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Honoring dance. (Starting Here).

Awards aren't won, they are given. Contests and lotteries are won; races are won; all wars are loss (but that's another story). The concept of winning also implies losing, but that's not true with awards. Medals are awarded for a level of technical achievement in certain disciplines of for "valor in the face of ..." Rewards are given for "information leading to ...," etc. Awards are usually presented for certain achievements and, in dance, that often indicates staying power, too.

We don't often blow our own horns at DANCE MAGAZINE, but when honors stack up here among our senior staff, it's time for our community to take notice. The stream of accolades began last April when Publisher Barbara Kaplan was asked to stand in for the mayor of San Francisco, onstage at the Opera House, to present for him citations to Helgi Tomasson, artistic director of San Francisco Ballet, and Joe Goode, the 2002 spokesperson of Bay Area Celebrates National Dance Week and artistic director of the modern dance company that bears his name.

Then in June, Advisor/Senior Editor Doris Hering was honored by and presented the senior critic's lecture at the 2002 Dance Critics' Association's conference in New York City. Since she began her career as a writer and editor some sixty-plus years ago, Hering has worked her way through most journalistic posts at DANCE MAGAZINE, and when she left to become executive director of the Regional Ballet Association, it only served to broaden her perspective on where dance lived and how many people were involved in its making. Hering returned to us and continues to apply her critical eye to performances and contribute her judgment to the contents of this magazine. She was further honored on December 2, with modern dancer and choreographer May O'Donnell, receiving the 2002 Martha Hill Award for demonstrated leadership in dance.

Advisor/Senior Editor Ann Barzel celebrated her 97th birthday gala at a fund-raising performance arranged by five major companies to honor her work in dance (see News, DANCE MAGAZINE, February, page 17). Funds were given to The Newberry Library for indexing and archiving Barzel's sizeable and irreplaceable collections. It seems that Barzel has witnessed, written about, and documented almost a century of dance, including information about many of its pioneers and best-known figures and influences. And she is still a formidable personality in our field.

When I was honored with the 2002 Jazz Dance World Congress award in Chicago in August, it was in recognition of my efforts to give jazz dance its rightful place as a serious concert dance form. Although the award was presented to me, I accepted it with the understanding that all media have now joined and participate in this move to parity with other concert dance art styles. And again, in March 2003, when Oklahoma City University honored me with its Preservation of Our Heritage-American Dance Award, I felt that it was given to me as a participant in our country's dance media community.

But this issue isn't about Awards; it is about Community Building. And it is in acknowledgment of their significant contributions to the dance community that each year (since 1954) we present the DANCE MAGAZINE AWARDS to persons whose lives and efforts have made a difference. Their faces and forms will come as no surprise to you. Read about them beginning on page 24; their awards are to be presented in New York on April 21, 2003.

Other stories here may give you a better understanding of what's possible in community building. The work done by Montreal's Ballet Ouest to give Costa Rica a ballet company and school is heartwarming. The description of Liz Lerman's fourteen-city "Hallelujah" Project, where she asked each community to embody what it was most proud of, is Americana at its finest. "We begin each performance by giving it away," says Ballet Austin about its outreach programs; the title of Artistic Director Stephen Mills's ballet Touch articulates exactly the promise that company makes to its community. The best example of the growing unity of the greater dance community is a complex grassroots movement revived in the 1970s as a way of showing the joy and opportunity to dance to everyone, which is now known as National Dance Week. Hurrah for us all. Let's dance.
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Author:Patrick, K.C.
Publication:Dance Magazine
Date:Apr 1, 2003
Words:713
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