On Friday evening, September 21, Dance Theater Workshop and the 2001 Bessies Committee, in association with Danspace Project and the Joyce Theater, presented the 17th annual New York Dance and Performance Awards (the Bessies) at the Joyce Theater. Established in 1983, the Bessies acknowledge outstanding creative work by independent artists in the fields of dance and related performance in New York City.
The awards recipients represent a diverse cross-section of work created by independent artists in the performing arts community, including a wide range of works seen in smaller, alternative spaces as well as works produced by major venues. With support from Time Out New York, Big Apple Lights, Electronic Theatre Controls, and the Harkness Foundation for Dance, all the Bessies recipients received cash awards along with their citations. The Creator and Special Citation award categories received $1,000 each, and the Performer, Installation and New Media, Lighting and Visual Design and Composer recipients received $500 each.
This year's Visual Design Awards went to David Ferri for Sustained Achievement with Julie Tolentino and Doug Varone; Bernard Lagacé for Set Design for PPS Danse's Bagne; Rick Murray for Lighting Design for Wally Cardona's Trance Territory; Scott Pask and Michael Mazzola for Set Design and Lighting Design, respectively, for Bebe Miller's Verge.
David Ferri, born in Bethlehem, PA, received a BFA in Photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology. He was Resident Lighting Designer/Technical Director at PS 122 from 1985 to 1991, where he has designed for countless artists including Eric Bogosian, Viveca Vasquez, and Ethel Eichelberger. He was Production Manager for Pina Bausch's 1996 and 1999 American West Coast Tours. For the last five summers he has been the Production Manager for the American Dance Festival. He received a 1987-1988 Bessie award for his design of Doug Varone's Straits.
Bernard Lagacé started as an interior designer. He has collaborated with Montreal artists and performers including Michel Lemieux and Nathalie Derome. Since 1984, Lagacé has been an integral part of all PPS Danse productions, creating inventive sets and props. After receiving a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts in 1995, he moved his career toward artists and tour management. In 1998, he established En Orbite, an agency dedicated to artists' development and management. Bernard is now Executive Director of O Vertigo, a dance company based in Montreal.
Rick Murray is a lighting designer and performer. His designs have been seen on the work of Chamecki/Lerner, Risa Jarsalow and Dancers, Yanira Castro & Company, Amy Cox, and Chutes & Ladders Theater Company, among many others. He performs with the award-winning Circus Amok. He also worked for many different dance companies as production manager and/or stage manager including Lucinda Childs Dance Company, Sean Curran, John Jasperse, Neil Greenberg, Twyla Tharp, the Harkness Dance Festival at 92nd Street Y, and others.
Scott Pask's designs for dance include work with John Jasperse, Chamecki/Lerner, John Kelly, and Vivian Trimble as well as Bebe Miller's Going to the Wall. Selected theatre credits include Urinetown currently at Broadway's Henry Miller Theatre, The Beginning of August at the Atlantic Theater Company, directed by Neil Pepe; Neil LaBute's bash, directed by Joe Mantello, in New York, Los Angeles, and for the Almeida Theatre in London; and Orfeo for Chicago Opera Theatre. He also designed the sets for Off Broadway's The Bomb-itty of Errors, The Donkey Show (currently running in London), and Boys Don't Wear Lipstick. His work in television and film includes the design of Spirit: A Journey in Dance, Drum, and Song for PBS, Illuminata (title sequence, art direction), Living in Oblivion, Postcards from America (art direction), Trees Lounge, and Dottie Gets Spanked (set decoration). Pask is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama. His upcoming work includes Tales from Hollywood at the Donmar Warehouse in London.
Michael Mazzola's critically acclaimed lighting has been seen since the mid 1980s in venues throughout the United States and Europe, ranging from opera houses to circus tents and outdoor amphitheatres. Beyond his work as Resident Lighting Designer for Oregon Ballet Theatre, he has created award-winning lighting for the Bebe Miller Company, for which he has designed since 1986, as well as a number of regional ballet companies, including Milwaukee Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Aspen/Santa Fe Ballet Company, and Southern Ballet Theatre. Corporate clients have included the Ammirati Puris Lintas advertising agency, the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, and the Ford Model Agency. Mazzola has created lighting for the NYC Improvisational Festival from its inception through 1998. Upcoming projects include SPLIT choreographed by Trey McIntyre for Hubbard Street Dance Company and a new work about the life of Frida Kahlo by the Core Ensemble.
Choreographer/Creator Awards were given to Lucinda Childs for Sustained Achievement in her retrospective season at the Brooklyn Academy of Music; David Gordon for FAMILY$DEATH@ART.Comedy; Rennie Harris Puremovement for Rome & Jewels; Guy Klucevsek and Dan Hurlin for their collaboration on Everyday Uses For Sight: No. 7 "The Heart of the Andes"; John Jasperse for Excessories through Fort Blossom and beyond; Bjorn G. Amelan and Bill T. Jones for their collaboration on The Breathing Show and The Table Project; Bebe Miller for Verge; and Catherine Turocy for her work with the New York Baroque Dance Company, most recently in Pygmalion. The Performance Installation and New Media Award went to Adrian Piper for her body of work at The New Museum.
This year's Performer Awards were given to Nancy Bannon for Sustained Achievement with Doug Varone; Soledad Barrios for her work with Noche Flamenca; Patrick Corbin for Sustained Achievement with the Paul Taylor Company; Rodney Mason for Rennie Harris Puremovement's Rome & Jewels. Jodi Melnick for Sustained Achievement in dancing the works of choreographers from Twyla Tharp and Sara Rudner to Susan Rethorst, Dennis O'Connor and Vicky Shick; Buffy Miller for Eliot Feld's Clave and ION at The Joyce Theater; David Thomson for Sustained Achievement with Ralph Lemon, Hot Mouth, Trisha Brown and Bebe Miller, among others; and Stephanie Tooman for Sustained Achievement with Reggie Wilson.
Composer Awards went to Cynthia Hopkins for Big Dance Theatre's Another Telepathic Thing; Darrin Ross for Rennie Harris Puremovement's Rome & Jewels; and to Hahn Rowe for Bebe Miller's Verge.
Special Citations were given to Dennis Diamond for his work as videographer and dance/video collaborator; Katherine Dunham for her life's work as a dancer, choreographer, anthropologist, and activist, and David Vaughan for Sustained Achievement as an author and for his archival work for Merce Cunningham.