By Walter Rutledge
The 31st New York Dance and Performance Awards, affectionately known as The Bessies, will be held on Monday, October 19, at 7:30pm, at the legendary Apollo Theater in New York City . Jock Soto (former New York City Ballet principal) and performance artist and playwright Carmelita Tropicana will host the event. This is the fifth year The Bessies will be held at the historic Harlem landmark Theater.
This year The Bessies have nominated over thirty-five artists in seven catagories, which include: Outstanding Production, Outstanding Music Composition/Sound design, Outstanding Revival, Outstanding Performer, Outstanding Emerging Choreographer, Outstanding Visual Design, and the 2015 Juried Bessie Award. There will also be special presentations to Steve Paxton, recipient of the 2015 Bessie for Lifetime Achievement in Dance; and Movement Research, for Outstanding Service to the Field of Dance. The ceremony will feature performances by Bessie Award-winning artists Camille A. Brown, Lisa Nelson, and Storyboard P, recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Emerging Choreographer Award.
Here is an opportunity to meet five nominated artists:
Meet The Artists
David Neumann/advanced beginner group– Outstanding Production for I Understand Everything Better.
David Neumann has been a featured dancer in the works of Susan Marshall, Jane Comfort, Sally Silvers, Irene Hultman, Cathy Weiss, Big Dance Theater, and the late club legend Willi Ninja. As Artistic Director of advanced beginner group, Neumann’s work has been presented in New York at PS 122, New York Live Arts, Central Park SummerStage (where he collaborated with John Giorno), Celebrate Brooklyn, Symphony Space (where he collaborated with Laurie Anderson), The Whitney, The Kitchen and BRIC Arts. His work has also been presented at the Walker Art Center and MASS MoCA. He’s currently a professor of Theater at Sarah Lawrence College.
Lauren Grant– Outstanding Performer for her overall body of work with Mark Morris.
Grant has danced with MMDG since 1996. Performing leading roles in The Hard Nut and Mozart Dances, Grant has appeared in over 50 of Mark Morris’ works. She is on the faculty at The School at the Mark Morris Dance Center, leads master classes around the globe, sets Mr. Morris’ work at universities, and frequently leads classes for the company. Grant has been featured in Time Out New York, Dance Magazine, the book Meet the Dancers, appeared in PBS’s Live From Lincoln Center and ITV’s The South Bank Show and was a subject for the photographer Annie Leibovitz.
Storyboard P– Emerging Choreographer (Winner)
Storyboard P has fused various styles of Hip-Hop, (the latest American born art form) with elements of modern and jazz dance, cinematography and thematic choreographic form to create new dance narrative and abstract movement based works. His work embodies the collaborative ethos enlisting artists, fashion designers, musicians, DJs, filmmakers and street performers. Storyboard P’s art is reminiscent of another American art form- Jazz. Both were inspired by popular urban trends; but then manipulated codified techniques and experimented through improvisation to move in new directions. This 24 year-old phenom’s recent collaborations include fashion designer Marc Jacobs, recording artists Jay Z and Miguel, documentary filmmaker Frendy Lemorin, and renowned photographer Marc Baptiste. He calls this artistic movement amalgam Mutant; and in his own words, “Really my vision is just to speak, just to move, it’s just the aesthetic of it.”
600 Highwaymen– Outstanding Performance for Employee Of The Year
600 Highwaymen is a Brooklyn-based theater company under the artistic direction of Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone. In Employee Of The Year Nominee five young girls perform one woman’s journey, from beginning to end. Intimate and arresting, Employee of the Year asks what it is to discover your own path and find your own way in life.
Tei Blow– Outstanding Music Composition/Sound Design for I Understand Everything Better
Tei Blow is a performer and media designer born in Japan, raised in the United States, and based in Brooklyn, N.Y. Tei’s work incorporates photography and video with a focus on found media artifacts. He has performed and designed for The Laboratory of Dmity Krymov, Mihail Baryshnikov, Jodi Melnick, Ann Liv Young, Big Dance Theater and David Neumann. “As a designer and composer, I create intentionally derivative works from original and existing recorded material. Sounds are transformed through their contextual placement in space and time. My work illuminates the ties between design and subject by reframing familiar, found and original sounds; asking the viewrs to draw sensorial connections between the present moment and their own memories.”
Tickets for the 2015 Bessie Awards start at $10 and can be purchased in person at the Apollo Theater box office; by phone through Ticketmaster (800) 745-3000; or online at Ticketmaster.com. The Apollo Theater is located at 253 West 125th Street , New York , NY 10027.