The Bessies

The Bessies

The 2013 NY Dance and Performance Awards, The Bessies, took place on Monday October 7, 2013 at The Apollo Theater


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Former Cunningham dancer Gus Solomons jr. and former American Ballet Theatre principal Martine Van Hamel co-hosted the evening and also performed Paul Taylor’s rarely seen 1957 Duet as part of the evening’s performances.

Other performances included an excerpt of 2013 Outstanding Emerging Choreographer Joanna Kotze’s It has happened it was happening it will be happening and 2013 Juried Bessie Award winner Darrell Jones’ Torchsong #1. The second company of Paul Taylor, Taylor 2, performed 3 Epitaphs.

Broadway legend Donna McKechnie presented Louis “Luigi” Faccuito with the Lifetime Achievement award, and noted dance historian Lynn Garafola presented Nancy Reynolds with the Service to the Field Award. Other presenters included Renee Robinson, Violeta Galagarza, Joe Levasseur, Meredith Monk, Annie-B Parson, Steve Paxton, Desmond Richardson, and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards.

The 12 award recipients announced at the Apollo are as follows:

Outstanding Production: Joanna Haigood’sPaseoat Dancing in the Streets & Casita Maria Center for Arts, for taking the audience on a celebratory passage through Bronx cultural life set to the Latin beats that originated in these neighborhoods.

Outstanding Production: Michael Keegan-Dolan’s Rian for Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre at Lincoln Center’s White Lights Festival, for a dance of life-affirming joy that featured an extraordinary group of dancers from Nigeria, Indonesia and Europe.

Outstanding Production: Zach Morris, Tom Pearson and Jennine Willett’s Then She Fell for Third Rail Projects at Arts@Rennaissance and Kingsland Ward at St. Johns, for using dance and fractured text to create a dreamscape as compelling and disorienting as Alice in Wonderland’s original journey.

Outstanding Production: Liz Santoro’s Watch It at Museum of Arts and Design, for blurring art and life by placing the audience in a space from which they viewed New York street life, choreography by chance and choice.

Outstanding Revival: Bill T. JonesD-Man in the Waters for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company at the Joyce Theater for returning to a work of great joy born of a time of great loss and bringing its fierce fight for life to a new generation.

Outstanding Performance: Herman Cornejo of American Ballet Theater. He combines an astonishing technical ability with an unaffected purity of movement in the works of choreographers Alexei Ratmansky, Mark Morris and Twyla Tharp.

Outstanding Performance: Sebastien Ramirez and Honji Wang in their duetAP15at the Breakin’ Convention at the Apollo Theater. This electric duet, rooted in hip hop, explored the space between the lover and the loved with delicacy, passion and agility.

Outstanding Performance: Charles “Lil Buck” Riley and Ron “Prime Tyme” Mylesat Poisson Rouge. This duo inhabited the space where street styles become stage artistry, catching rhythms with intricate footwork, slides, toe stands, rippling torsos and sudden freezes.

Oustanding Performance: Shantala Shivalingappa for her Shiva Ganga, for embodying the god Shiva and the spirit of the River Ganges in one riveting performance, a vibrant athletic battle of life force.

Outstanding Performance: Jaro Vinarsky in Pavel Palissimo’sBastardat La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival. A coiled bolt of energy capable of captivating stillness and explosive physicality, he made every moment harrowing, sharp and urgent.

Outstanding Sound Design: Ant Hampton and Tim Etchells for The Quiet Volume at Performance Space 122 and PEN World Voices Festival. For their use of intimately whispered text in a work in libraries across the city and for a score which heightened the experience in a space at once public and private.

Outstanding Visual Design: Fleur Elise Noble for her 2 Dimensional Life of Her at Under the Radar Festival at the Public Theater. She used detailed projections onto simple paper cut- outs to create a complex, playful, visually compelling world.

Two awards were presented at The Bessies press conference on July 17, 2013:

2013 NY Dance and Performance Award for Outstanding Emerging Choreographer: JOANNA KOTZE
Kotze was nominated for her work It Happened It Had Happened It Is Happening It Will Happen, presented at Danspace Project. Other nominees were: Justin Peck for Year of the Rabbit, presented by New York City Ballet; Molly Lieber and Eleanor Smith for Tulip, presented at Roulette; and Ephrat Asherie for A Single Ride, presented at Dixon Place.

2013 Juried Bessie Award: DARRELL JONES
The 2013 Bessie Jury, comprised of Ishamel Houston-Jones, Eiko Otake and Jason Samuels Smith select a choreographer who exhibits some of the more interesting and exciting ideas happening in dance in New York City today. For the second year, The Bessies are working with organizations in the NY State DanceForce network to provide residencies and performance opportunities for the honored artist.

In the work of Darrell Jones, they were drawn to his mix of dance traditions, from club work and vogueing to contemporary modern and his own personal style. They were impressed by his thoughtful approach to the work, which includes significant research and investigation. "Darrell is an astonishing mover but also has a sense of the emotion he evokes with his movement. In working with his dancers, he endows the work with a sense of fairness and democracy where they each get to express their own voice," says Eiko Otake. Ishmael Houston-Jones added, "Darrell possesses the rigor, intelligence, and raw talent of a true artist." Jason Samuels Smith announced: "The jury agreed that this artist, given this opportunity, would do great things with it. We look forward to seeing his new creations."

For a full list of 2013 nominations see below

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Nominations for 2013 NY Dance and Performance Awards, The Bessies


Herman Cornejo in American Ballet Theatre works by Mark Morris, Twyla Tharp and Alexei Ratmansky City Center and the Metropolitan Opera House
Hari Krishnan in The Frog Princess Choreographed by Hari Krishnan atLa MaMa, La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival
Aaron Mattocksin works by Big Dance Theater, David Gordon, Stephen Petronio, Jodi Melnick, Steven Reker, Faye Driscoll, John Kelly, Christopher Williams, David Parker, Doug Elkins and more
Jennifer Monsonin Live Dancing Archive,Choreographed by Jennifer Monson atThe Kitchen (nominationa withdrawn at the request of the artist)
Sebastien Ramirez and Honji WanginAP15Choreographed by Sebastien Ramirez and Honji Wang The Apollo Theater, Breakin’ Convention
Charles "Lil Buck" Riley and Ron "Prime Tyme" Mylesat Le Poisson Rouge
Annique Robertsin Evidence Dance Company Works by Ronald K. Brown
Kayo SeyamainBELLChoreographed by Yasuko Yokoshi at New York Live Arts
Shantala Shivalingappa in Shiva Ganga,Choreographed by Shantala Shivalingappa
Melissa ToogoodinInterface,Choreographed by Rashaun Mitchell at Baryshnikov Arts Center andThe Spectators,Choreographed by Pam Tanowitz at New York Live Arts
Jaro Vinarskyin Bastard (The Painted Bird Trilogy Cycle part I) Choreographed by Pavel Zuštiak atLa MaMa Moves! Dance Festival
Performance Space 122’s COIL Festival
David Wampach and Tamar Shelef in SACRE, Choreographed by David Wampach atThe Invisible Dog Art Center as part ofPerformance Space 122’s COIL Festival


Marty Beller for A Single Ride
Ant Hampton and Tim Etchells for The Quiet Volume Created by Ant Hampton and Tim Etchells atPerformance Space 122 and PEN World Voices Festival
Liam O Maonlai for Rian, Choreographed by Michael Keegan-Dolan of Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre at Lincoln Center's White Light Festival
Omar Sosa for Miriam Choreographed by Nora Chipaumire at BAM’s Fishman Space


Suzanne Bocanegra for costume design for Ich, Kurbisgeist by Big Dance Theater at The Chocolate Factory
Akiko Iwasaki for costume design for BELL by Yasuko Yokoshi at New York Live Arts
Pontus Lidbergfor set and media design for Within (Labyrinth Within) by Morphoses at The Joyce
Fleur Elise Noble for visual design with media for Two Dimension Life of Her by Fleur Elise Noble at Under the Radar Festival, The Public Theater


Dionysus in 69 by Rude Mechs from a work by The Performance Group at New York Live Arts
D-Man in the Waters Choreographed by Bill T. Jones at The Joyce
State of Heads Choreographed by Donna Uchizono at New York Live Arts
Scott, Queen of Marys Choreographed by Doug Elkins at Baryshnikov Arts Center


(performed in a large capacity venue of more than 400 seats)
Rian, Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre Choreographed by Michael Keegan-Dolan at Lincoln Center's White Light Festival
Shostakovich Trilogy, American Ballet Theatre Choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky at the Metropolitan Opera House
The Legend of Apsara Mera, Royal Ballet of Cambodia at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House


(performed in a small capacity venue of less than 400 seats)
Then She Fell Created and choreographed by Third Rail Projects at Kingsland Ward at St. Johns
Everything You See Choreographed by Vicky Shick atDanspace Project
The Painted Bird Trilogy Cycle Choreographed by Pavel Zuštiak and Palissimo at La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival


(of a work stretching the boundaries of a traditional form)
Paseo Choreographed by Joanna Haigood at Dancing in the Streets
red, black, & GREEN: a blues Created by Marc Bamuthi Joseph at BAM’s Fishman Space
Mo(or)town/Redux Choreographed by Doug Elkins at Baryshnikov Arts Center


(of a work at the forefront of contemporary dance and performance practices)
Watch It Choreographed by Liz Santoro at Museum of Arts and Design
The People to Come Choreographed by Yanira Castro at The Invisible Dog Art Center
Organ Player Created by Narcissister at Abrons Arts Center


Produced in partnership with Dance/NYC, the NY Dance and Performance Awards have saluted outstanding and groundbreaking creative work by independent dance artists in NYC for 29 years. Known as “The Bessie” in honor of revered dance teacher Bessie Schoenberg, the awards were established in 1983 by David White at Dance Theater Workshop. They recognize exceptional work in choreography, performance, music composition and visual design. A 40-member Selection Committee comprised of artists, presenters, producers, and writers choose nominees. All those working in the dance field are invited to join the NY Dance and Performance League—members participate in annual discussions on the direction of the awards and nominate members to serve on the Selection Committee.
2012 NY Dance and Performance Award, The Bessies, Recipients

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