In Motion


The 36th Annual NY Dance & Performance Awards, The Bessies

The 2020 Virtual Bessies Ceremony features footage of the nominated artists’ works, and includes a tribute to the often unsung but essential members of the community who are central to the process of bringing dance and performance to audiences.

AIRED: October 06, 2021 | 1:11:17

Good evening, everybody.

Good evening.

Good evening.

-Good evening. -Good evening.

-And welcome. -Welcome.

Welcome to the 2020... the 2020...

...Bessies Ceremony.

...Bessies Ceremony.

...Bessies Ceremony.

Be strong, New York City dance community,

and lead the way.

Our city needs us.

-Enjoy. -Enjoy.

Have a good time, y'all.

[ Tender jazz plays ]

[ Speaking indigenous language ]

Hello. What I just said --

"My name is Quita Sullivan.

I am Montaukett, Shinnecock, and Black

and I live on the land of my kin,

the Massachusetts Wampanoag and Nipmuc Peoples in Boston.

I also offer prayer for the next generation,

for our elders and ancestors, for our Mother Earth.

I'm a light-skinned Native and Black woman

with glasses and shoulder-length

salt-and-pepper and purple hair.

Behind me is an image

of Montauk Point, New York, my homeland."

As an indigenous and Black woman,

land acknowledgment is a sacred space.

I live in a part of the country that I call Pilgrim Land

because it is the Disneyland of American history.

Living here, I am reminded every day of this truth --

that this nation was founded on the stolen labor

and stolen resources of stolen people on stolen land.

And it humbles me every day

to know on whose shoulders I stand,

whose journeys have paved my way.

Land acknowledge is a first step towards justice,

but it shouldn't be your last step.

In addition, as our activities are being shared digitally,

please take a moment to consider the legacy of colonization

embedded within the technology, structures,

and ways of thinking we use every day.

We are using resources not available

in many indigenous communities,

which often cause more climate change,

endangering those same communities.

This country owes its existence

to generations from around the world

who contributed their hopes, dreams, and energy

to making this moment.

Some were brought here against their will,

some were drawn to leave distant homes

in hope of a better future,

and some have lived here for generations immemorial.

Truth and acknowledgment are critical

for building mutual respect and connection across barriers

of all heritage and difference.

I invite you to join in acknowledging all of this,

as well as our shared responsibility

to make good of this time

and for each of us to consider our roles

in reconciliation, decolonization, and allyship.

[ Speaking indigenous language ]

Thank you for allowing me this time.

Hi. Lucy Sexton, here,

the crazy lady who's been obsessed with the Bessies

since they started in 1984.

I've been a dancer in the city all my life

and it was one of the highlights of my career

when me and my Dancenoise partner, Ann Iobst,

were recognized with a Bessie in 1989

for our show "All the Rage."

In the late 2000s, when the Bessies stopped briefly,

I was thrilled when the dance heroes overseeing the awards

invited me to see if we could figure out a way

for the Bessies to go forward.

Dance/NYC offered me an intern.

Her name was Heather Robles.

One thing that I've learned, as I age,

is that there's no "they" running things.

It is always only us.

There was never any there, there.

Heather and I produced these awards from our kitchens,

pretending we knew what we were doing.

Working with the valiant Steering Committee,

the hard-working Selection Committee,

and with input from the city's brilliant dance artists,

we worked to find ways for the Bessies

to better serve the city's wide-ranging dance ecosystem.

I can tell you thatnone of it would have been possible

without Heather's fierce work on every detail,

without her caring and corralling

the committee all year long.

Most importantly, she leads from the heart,

she cares deeply about what is right

and she gives her full attention and energy

to every person involved in the work.

I have been blessed to have Heather

as my "us" for the past decade.

And, as we navigate these terrible times

and find a way forward together,

the city's dance field is lucky to have her leading

as the new executive director of the

New York Dance and Performance Awards, the Bessies.

I love you, Heather.

It's going to be a great ride.


My name is Heather Robles.

I'm the managing director of the Bessies

and incoming executive director.

I'm a nondisabled white Latinx cis woman.

I'm wearing a peach dress, colorful jewelry,

and sitting in front of a tree painted by my grandmother.

Ilove this community.

It has been such an honor to work at the Bessies

for over 11 years.

Dance is why I live in New York and I miss us.

The Bessies are putting together an archive

of all work canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Please connect with us at

to be included in this living document.

You are vital to this vibrant field.

I'm grateful you exist

and thank you for all you do, and for being here tonight.

Oh, hello.

I didn't see you there. [ Chuckle ]

Leslie Cuyjet, performer and choreographer.

Oh, thank you.

It's just a white turtleneck.

I think it complements my light-brown skin

and chin-length salt-and-pepper hair,

worn in a natural style.

Oh, well I had to wear a red lip for the occasion.

Oh, this is my color-coded bookshelf

in my home in Brooklyn,

which is on the indigenous land of the Canarsee people,

you know?

Oh, anyway.

Here are the 2020 nominated artists

for Outstanding Performer.

[ Guitar strums, humming ]




[ Horn plays ]



[ Upbeat music plays ]

[ Tranquil tune plays ]


[ Singing in foreign language ]




[ Bell tolling ]

[ Speaks indistinctly ]


[ Clap ] ♪♪♪

[Distorted voice ]


[ Upbeat jazz plays ]




[ Classical music plays ]







[ Indistinct singing ]








-♪ Y'all ain't ready yet ♪ -Oh, yo!

-They ain't ready, son. -♪ Ain't ready yet ♪

They ain't ready.

-Yo-o-o! -♪ Y'all ain't ready yet ♪

[ Laughter ] ♪ Yo, yo ♪


♪ Here to stay ♪

♪ Unh, this is true skill ♪


♪ I'm stuck in the Matrix ♪

♪ 'Cause they was passin' us the blue pill ♪

♪ And when Fred sucked it in ♪

♪ His life started flooding in ♪

[ Cheering ]


[ Funk plays ]

♪ I can't remember ♪

♪ Why we're fighting ♪


♪ I can't remember ♪

♪ Why we're fighting ♪


♪ I can't remember ♪

Hello. My name is Conrad Tao

and I'm a musician and composer.

And my name's Caleb Teicher.

I'm a dancer and choreographer

and both Conrad and I are calling

from our homes in Harlem, New York,

which is the indigenous land

of the Munsee Lenape people.

Here are the 2020 nominated artists

for Outstanding Sound Design

and Music Composition.


Improvisation done well reveals itself

as a process of recovery and risk,

not just figuring out an answer to the situation.

That's what anyone does.

Black improvisation, the heart of Black aesthetics,

bring energy to bear on the urgency of now.

[ Warbling electronica plays ]


Black dance creativity arrives

in spaces that are inherently queer.

[ Laughs ]

[ Electronic funk plays ] [ Rhythmic clapping ]


[ Indistinct conversation ]



[ Cawing ]


♪♪♪ [ Chiming ]



[ Singing in African language ]




I'm Constance Valis Hill,

dancer, choreographer, and dance scholar.

I'm wearing a white silk blouse,

rose-colored sunglasses,

and I have curly gray hair.

I am acknowledging

the traditional lands of the Lenape peoples,

an offspring of the Algonquin civilization,

on which I live, with honor and gratitude.

I'm happy to announce that I am alive and breathing,

given last year's mistaken announcement of my demise,

and I'm thrillingly honored to announce

this year's Bessies for Outstanding Visual Design.

[ Strings play ]




[ Singing indistinctly ]




Roberta Flack: ♪Like the trembling ♪ -[ Speaking indistinctly ]

♪Heart ♪


♪Of a captive bird ♪

♪Have it your way ♪

[ Laughter ] Alright!


[Speaking indistinctly ]




[ Strings play ]





My name is devynn emory

and I'm a dancer, choreographer,

massage therapist, ceremonial and threshold guide,

as well as an acute care and hospice nurse --

body, body, body.

I'm wearing a black shirt with white print

and a black beaded necklace given to me by an elder.

I'm reaching to you from my homeland of Lenapehoking

as a mixed Lenape and Blackfoot descendant

on Munsee and Canarsee land, sometimes called Brooklyn.

I'm grateful to have continued performing and making work

in these constant pandemics rising up,

some of which is being recognized tonight.

I'm beaming in, however, with a special thanks.

I would like to extend a very special gratitude

to all essential and frontline workers,

especially those of us who are here

in the dance and performance community.

This tireless work is something I know intimately.

Words cannot express how making work in this time

has truly saved me.

I became a COVID nurse nine months ago,

something I did not sign up for.

It has created quite a bit more ancestors, hasn't it?

I work to hold this now as an honor.

I would not have truly been able to sustain

the physical and emotional labor without you all,

without the continued navigation of engaging our bodies,

creating space for sound,

and sitting with the discomfort, and the potential, together.

As I continue to navigate being a COVID nurse in this time,

I hold you with me daily, knowing that you are all

out there in your own daily pathways,

and I'm truly humbled to be in community with you all.

Hey, y'all.

My name is Jasmine Hearn

and I am occupied land of the Karankawa people.

I'm an artist, organizer, storyteller, memory keeper,

choreographer, director,

and, currently, a company member with Urban Bush Women.

I'm a dark-brown-skinned person,

wearing gold hoops and a black tank top.

Here are the 2020 nominated artists for Outstanding Revival.

[ Classical music plays ]









[ Hooves clopping ]

[ Whooshing ]

The ballet and the library were home, she said,

to a girl who never had a home.

The guys on either side of the stage had

to take the girl next to them,

lift her on their shoulders, and strike a pose.

He was being Shiva'd.

You know, Shiva, the Hindu god of dance.

The one leg going up in a beautiful front curve.

But he saw something in me that I couldn't see in myself,

at 15 years old.

[ Singing ]

♪ Mucho barbecue above the chimney tops ♪

[ Laughter ] ♪Ay, pero que un recipe ♪

♪Algo en la cocina ♪



[ Speaking indistinctly ]


Children: ♪ Yeah! ♪

♪ B-B-B-B-B-B-Brother man ♪

♪ Brother man, brother man, brother man ♪

♪ Brother man, brother man, brother man ♪

♪ Brother man, brother man, brother man ♪

♪ Brother ♪







I hope that all of you are safe and well.

I am Charmaine Warren,

a nondisabled Jamaican Black woman.

I'm in our home on the stolen land

of the indigenous Lenape people,

now known as Montclair, New Jersey.

I have locks that fall to my shoulders.

I'm wearing a black turtleneck

and large, colorful earrings.

Behind me are photos of our family,

a large plant, a lamp, and African masks.

I'm here to celebrate the renewed steps

that Black dance organizations are bringing

to the Black Lives Matter movement.

It's not good that we are here again,

but wewill continue to be loud and proud,

and so let's name all your names.

Hijack the chat and say your name.

If not yours, then say the names of those in need of support

and, if you can, support them.

As a past member of the Bessies Committee,

a 2017 recipient

with my dear friends of Skeleton Architecture,

and a new member of the steering advisory committee,

I can confirm that, here,

the Bessies named just a few from the larger community.

Let's celebrate them and let's continue to be heard.


Speaker: So, it is a very powerful symbol

and it is a gift

from the Billie Holiday Theatre at restoration

and Councilmember Robert E. Carnegie Jr.

It is a gift to the community.

The names of those killed

by racially motivated violence in this country

and painted into this mural is the courageous act

of hundreds of Brooklyn artists.

This is one action

and we will stay involved.

We, the beautiful faces here,

are a community working together

to support, uphold, highlight,

and celebrate Black creatives.

Black dance artists have been doing the work.

We hold these weekly impromptu discussions

and tell stories, Black dance stories.

Speaker: At IABD, dance thrives here.

It thrives in our local communities,

in the dance studio.

It thrives on the stages of our companies.

It thrives in the heartbeat

and in the minds of those who love dance.

I'm Joan Myers Brown.

This is Step Afrika!

Hi, my name is Carol Foster.

-My name is Hope Boykin. -My name is Anthony Burrell.

This is the Dance Institute of Washington.

My name is Tamica Washington-Miller.

My name is Salome Williams.

My name is Seiku Condé. Waverly Lucas.

I am Robert Moses. -My name is --

-My name's Imani Kane. -My name is Kirsten.

My name is Nini Goomey.

I am Sean McLeod.

This is the International Association of Blacks in Dance,

and we are IABD.


Canada's dance Immersion supports Blacks in dance.

We find new and innovative ways

to bring connective opportunities,

using the dances that we practice

for an instrument of change.

We stand on the shoulders of our ancestors.

For 25 years, we've collaborated with dancers

to bring you their ideas

on the current state of society,

their stories of the past,

and their visions of the future

because, when we understand our rhythms,

as dancers do,

we understand one another.

[ Strings play ]



[ Hip hop electronica plays ]


♪ Get up on your feet ♪

♪ And change what you see ♪

♪ We don't need no crowd, no picket signs ♪

♪ Just follow me ♪


♪ Get up off your seat ♪

♪ And change what you see ♪


♪ You don't need no signs, no marching shoes ♪

♪ Just follow me ♪


I'm Joan Myers Brown,

founder and executive artistic advisor

of the Philadelphia Dance Company.

I am sending greetings

from the ancestral lands of the Lenape people,

which is now known as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,

the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.

As a prior Bessie awardee, I am honored to present

the 2020 honorees for Lifetime Achievement.

It was like I felt like I went through an epiphany.

[ Piano plays bright tune ]

I love it when people say,

"You haven't changed. You look the same."

And I look at those two young people, you know,

who were building that space

and cleaning it up.

You would say to me things like,

"Oh, we'll just do this for ten years

and then we'll get gentrified and kicked out."

There's just so many voices out there and they just

keep coming in and they get younger and younger

and I become older and older.

[ Laughter ]

I see that difference

between age and culture and life.

You know, that they laugh is the gravy.

Like, "Oh, my God, wow!

They like it. Wow!"

You know? It's like, "Whoo-oo!"

It's a serious ride.

Loulaki: I'm going to read from

what Mary Overlie wrote on theMovement Research Journal

for the 25th anniversary, about movement research.

"Movement research is designed

to serve a community of artists

who believe in non-exclusive art,

particularizing the study of the body,

non-hierarchical structures in choreography

& the connection of movement to the Earth."

I met Mary when I first came to New York City

and it was amazing to talk with her.

And I have these words in my head that have been with me,

her words, forever --




And I was extremely fortunate to hear her explain to me

what it means to actually

create an organization based on a mission.

So, for all that, thank you.

[ Applause ]

Hello, everyone.

I'm Mariana Valencia, performer and choreographer,

calling from Haudenosaunee and Mohican land,

and here are the 2020 nominated artists

for Outstanding Breakout Choreographer.

Do you need a coffee or anything like that?

Because I'm happy to get something.

Do you drink coffee or tea?

Tea or coffee?

[ Laughter ] Are you a tea person

or a coffee person?

[ Squealing ]

[ Laughing ]

[ Piano plays ragtime ]



[ Both giggling ]

[ Wailing ]

[ Hip hop electronica plays ]








[ Classical music plays ]





[ Bright notes play ]




[ Echoing ] In the dark

[ Indistinct ]


at the end of the day.


♪ [ Whispering ] ♪


Hi, everyone!

I'm Andrea Snyder,

cofounder and codirector of American Dance Abroad.

I'm speaking to you from Thompson, Pennsylvania,

on the native land of the Susquehannocks,

a subtribe of the Lenni Lenape.

I have chin-length, graying hair

and I'm wearing a warm, multicolored,

blue-and-gray sweater.

It's about 22° here at the moment.

Consider this next part a brief interlude.

The Bessie staff Steering and Selection Committees

spent many meetings, this summer and fall,

envisioning this ceremony and reflecting on the very ways

that the dance community has responded

in this extraordinarily challenging time.

Beyond the great artists and art that are recognized tonight,

there's another whole category of dance people

and organizations just doing good.

They touch on political, racial, and economic issues,

COVID, the environment,

for not just the dance community,

but for the greater New York City community.

The following are but a few wonderful examples.

Today on Turtle Island,

or the place that we call the United States,

thousands of people have died because of COVID-19.

But we look forward to radical reimaginings,

to possibilities forthcoming,

and to a multiverse of collective efforts,

as we work to create new futures

in the dance and performing field.

Be as tall and proud as you can right now,

so that we open ourselves up as containers of fire

and vessels of imagination for this discussion.

The streets of New York once felt alive.

Beating with culture, diversity, and artistry.

When the lockdown ended,

we were eager to revive our city.

But every time we tried to reopen, we were shut down,

told that dance did not belong in New York City.

Dance Studio Alliance NYC... ...was born.

And, now, thousands have joined the fight

to save New York City dance.

No matter what lies ahead... thing is for sure --

New York will never forget...

...that we belong.

Hi, everyone. My name is

Paulo Hernandez-Farella

and I'm a dancer with Ballet Hispánico.

My name is Lenae Wilkerson

and I am a dancer with Ballet Hispánico.

My name is Alexandra Hutchinson

and I'm a company artist

with Dance Theatre of Harlem.

Voting is incredibly important to me...

...because I have a voice.

Because our ancestors fought

for each and every one of us to have that right.

But, by 2036,

the U.S. is going to be majority minority.

How will you use your voice?

Together, we can change the world.

[ Bright funk plays ]




Follow us on Instagram...

...on Twitter...

Speaker: Wise Fruit NYC is a seasonal live art showcase

dedicated to the feminine divine

and honors women-led organizations and endeavors.

Wise Fruit is now a social media campaign,

centered on Instagram,

that provides basic and beginner antiracist and equity tools.

We create work, organize people, raise consciousness,

and support one another from the feminine divine power.

...was created to keep dancers and choreographers

here and healthy,

by providing financial

and alternative assistance

to those suffering losses due to COVID-19.

Since March 2020, Barkin/Selissen Project

has pivoted to this cause

and is grateful for the community's enthusiasm

in supporting over 50 individuals, so far,

and more in 2021.

For more information about this fund,

please visit...

It distributed $73 million

from more than 1,300 donations to 754 nonprofits.

The fund provided food, protective equipment,

and tools for remote work and life

to families, dancers, theater makers,

and vulnerable New Yorkers.

Thanks to all who gave generously

and to the heroic nonprofits

who continue to help their neighbors.


Hello! My name is Louis Mofsie

and I am about 5'5" tall.

I have black hair.

And I guess being 5'5" tall

is about the size of the kind of people that I come from,

which are American Indian people

and the Hopi Tribe from Arizona.

They're not a very tall people.

My father is Hopi, from Arizona;

and my mother is Winnebago, from the state of Nebraska.

And I myself was born right here in New York City, in Brooklyn,

and I'm very proud of being a New Yorker.

Myself and our dance company,

the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers,

of which I am the director,

were very fortunate last year to receive this award

for our contribution to the field of dance

and we were just so pleased and happy

that the Bessies recognized

American Indian people and their dance forum

and how it has contributed to the dance world.

And I'm really very, very happy and pleased

to announce the 2020 recipients

of this year's award to the field of dance

and I congratulate them all.

It's really fantastic and wonderful.

Thank you.

As an African American,

there's a romanticism of Africa

and it was my first time there.

So there's this myth of those of us living

in the diaspora in the United States,

what this means in going home

and it's going to be

this great spiritual homecoming.

And Lagos is a very complicated place.

It's not home.

It's confusing,

in the best possible way.

It's like a lot of life happening

on many different levels.

And, you know,

the artists I met were

greatly sophisticated and contemporary artists,

especially the visual artists

that we met in the evening.

There were just so many expectations

that I brought also,

that were broken down almost immediately.

Many thanks to the Bessie community for this honor.

Really appreciate it.

That's not good.

One more time.

Back in the day, chasing my dream

of a career as a dancer,

I landed a gig schlepping gear for character generators

and I want to acknowledge and thank

Michael Schwartz and Mark Robison

for taking me in and training me

for the career that I have today.

I'm going to thank all the independent choreographers

and companies that have hired me.

I especially want to thank Brian Rogers,

Sheila Lewandowski, and Madeline Best

of the Chocolate Factory Theater;

Laura Faure from Bates Dance Festival;

and Daisy Pommer from Lincoln Center Library.

And I want to thank everybody

in the entire community of workers and performers

that make this wonderful art happen.


I'm Shannon Hummel. I'm the founding

artistic director of Cora Dance

and I want to just take a second to thank the Bessie Committee

for this incredible nomination and honor.

I want to dedicate it right back to every dancer

that's ever been a part of Cora, in any way.

Dancers are higher-order humans.

They give their bodies, but also,

they just mine so much to make art happen

and I'm so grateful for you.

You are the backbone of everything

and I also want to dedicate this right back

to the Red Hook, Brooklyn, community,

which is the community I call home,

this fierce and vibrant place

of families and leaders that just dig in

to make sure that that word, community,

is authentic and not just a word.

I specifically want to thank the single mothers

that have supported me, as a single mom, as well,

through the building of this space

and just ensuring that every child,

not just mine, gets a chance to dance.

They are all our children

and I am so fiercely grateful to all of you.

Thank you, Red Hook. Thank you, dancers.

[ Kiss ] Thank you.

Good evening, everyone.

I'm Dr. Donald Rose, founding director

of the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries

at NYU Langone Health.

Together with my fellow director,

Dr. Marijeanne Liederbach,

and on behalf of the entire

Harkness staff and institution,

we'd like to humbly thank the Bessies Committee

for this incredible recognition and honor.

Celebrating our 30th anniversary,

the Harkness Center began as a vision

and, indeed, a mission

to provide quality musculoskeletal care

to the dancer, regardless

of their ability to afford such care.

This was accomplished through critical

and scientific research

emphasizing injury prevention,

education of the dance and medical communities

around the world,

an expansion of access of thousands of dancers

and dance institutions to clinical care.

We'd like to give special thanks

to the Harkness Foundation for Dance,

who was with us from our inception,

as well as the many benefactors

who have helped fund the continuing growth

of our programs.

We'd also like to acknowledge

our dedicated and passionate

Harkness Center staff,

both past and present, who share in this honor,

many of who were temporarily redeployed

to the COVID front lines at NYU Langone Health.

Finally, we would like to thank

all the dancers and dance institutions

who have entrusted us with their care.

It has been a pleasure to serve all of you.

Thank you, and happy and healthy hugs.

Thank you!

Good evening.

Buenas noches.

I am speaking to you from Lenapehoking land.

My name is George Emilio Sanchez.

I identify as a brown-skinned Latindio

and I'm wearing clear-framed glasses.

And I want to welcome you all, of course,

but I am speaking in the name of the 35 members

of the Bessie Selection Committees

to acknowledge how we decided, unanimously,

that this was the year to honor and acknowledge

the work and the commitment of the dance workers

of the presenting spaces and organizations

who participate in the Bessies

and how these dance workers have made a home away from home

for all the dance and performance artists

that you'll see tonight,

but that you've seen for the past decades.

In a year where we have all dealt

with a very serious health pandemic

that has really, really hit New York City hard

and now is hitting the country hard,

this was the year to also see that

the heart and the soul of the dance workers of these spaces

means so much to us

and we wanted to give back this year.

Thank you very much and welcome to the evening.

Speaker: The Clemente would like

to acknowledge and celebrate

the following individuals --

Patricia Nicholson Parker, founder of Arts for Art

and a steadfast collaborator with The Clemente;

Miguel Trelles, executive director of Teatro LATEA;

Angel Antonio Ruiz,

managing director of the Society of Educational Arts;

and Danny Rodriguez, The Clemente's

building operations manager and a community organizer.

The Clemente is so grateful for all of the work

that these individuals do to support their community.

Suzy Norton DiCerto,

assistant managing director and director of group programs,

is a superstar at Steps on Broadway

whose expertise and tireless devotion over 31 years

sustains and supports this home for dancers and their training.

Her extensive knowledge and skill,

coupled with her compassionate and good nature,

make her precious and one-of-a-kind.

For over four years, as intern,

to assistant technical director, to technical director,

Dan Hoskins has supported dozens of dance companies

who have performed at The Flea Theater.

His insights have been invaluable

to realizing their vision

and creating conditions for art to thrive.

Esada Feratovic has cleaned

the Chocolate Factory Theater's spaces

for nearly a decade

and is, therefore, a member of the family.

In this very strange and difficult time,

Esada is truly an essential dance worker,

as she does what it takes

to make our spaces safe for artists to use.

Thanks, in large part, to her efforts,

we have been able to offer our space

to the experimental dance community for solo residencies.

Beaudau Banks has been instrumental,

as Gibney's producing assistant,

in supporting performances over the last few seasons,

including all our recent online events.

Beau brings an assuredness to their work,

while also creating space for such joy and responsiveness.

When Abrons Arts Center partnered with Vision Urbana

and Henry Street Settlement for their food pantry,

their theater technicians and arts workers stepped in

in ways they could not have imagined.

Their unique skills and talents

were repurposed to feed hundreds weekly.

New York Live Arts would like to highlight

the following essential artists and individuals on our team

whose commitment and responsibility ensure

that the creation of life, art, and performance

remain possible here and beyond.

The entire board and staff deeply, humbly thank you

for your work in support of our mission.

Hannah Emerson.

Gregory English.

Vinson Fraley Jr.

Veronica Falborn.

Barrington Hinds.

Chanel Howard.

Dean Husted.

Alden Henderson.

s. lumbert.

Shane Larson.

Hillery Makatura.

Adalid Nunez-Mendoza.

Nayaa Opong.

Marie Lloyd Paspe.

Anadis Pelier.

Hannah Siden.

Huiwang Zhang.

Jamila Holman is the producer of DanceFest,

the five-stage festival

that follows the annual Dance Parade in May.

Jamila is essential at making sure

all the details are taken care of,

including getting her family

and her dance family to join the festival.

Julia Putnam is the amazing associate director of operations

for the New 42nd Street Studios, and in her role,

has managed the nonprofit's New York

State Council on the Arts Dance Rehearsal program

for 7 1/2 years,

serving hundreds of dance companies

and thousands of dancers with panache and pride.

Katy Myers has worked at the Joyce Theater

since 2004, in multiple roles, including receptionist,

office manager, audit and grant compliance manager,

and associate general manager.

Her work is not seen by the public, but those

at The Joyce know that she is integral to making dance happen.

Speaker: David Sierra (she/her) is the artist services

marketing manager at the Brooklyn Arts Exchange, BAX.

Her sensitivity, flexibility, and dedication to the artists

she serves reflects her own artistic talents

and social justice principles.

David brings a lens of accessibility and inquiry

to her work that pushes the organization

and its platforms for arts making and innovation forward

in invaluable and essential ways.

Speaker: Carol Mullins and Kathy Kaufmann

have been lighting Danspace Projects productions

for a combined 62 years.

Carol started in 1978,

and Kathy in 1998.

They have been integral to helping artists realize

their visions in this unique space,

bringing to life hundreds of dance works over the years.

Valerie Green/Dance Entropy

is grateful to programs manager Whitney Janis

for being essential to Green Space's safe reopening,

as well as operating studio rentals

and working with artists in performance programs.

Her support and dedication

to the organization is outstanding.

Speaker: For 20 years, Amanda K. Ringger

has demonstrated a deep dedication and commitment

to the countless artists she has embraced and nurtured

while serving as Harlem Stage's production manager

and lighting designer for the E-Moves Dance Festival,

as well as numerous dance companies in New York.

Speaker: Here is a picture of the Japan Society staff --

Yoko Shioya, Futoshi Miyai, and Yukako Yamazoe --

conducting a Zoom session into the late-night hours

with choreographers and dancers in Japan and Taiwan

as a part of the Japan Society's virtual dance exchange.

Speaker: The Streb administrative team,

seen here on a staff Zoom Halloween meeting,

are the unsung,

behind-the-scenes essential workers

that support our onstage Extreme Action heroes.

They make possible all the performances, classes,

and events at our home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn,

on the road, and this past year, remotely.

Todd B. Richmond,

co-founding director of Topaz Arts,

is an essential worker to dance and performance

who has built and continues to maintain an inspiring space

for over 20 years, nurturing a safe haven

for New York City choreographers and dancers in which to create.

Janee Murray-Wegman

is a graduate of Brooklyn Ballet's

Conservatory Training Program

and a freshman at Adelphi University.

She is an excellent and conscientious student

and an invaluable member

of the Brooklyn Ballet's front desk team.

Janee is professional, focused, organized, and personable.

The Brooklyn Ballet is so grateful for her support.


My name is Dianne McIntyre.

I'm a choreographer and dancer.

I'm a Black woman with white hair.

I'm reporting from the land of the Erie,

called Cleveland, Ohio.

Here is the 2020 honoree for Special Citation.

Man: Out of chaos comes the breath upon which love floats.

Out of chaos comes the breath upon which love floats.

Love floats.

Prayers to say, and again.

The house where my fear lives is haunted by race.

I am tethered to a beauty myth and a legacy of self-hate.

[ Drumbeat ]



Thank you, Bessie committee,

for this recognition of the Table of Silence project.

My ultimate gratitude to Jody Arnhold,

Lincoln Center, Nel Shelby,

and the beautiful artists who make this message

of healing and peace possible.

Hello. I am Dyane Harvey-Salaam.

I'm a performing artist, cultural arts educator,

and Bessie awardee.

I'm a Black woman with short, nappy reddish-brown hair

currently living on Leni Lenape stolen land.

I'm always humbled to honor those who have ascended,

keeping their names on our tongues and in our hearts.


I am Abdel Salaam, an artistic director, choreographer,

African percussionist, and a designer of clothes --

most importantly, a seeker of the light

that constantly shines on the memory of our ancestors --

currently living on the stolen land of the Leni Lenape people.

We would like to take a moment to pay tribute

to those in our community we have lost...

Together: ...since last year's Bessies Ceremony.


Alicia Alonso.

Sally Banes.

Howell Binkley.

Jaime Blau.

Elyse Borne.

Wilhelm "Willy" Burmann.

Don Campbell.

Frank Castagna.

Marge Champion.

Clemente D'Alessio.

Chi Chi DeVayne.

Princess Norodom Bopha Devi.


Jean Erdman.

Nikolai Fadeyechev.

Nick Fish.

R. Britton Fisher.

Jon Gibson.

John Giorno.

Rose Marie Giraud.

Ruth Grauert.

Rita Hamilton.

Reed Hanson.

Susan Hendl.

Kathleen Hermesdorf.

Al Heyward.

Theodore "Theo" Jamison.

Louis Johnson.

Betty Jones.

Michele Kadisova.

Paula Kelly.

Saroj Khan.

Anne McCleod Koletzke.

Hilda Kraker.

Nakotah Larance.

Ming Cho Lee.

Eugene Lowery.

Jun Maeda.

Bob Marinaccio.

Michael McArthur.

Bernard Marsh.

Don McDonagh.

Michael McFredrick.

Helen McGehee.

Welcome Msomi.

Anh-Tuyet Nguyen.

Erik Ostrand.

Aileen Passloff.

Carol Paumgarten.

Frank Pietri.

Nina Popova.

Tyrone Proctor.

Diane Rodriguez.

Greg Russell.

Tim Shellenbaum.

Nancy Stark Smith.

Kevin T. Tarrant.

Valerie Taylor-Barnes.

Danny Tidwell.

Tobi Tobias.

David Toole.

Woody Vasulka.

Marcus White.

Ted D. Williams.

Billy Wilson.

Collier Robert Woods Jr.

Paul Jared Newman.

Dear dance community,

we are so honored to join you here in this moment

to acknowledge the hardships, losses,

failures, beauty, and innovation we have experienced this year.

We started 2020 unaware of what it would demand of us,

and how the values that we have been nurturing

would be called upon to urge us into action.

We mourn for what we have lost and those we have lost,

and we are equally proud of how we have galvanized

into supportive communities.

Our deepest desire for 2021

is that we continue in the spirit of mutual aid,

justice, and warriorhood,

fighting for the world in which we wish to live.

Thank you to the New York Dance and Performance Awards

for helping us to gather and reflect.

New York City dance, Dance/NYC is with you

and consistently working towards a future

where we can thrive together.

This is our city.

This is our artistry.

Dance can thrive here.



[ Rustling ]

[ Chanting, clapping ]

[ Speaking indistinctly ]




Man: When he turned back, she asked him where the child was.

He replied...

Man #2: Within nine seconds, the city caught fire...


Man #3: The audience wore headphones

and sat on the stairs.

They watched people meet friends, make calls,

run there to there.

I made up stories about what was happening in rhyming couplets,

which maybe was maddening.

Hidden in the crowd were 20 dancers or so,

but they all kind of looked just like people you know.

Their moves were sometimes small --

well-time gestures, that's all.

But other times, they took over the entire mall.

Audiences would often ask, "Was that planned or by chance?"

because as the day went by, the whole city seemed to dance.

[ String music playing ]




[ Man singing in foreign language ]




[ Low, droning music plays ]




[ Upbeat piano music plays ]




[ Shouting ]


[ Singing in foreign language ]



After a few days went by and I finally received your call...

My parents were psyched about it.

Essentially, we were no longer living off

some random-ass street off the highway next to a 7-Eleven.

We were moving to a subdivision,

a place with a bunch of street names

that were endless permutations of the same four words --

Brookview, Oakview,

Oakbrook, Oakcluster.

[ Banging ]

I'm sure you were confronted with this,

with people,

who actually, in ignorance,

would decry, you know, Irish music.

And, you know, one must try to understand and say,

"Ah, it's all the same thing, it's diddly-iddly-iddly,"

and there's something of what they say.

Now, of course, they're ignorant, you see...

Thank you for coming

to the 2020 Bessies virtual ceremony.

Our community is resilient.

Keep going, everybody.

Stay safe and keep dancing.

Thanks for coming to the virtual Bessies Ceremony.

We'll get through this together.

We will be back, all of us, onstage.

But until then, watch the virtual performances.

The performances are real.

There are many rich, innovative, creative movie responses

coming out of this community.

Please be healthy, be safe,

and have a wonderful holiday season.

We love you, and we look forward to seeing you in years to come.

Keep going, everyone.

Our community is resilient.

And we're in this together.


We are a resilient community.

Keep going!

You are resilient and exceptional artists,

and together we will change this world.

We got this.

Keep going.

I cannot wait to see all of you onstage soon.

In the spirit of the greatest advocate for tap dance

of all times, Gregory Hines,

let me just say this --

♪ Patikititu pow pow ♪

♪ Patikititu pow pow ♪

♪ Patikititu, ba ba, badida ♪












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