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Martha Graham in Deaths and Entrances (1943). Photo by Chris Alexander, courtesy of Dance Magazine archives

Martha Graham was the "Mother of Modern Dance," influencing generations of dance artists with her incomparable choreography and technique that featured the pioneering concept of contraction and release. But did you know...

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Jasperse observes a rehearsal at Baryshnikov Arts Center. Photo by Janelle Jones, courtesy of Sarah Lawrence College

John Jasperse has been a prominent player in many corners of the dance world for nearly 30 years. As a performer, he danced with Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker's Rosas. As a choreographer, he has presented his work at major venues across the globe with his company John Jasperse Projects. As an innovator, he co-founded Center for Performance Research, a rehearsal and performance space in Brooklyn. This fall, he adds one more role to his resumé: director of the dance program at his alma mater, Sarah Lawrence College, in Bronxville, New York.

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In our September issue’s History: Lesson Plan, we learn about Bessie Schönberg, a celebrated composition teacher at Sarah Lawrence College for nearly 40 years, known for championing her students’ individuality. A revered mentor, she helped shape the creative work of four generations of artists.

Schönberg at Bennington College in 1934

Fun fact: The New York Dance and Performance Awards, which were established in 1983 to honor innovative dance work, are more commonly referred to as “The Bessies” in honor of Schönberg. She received her own Bessie Award for lifetime service to dance in 1988.

The 2016 Bessies take place Tuesday, October 18, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Howard Gilman Opera House. Among the nominees for awards in outstanding production, revival, performer, emerging choreographer, music composition/sound design and visual design are Camille A. Brown, Justin Peck, Donald McKayle, Ephrat Asherie and Gillian Murphy. Check out the full list of nominees here.

Photo courtesy of the American Dance Festival archives

For more on Schönberg, subscribe to Dance Teacher and receive the September issue.

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