Honors & Awards

  • Former New York City Ballet principal Patricia McBride receives the 2014 Kennedy Center Honors on December 7. McBride, 72, spent 28 years as a principal at NYCB and joins the ranks of Arthur Mitchell, Jacques d’Amboise, Maria Tallchief, Edward Villella, Suzanne Farrell, Jerome Robbins and George Balanchine as a Kennedy Center honoree. McBride and her husband Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux direct Charlotte Ballet (formerly known as North Carolina Dance Theatre). Look for the broadcast on CBS, December 30 at 9 pm, EST.

  • The American Dance Guild honors Philadanco founder Joan Myers Brown, choreographer and educator Bill Evans and choreographer Douglas Dunn at its annual festival, December 4–7, at The Ailey Citigroup Theater in New York. In keeping with the festival’s tradition, the works of the honorees will be performed alongside the works of emerging choreographers as a living timeline of modern dance. For tickets and the full roster of the 33 choreographers presenting work, see americandanceguild.org.

    Philadanco performing Christopher Huggins' Enemy Behind the Gates

  • The New York State Dance Education Association announces its 2014 awardees: for outstanding leadership, Pat Cohen and Joan Finkelstein (DT, November 2005); for outstanding dance educator, post-secondary, Bill Evans (DT, July 2010); for outstanding dance researcher, Elizabeth McPherson, author of The Bennington School of the Dance; for life achievement, Elsa Posey, director of the National Registry of Dance Educators; and for the Diana Domoracki-Kisto award—which gives a dance educator $500 toward attending the National Dance Education Organization’s national conference—Traci Hinton-Peterson, a middle school dance teacher in the NYC Department of Education.

  • The New York Dance and Performance Awards—nicknamed “The Bessies” after influential choreographer Bessie Schönberg—honors Arthur Mitchell for lifetime achievement in dance and Dr. Chuck Davis for outstanding service to the field. Mitchell was New York City Ballet’s first African-American principal. In 1969, he created Dance Theatre of Harlem, the first African-American classical ballet company. Davis directs the African American Dance Ensemble in North Carolina and created the annual DanceAfrica! festival.


Photo by Lois Greenfield, courtesy of ADG

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Despite worldwide theater closures, the Universal Ballet Competition is keeping The Nutcracker tradition alive in 2020 with an online international competition. The event culminates in a streamed, full-length video of The Virtual Nutcracker consisting of winning entries on December 19. The competition is calling on studios, as well as dancers of all ages and levels, to submit videos by November 29 to be considered.

"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

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Robbie Sweeny, courtesy Funsch

Christy Funsch's teaching career has taken her from New York City to the Bay Area to Portugal, with a stint in a punk band in between. But this fall—fresh off a Fulbright in Portugal at the Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa, School of Dance (ESD), teaching and researching empathetic embodiment through somatic dance training—Funsch's teaching has taken her to an entirely new location: Zoom. A visiting professor at Slippery Rock University for the 2020–21 academic year, Funsch is adapting her eclectic, boundary-pushing approach to her virtual classes.

Originally from central New York State, Funsch spent 20 years performing in the Bay Area, where she also started her own company, Funsch Dance Experience. "My choreographic work from that time is in the dance-theater experiential, fantasy realm of performance," she says. "I also started blending genres and a lot of urban styles found their way into my choreography."

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Courtesy Meg Brooker

As the presidential election approaches, it's a particularly meaningful time to remember that we are celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote after a decades-long battle.

Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

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