The Bessies: into the third decade.
Winners accepted their awards at The Joyce Theater ceremony with comments like "This is weird-thanks!" (performer Okwui Okpokwasili); "I promise that next time you give me a note in rehearsal, I'll say, 'Yes, ma'am!' "(performer Molly Hickock); "This is the first time I've ever been late to anything!" (composer Jonathan Bepler); "I actually really need this check right now!"(choreographer Cynthia Hopkins); and "I'm quivering all over!" (choreographer Christopher Williams).
The community rallied, giving a standing ovation to recipient Dudley Williams, (the recently retired, longest active member of the Alvin Alley American Dance Theater). Despite living in these dark days of diminished arts funding, the audience hooted and hollered throughout the evening.
Conceptual French choreographer Jerome Bel's prepared statement clearly indicated a global perception of the American arts funding crisis. "I know how the situation is in the U.S., and you know how it is in France," wrote Bel. "I will take the award but not the money--I'd like to give my check to a deserving New York artist." True to form, he added, "And I'd like to thank the spectators, especially those who didn't like The Show Must Go On, for seeing the piece, and respecting it."
Movement Research director Carla Peterson, who received a special citation for her "guts and gumption" directorial style, said, "The country is going to hell in a hand basket, but in the meantime, I just want to say thanks!" She illustrated the truth behind Danspace Project executive director Laurie Uprichard's hopeful remark that, "Resilience is a trademark of the arts community."
The evening's performances included excerpts from David Neumann's minimalist rumination on humanity, tough, the tough (featuring 2005 Bessie winner and most excellent neo-vaudevillian Chris Yon), and Tere O'Gonnor's scary/funny Frozen Mommy (with a memorable and strikingly idiosyncratic score by Jim Baker). The night's most dramatic presentation was a portion of current Bessie recipient Ralph Lemon's Come home Charley Patton, the final panel of his Geography Trilogy, performed by Okpokwasili.
Nicky Paraiso, past Bessie winner and curator of La MaMa Cabaret, summed it up: "This was one of the best [awards] programs in a long time. There's a feeling of community here today. There's so much going on in the world, it's important for us to see and acknowledge each other at this time, in this place."
Among the other honorees, June Omura of the Mark Morris Dance Group picked up a performance award. Sustained achievement awards went to choreographer Alonzo King and choreographer-composer Meredith Monk in her 40th anniversary season. For the complete list of Bessie winners, visit www.danspaceproject.org.
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|Title Annotation:||New York Dance and Performance Awards|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2006|
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