The Bessies Are Coming, The Bessies Are Coming!

The New York Dance and Performance Awards  – popularly known as The Bessies – are back and ready to party! Looking at this year’s line-up of nominees (see below), it is hard to say how you could wrong with any one of them – give ’em ALL awards!

Seriously, everyone knows that life in the dance & performance world is tough and it is the mutual support of the wider community that keeps everyone going. Lucy Sexton and the rest of the all-volunteer Bessies Team have proven that widening  the scope of the awards has been a significant and powerful statement about the challenges we all share, no matter what our thing is, where we do it, or who we do it with. It isn’t always easy, but the work must be done. Now it’s time to raise a glass, kick up your heels (at the after party!) and celebrate another year of keeping on keepin’ on in that awesome way that the dancers do!

This year the ceremony will be held on Monday, October 7 @ 8PM @ the legendary Apollo Theater. Former Cunningham dancer Gus Solomons Jr. and former American Ballet Theatre principal Martine Van Hamel will host the show, produced in partnership with Dance/NYC.

Gus and Martine will open the ceremony with a performance of Taylor’s Duet to John Cage’s silent score. The work, not seen since its 1957 premiere, famously received a blank review by critic Louis Horst. Additional performances will include Paul Taylor’s 3 Epitaphs, danced by the Taylor 2 company, Torchsong #1, performed by 2013 Juried Bessie Award honoree Darrell Jones, and 2013 Outstanding Emerging Choreographer honoree Joanna Kotze will present her It Happened It Had Happened It Is Happening It Will Happen.

It is going to be fun and fabulous night & we hope to see you there!

Tickets are available for $20 and $10 and can be purchased in person at the Apollo Theater or through Ticketmaster by calling (800) 745-3000 and online at


Outstanding Performer

Shantala Shivalingappa in Shiva Ganga
Choreographed by Shantala Shivalingappa
Fall for Dance, City Center

Herman Cornejo 
American Ballet Theatre
Works by Mark Morris, Twyla Tharp and Alexei Ratmansky
City Center and the Metropolitan Opera House

Aaron Mattocks 
Works by David Gordon, Stephen Petronio, Jodi Melnick, Christopher Williams, Faye Driscoll, John Kelly, Dean Moss, Doug Elkins and more

Annique Roberts 
Evidence Dance Company
Works by Ronald K. Brown

Charles “Lil Buck” Riley and Ron “Prime Tyme” Myles 
Le Poisson Rouge

Kayo Seyama in BELL
Choreographed by Yasuko Yokoshi
New York Live Arts

David Wampach and Tamar Shelef in SACRE
Choreographed by David Wampach
The Invisible Dog Art Center as part of Performance Space 122’s COIL Festival

Jennifer Monson in Live Dancing Archive
Choreographed by Jennifer Monson
The Kitchen

Melissa Toogood in Interface, Choreographed by Rashaun Mitchell at
Baryshnikov Arts Center and The Spectators, Choreographed by Pam Tanowitz
at New York Live Arts

Sebastien Ramirez and Honji Wang in AP15
Choreographed by Sebastien Ramirez and Honji Wang
The Apollo Theater, Breakin’ Convention

Hari Krishnan in The Frog Princess 
Choreographed by Hari Krishnan
La MaMa, La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival

Jaro Viňarský in Bastard (The Painted Bird Trilogy Cycle part I)
Choreographed by Pavel Zuštiak
La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival

Outstanding Emerging Choreographer

Justin Peck for Year of the Rabbit
New York City Ballet

Molly Lieber and Eleanor Smith for Tulip

Ephrat Asherie for A Single Ride
Dixon Place

Joanna Kotze for It Happened It Had Happened It Is Happening It Will Happen
Danspace Project

Outstanding Musical Composition/Sound Design

Omar Sosa for Miriam
Choreographed by Nora Chipaumire
BAM’s Fishman Space

Marty Beller for A Single Ride
Choreographed by Ephrat Asherie

Ant Hampton and Tim Etchells for The Quiet Volume
Created by Ant Hampton and Tim Etchells
Performance Space 122 and PEN World Voices Festival

Liam O Maonlai for Rian,
Choreographed by Michael Keegan-Dolan of Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre
Lincoln Center, White Light Festival

Outstanding Visual Design

Suzanne Bocanegra, costume design for Ich, Kurbisgeist
by Big Dance Theater at The Chocolate Factory

Pontus Lidberg, set and media design for Within (Labyrinth Within)
by Morphoses at The Joyce

Fleur Elise Noble, visual design with media for Two Dimension Life of Her
by Fleur Elise Noble at Under the Radar Festival, The Public Theater

Akiko Iwasaki, costume design for BELL
by Yasuko Yokoshi at New York Live Arts

Outstanding Revived Work

Dionysus in 69 
Rude Mechs from a work by The Performance Group
New York Live Arts

State of Heads 
Choreographed by Donna Uchizono
New York Live Arts

Scott, Queen of Marys 
Choreographed by Doug Elkins
Baryshnikov Arts Center

D-Man in the Waters 
Choreographed by Bill T. Jones
The Joyce

Outstanding Production
(performed in a large capacity venue of more than 400 seats)

Rian, Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre
Choreographed by Michael Keegan-Dolan
Lincoln Center, White Light Festival

Shostakovich Trilogy, American Ballet Theatre
Choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky
Metropolitan Opera House

The Legend of Apsara Mera, Royal Ballet of Cambodia
BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House

Outstanding Production
(performed in a small capacity venue of less than 400 seats)

Then She Fell 
Created and choreographed by Third Rail Projects
Kingsland Ward at St. Johns

Everything You See 
Choreographed by Vicky Shick
Danspace Project

The Painted Bird Trilogy Cycle
Choreographed by Pavel Zuštiak and Palissimo
La MaMa, La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival

Outstanding Production
(of a work stretching the boundaries of a traditional form)

Choreographed by Joanna Haigood
Dancing in the Streets and Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education

red, black, & GREEN: a blues 
Choreographed by Marc Bamuthi Joseph
BAM’s Fishman Space

Choreographed by Doug Elkins
Baryshnikov Arts Center

Outstanding Production
(of a work at the forefront of contemporary dance and performance practices)

Watch It
Choreographed by Liz Santoro
Museum of Arts and Design

The People to Come 
Choreographed by Yanira Castro
The Invisible Dog Art Center

Organ Player 
Created by Narcissister
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.

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