanding Performer and Outstanding Revived Work, were chosen by The Bessies Selection Committee. This committee is made up of 38 dance industry professionals, who spent the previous season attending as many performances as possible, culling possible nominees.
For the first time, two big awards were actually announced at the press conference: Darrell Jones was named the recipient of the Juried Bessie Award, chosen by a panel for his innovative approach to choreography; and Joanne Kotze was named the recipient of the Outstanding Emerging Choreographer award. Both awardees were humbled and grateful. Jones told an old story in which he and his younger brother received a bag of walnuts for Christmas one year, from their dad, only to ecstatically discover that hidden inside the walnuts were $20 bills. "I feel like I've just cracked open another bag of walnuts," he tearfully said.
Joanna Kotze, recipient of the Outstanding Emerging Choreographer AwardDT was pleased to see some familiar faces nominated! Ephrat Asherie (“How I teach a Baby Freeze,” October 2012) was nominated for the Outstanding Emerging Choreographer award. Doug Elkins (“Face to Face,” September 2012) was nominated twice—for Outstanding Revived Work, for his Scott, Queen of Marys, and for Outstanding Production (of a work stretching the boundaries of a traditional form) for his Mo(or)town/Redux. Vicky Shick was nominated for Outstanding Production, too (performed in a small capacity venue of less than 400 seats) for her Everything You See—which featured someone from the Dancemedia crew: Dance Magazine editor-in-chief Wendy Perron!
Congratulations to all of the nominees, and good luck on October 7!
All photos by Anna Kuzmina