The thirty-second annual Bessie Awards are returning to their early home at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House, where on October 18 they will celebrate the best in dance. Since 1984, the awards, named after dancer, choreographer, and teacher Bessie Schönberg, who passed away in 1997 at the age of ninety, have honored such performers, designers, composers, and choreographers as Pina Bausch, Bill T. Jones, Trisha Brown, Paul Taylor, Wendy Whelan, Martin Puryear, Annie-B Parson, Mark Morris, Faye Driscoll, Nari Ward, Ohad Naharin, Alexei Ratamansky, Movement Research, John Jasperse, and Linda Celeste Sims. Among this year’s nominees are Nicholas Bruder, Molly Lieber, Aaron Mattocks, Gillian Murphy, and Jamar Roberts for Outstanding Performer, Ralph Lemon, Eamonn Farrell, Holly Batt, and DD Dorvillier and Thomas Dunn for Outstanding Visual Design, and Admanda Kobilka and Ustatshakirt Plus for Outstanding Music Composition / Sound Design. The twelve nominees for Outstanding Production include Jack Ferver and Marc Swanson’s Chambre, Maria Hassabi’s PLASTIC, Heather Kravas’s dead, disappears, Lemon’s Scaffold Room, and Justin Peck’s Heatscape, in addition to works by luciana achugar, Souleymane Badolo, Camille A. Brown, Pat Graney, Dada Masilo, Liz Santoro and Pierre Godard, and Safi A. Thomas with H+ | the Hip-Hop Dance Conservatory.
The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company’s presentation of Donald McKayle’s Rainbow ’Round My Shoulder has already been named Outstanding Revived Work, with Joya Powell grabbing the coveted Outstanding Emerging Choreographer award; the October 18 show, hosted by Adrienne Truscott, will feature performances by those winners as well as an all-star tap tribute to Lifetime Achievement in Dance awardee Brenda Bufalino. In addition, Pam Tanowitz won the Juried Bessie Award, and Outstanding Service to the Field went to the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center executive chairman Alex Smith; Eiko Otake will receive a Special Bessie Award from Meredith Monk. Other presenters include Ayodele Casel, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Judy Hussie-Taylor, Judith Jamison, Alastair Macaulay, and Alice Sheppard. The show will be preceded by the Bessie Awards Angel Party at the Mark Morris Dance Center ($100-$6,000), honoring Marilynn Donini, Stephanie French, Karen Brosius, and Jennifer Goodale, and will be followed by a free dance party at BRIC with complimentary pizza from Two Boots.