30th Annual Bessie Awards Ceremony

NY Dance and Performance AwardsThe Bessies, officially known as the New York Dance and Performance Awards, turn 30 at the legendary Apollo Theater in New York this Monday, October 20 at 7:30 p.m. Dedicated to saluting outstanding work in the field of dance, the evening will also present performances by the artists recognized over the last three decades and celebrate the emerging and working artists of today.


The one-night-only anniversary ceremony, produced in partnership with Dance/NYC, will be hosted by Lisa Kron, who will be joined by Robert Battle, Faye Driscoll, Karen Finley, Crazy Legs, Virginia Johnson, Jessye Norman, Tere O’Connor, Omagbitse Omagbemi, Miki Orihara, Annie-B Parson, Lenny Pickett, Ken Swift and Wendy Whelan. There will be live performances from three decades of Bessie-recognized work by Mark Morris (1984), Urban Bush Women (1992), Circus Amok (1995) and Michelle Dorrance (2011). 


Arthur Mitchell, a founder of Dance Theater of HarlemThe ceremony will also honor Arthur Mitchell, a founder of Dance Theater of Harlem, and Chuck Davis, the founder of DanceAfrica. Mitchell will receive the 2014 NY Dance and Performance Award for Lifetime Achievement in Dance and Davis will receive the 2014 NY Dance and Performance Award for Outstanding Service to the Field of Dance.


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.


For more information, head to www.dancenyc.nyc. To purchase tickets, click here.


2014 Nominations


Outstanding Production Nominees (four awards will be presented)

– Asase Yaa’s African American Dance Theatre in Djembe in the New Millennium at Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts

– Camille A. Brown’s Mr. TOL E. RAncE produced by 651 Arts at Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts

– Mallory Catlett’s This Was the End at The Chocolate Factory

– Liz Gerring’s Glacier at Peak Performances at Montclair State University

– Maria Hassabi’s Premiere at The Kitchen

– John Jasperse’s Within between at New York Live Arts

– Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker’s En Atendant/Cesena at Brooklyn Academy of Music

– Akram Khan’s Desh at White Light Festival at Lincoln Center

– Sarah Michelson’s 4 at Whitney Museum of American Art

– MIMULUS Cia de Danca’s Dolores at The Joyce

– Okwui Okpokwasili’s Bronx Gothic (in collaboration with Peter Born) at Danspace Project

– Aki Sasamoto’s Sunny in the Furnace at The Kitchen


Outstanding Revival (one award will be presented)

Dark Swan by Nora Chipaumire at The Joyce

Myth or Meth (or Maybe Moscow?) by Radiohole; Tom Murrin at Full Moon Performance Festival at La MaMa

State of Heads by Donna Uchizono at New York Live Arts

Bach Partita by Twyla Tharp by American Ballet Theatre


Outstanding Performer (four awards will be presented)

– Maggie Cloud in Passagen by Pam Tanowitz

– Sean Donovan in the work of Witness Relocation, Jane Comfort, Faye Driscoll and others

– Julia Hausermann in Disabled Theater by Jerome Bel and Theater HORA

– Sean Jackson in We Used to Hold by Lisa LaTouche as part of Rhythm in Motion

– Mickey Mahar in the work of Miguel Gutierrez, Adrienne Truscott, Ryan McNamara and Gillian Walsh

– Angela “Angel” McNeal for her hip-hop battle improvisations at Harlem Stage E-Moves 15 Battle

– Sara Mearns with New York City Ballet

– Aakash Odedra in James Brown, Get on the Good Foot, A Celebration in Dance organized and shaped by Otis Sallid at the Apollo Theater

– Tiler Peck with New York City Ballet

– Rebecca Serrell Cyr in Fire Underground by Donna Uchizono

– Linda Celeste Sims with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

– Stuart Singer in Within between by John Jasperse


Outstanding Music Composition/Sound Design

– Simphiwe Dana, Giuliano Modarelli, and Complete Quartet for Exit/Exist choreographed by Gregory Maqoma

– G. Lucas Crane for This Was the End created by Mallory Catlett

– Steven Taylor for Aubade choreographed by Douglas Dunn

– Nicholas Young for his inventive tap ‘percussion platforms’ in Rhythm in Motion


Outstanding Visual Design

– Thomas Dunn for New Work for the Desert by Beth Gill

– Avram Finkelstein, Kathy Morganroth and Jenny Mui of YMX by Yellowman; Patricia Forelle; Tamara Gonzales; and Nicholas Vermeer, Olivia Barr and William Ward of NYC Resistor for Vectors, Marys and Snow by Brooklyn Ballet

– Peter Ksander, Olivera Gajic, Ryan Holsopple, Chris Kuhl and Keith Skretch for This Was the End by Mallory Catlett

– Tim Yip for Desh by Akram Khan


Outstanding Emerging Choreographer (* indicates the recipients, previously announced at July press conference)

– Gillian Walsh for
 HasbroTM Procedures at The Kitchen

– Jen Rosenblit*
 for a Natural dance at The Kitchen

– Jessica Lang* in recognition for the formation of her own company at 
The Joyce

– Rashida Bumbray for
 The Little Red Rooster in a Red House at Harlem Stage E-Moves Festival


Photo: The Bessie Awards will honor Arthur Mitchell, a founder of Dance Theater of Harlem, with the 2014 NY Dance and Performance Award for Lifetime Achievement in Dance. Photo by Martha Swope.