Highlights from the 2015 Dance Magazine Awards

Last night’s Dance Magazine Awards honored five remarkable artists: flamenco dancer Soledad Barrio, National Ballet of Canada artistic director Karen Kain, American Ballet Theatre principal Marcelo Gomes, dance archivist David Vaughan and Urban Bush Women artistic director Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. Held at The Ailey Citigroup Theater, the awards ceremony consisted of heartfelt speeches by presenters and awardees, memorable dance performances and a whole lot of love. Here are a few highlights from the event.

Karen Kain receives her Dance Magazine Award from Mikhail Baryshnikov.

One word: Baryshnikov. You know you’ve made it when the legendary Mikhail Baryshnikov presents you with a Dance Magazine Award. Karen Kain had that lucky honor last night, and it was well-deserved. When accepting her award, Kain thanked “Misha” for inspiring her.

Soledad Barrio danced with spirit and intensity.

Soledad Barrio gave new meaning to the word passion as she danced Solea, a fiery solo performed to the accompaniment of a guitarist and two singers. With her quicksilver footwork, snake-like arms and laser focus, she completely owned the stage.

The affection between Marcelo Gomes and Juliet Kent was palpable.

When accepting his award, Marcelo Gomes humbly stated, “Thank you for my beautiful partners that I've danced with in my life. I am nothing without them, nothing onstage without my beautiful ballerinas,” to which, Julie Kent, his longtime partner, close friend and presenter of his award chimed in with, “That’s not true,” to the delight of the audience. Gomes was near tears as he graciously thanked his family, friends and dance partners over the years.

At 91 years old, David Vaughan looked back fondly on his career as the Merce Cunningham Dance Company's archivist.

“'Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, you are a badass!'” Zollar concluded, after her inspirational acceptance speech. After 30 years of running Urban Bush Women, she was able to look back and cherish both the high points and the low, comparing them to a heart monitor. It’s when things aren’t static that you know you’re alive.

After dancing Walking With 'Trane: Side B, Freed(om), Urban Bush Woman clapped for their leader of 30 years.

Since 1954, the Dance Magazine Awards have honored choreographers, educators, performers, writers and organizations whose contributions to the field of dance have made a lasting impact. Past awardees include: Susan Jaffe (DT, August 2010), Gelsey Kirkland (DT, November 2014) and Jenifer Ringer (DT, July 2015).

Check out the highlight reel!

Photos by: Christopher Duggan

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