7/16/15 O&A Dance : The Bessie Awards Announce 2015 Nominees

 By Walter Rutledge


On Wednesday July 15 The New York Dance and Performance Awards (The Bessies), announced the nominees for the 2014−15 season at its annual press conference. For the second consecutive year the Gibney Dance at 280 Broadway hosted New York City’s premier dance awards honoring outstanding creative work in the field. Two 2015 awards, Juried Bessie Award and Outstanding Emerging Choreographer were presented at the press conference. 


The 2015 Bessies Jury; Susan Marshall, Shen Wei, and Reggie Wilson, named Pavel Zuštiak as the recipient of the Juried Bessie Award. Recognized for his poetic layering of movement and visual imagery, Zuštiak expressed his gratitude via video. The award provides touring and residency opportunities outside of New York City through a partnership with the New York State DanceForce, a statewide network of arts organizers and presenters.

Storyboard P

Brooklyn based Storyboard P received the Outstanding Emerging Choreographer Award. He calls this artistic movement amalgam Mutant fusing 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. 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. 

Highlights from the 2015 Bessie Awards Press Conference

Bessies Selection Committee, an independent committee of thirty-nine dance industry professionals, selected the thirty-seven nominees. The 2014−2015 Bessie Awards Selection Committee consists of Nolini Barretto, Diana Byer, Kim Chan, H.T. Chen, Blondell Cummings, Nancy Dalva, Andrew Dinwiddie, Maura Donohue, Simon Dove, Boo Froebel, Laurel George, Caleb Hammons, Zhenesse Heinemann, Iréne Hultman, Robert LaFosse, Matthew Lyons, Nicole Macotsis, Caridad Martinez, Harold Norris, Nicky Paraiso, Mathew Pokoik, Susan Reiter, Rokafella, Walter Rutledge, Sue Samuels, Philip Sandstrom, Gus Solomons Jr., Sally Sommer, Risa Steinberg, Carrie Stern, Kay Takeda, David Thomson, Muna Tseng, Kay Turner, Tony Waag, Edisa Weeks, Ryan Wenzel, Adrienne Westwood, and Elizabeth Zimmer. Produced in partnership with Dance/NYC, Bessie Award categories include Outstanding Production, Outstanding Revival, Outstanding Performer, Outstanding Music Composition or Sound Design, and Outstanding Visual Design.

The 31st Annual Bessie Awards will take place on Monday, October 19, 2015; 7:30pm, at the legendary Apollo Theater in New York City. Tickets start at $10 and can be purchased in person at the Apollo Theater Box Office by phone call Ticketmaster (800) 745-3000 and online at Ticketmaster.com, for groups call (212) 531-5355.

The 2015 Bessie Nominations

Outstanding Production:


Employee of the Year

FIAF/Crossing the Line


Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca


The Joyce Theater


Dorrance Dance with Toshi Reagon and BIGLOVELY

The Blues Project

The Joyce Theater


Neil Greenberg


New York Live Arts


Roger Guenveur Smith

Rodney King



Xavier LeRoy


MoMA PS1 and Crossing the Line


Shwe Man Pwe 

Music and Dance from Myanmar

Asia Society


David Neumann/Advanced Beginner Group

I Understand Everything Better

Abrons Arts Center co-presented by The Chocolate Factory


Justin Peck

Rōdē,ō: Four Dance Episodes

New York City Ballet

Lincoln Center


Lemi Ponifasio/MAU

Birds with Skymirrors

Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music


Pam Tanowitz

Broken Story (wherein there is no ecstasy)

The Guggenheim’s Works & Process


Vuyani Dance Theatre Project


Fall for Dance, New York City Center


Outstanding Revival:

Alexei Ratmansky
The Sleeping Beauty

American Ballet Theatre


Outstanding Performer:

Alexandra Albrecht and Andrew Champlin

in Polly Pocket: Expansion Pack by Jillian Peña

Danspace Project


Michelle Boulé  

For her body of work with Miguel Gutierrez


Lawrence Cassella

Sustained Achievement in the work of Ivy Baldwin


Talya Epstein

in Star Crap Method by Larissa Velez-Jackson

The Chocolate Factory  


Robert Fairchild

in An American in Paris

The Palace Theater


Ellen Fisher

For Sustained Achievement in Performance in the work of Meredith Monk


Lauren Grant

For her overall body of work with Mark Morris   


Ryan Haskett, Daniel Price, and Lil Buck

Live Performance following NYC premiere of Pharaohs of Memphis

DAMN! Film Series

TheaterLab Annex


Juan Ogalla  

in Antigona by Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca

The Joyce Theater


Amar Ramasar

New York City Ballet


Ryoji Sasamoto

in OQ by Kota Yamazaki

Japan Society


Melissa Toogood

For her body of work during the 2014−15 season in the work of Kimberly Bartosik, Merce Cunningham, Rashaun Mitchell, Stephen Petronio, Sally Silvers, Pam Tanowitz, among others.


Outstanding Emerging Choreographer (*indicates award recipient):

Yve Laris Cohen


Moriah Evans

For Social Dance 1-8: Index at Issue Project Room


Troy Schumacher


Storyboard P *


Outstanding Music Composition/Sound Design:

Tei Blow

for I Understand Everything Better by David Neumann/Advanced Beginner Group

Abrons Arts Center co-presented by The Chocolate Factory


Robyn Orlin | Compagnie Jant-Bi

At the same time we were pointing a finger at you, we realized we were pointing three at ourselves… by Robyn Orlin | Compagnie Jant-Bi

Peak Performances at Montclair State University


Ublado Perez Conde

for CAMBUYÓN by Enlace S.C.

The New Victory Theater


Kate Valk, Bobby McElver and Max Bernstein
for Early Shaker Spirituals by The Wooster Group

St. Ann’s Warehouse


Outstanding Visual Design:

Reid Bartelme in collaboration with Harriet Jung

For body of work


Kathy Kaufmann

for Bloowst windku by Rebecca Davis

HERE Art Center


Lemi Ponifasio and Helen Todd

for Birds with Skymirrors

Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music


Design Team: Geoff Sobelle (Creator), Steven Dufala (Scenic Installation Designer) 

Christopher Kuhl (Lighting Designer), Nick Kourtides (Sound Designer), Jamie Boyle (Integrated Archive Designer), Rachel McIntosh (Specialty Props Designer)

for The Object Lesson by Geoff Sobelle

BAM Fisher


 See you October 19 at The Bessies


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