On Friday evening, September 19, 2003, Dance Theatre Workshop and the 2003 Bessies Committee, in association with Danspace Project and The Joyce Theater, presented the Nineteenth Annual New York Dance and Performance Awards (a.k.a. THE BESSIES) for exceptional achievements of the 2002-2003 season. This year’s evening of celebration and performance took place 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. Over 450 artists, producers and press joined in the activities to honor the diversity of ideas that makes New York’s contemporary performing arts community thrive.

Thanks to the generous support from Time Out New York, Big Apple Lights, ETC (Electronic Theatre Controls), and the Harkness Foundation, BESSIES recipients received cash awards along with their citations. The Creator and Installation and New Media award categories received $1,000 each and the Performer, Design and Composer recipients received $500 each. The recipient of the first Time Out New York Dance Audience Award received $1,000 plus $2,500 worth of advertising in the magazine.

Lighting Visual Design Awards went to John Collins (Elevator Repair Service’s Room Tone at P.S. 122), Holger Förterer (Angelin Prejocaj’s Helikopter at BAM), Owen Hughes (RoseAnne Spradlin’s under/world at Squid Performance Space) and Laurie Olinder, Fred Tietz, Bill Morrison and Howard Thies (Ridge Theater Company’s Jennie Richee at St. Ann’s Warehouse). These awards were presented by designer Sue Poulin.

Lighting and Visual Design award winners bios:

Video artist Holger Förterer was born in 1972 in Bochum, Germany. He studied information science at the University of Karlsruhe starting in 1993 and specialized in the graphic arts and multimedia. In 1998, he was granted a residency at Hochschule fur Gestaltung Karlsruhe, where he specialized in media art. He has participated in several group exhibitions including Step 1 interaktive ZKM, (Zentrum fur Kunstund Medientechnik, Karlsruhe, 1999); 2000, EXIT 2000 (Andrè Malraux Maison des Arts et de la Culture, Creteil); VIA 2000 (Le Manege in Maubeuge, Francel Zeitresie Akademie der Kunste, Berlin); Zeitresie ZOOM (Kindermuseum, Vienna), and Art In/Output (Technisische Universiteit Eindhoven, the Netherlands).

Laurie Olinder is a founding member of Ridge Theater. Recent credits include: set and projection design for Jennie Richee for which she received a 2001 OBIE award for Collaborative Design, slide design for Carbon Copy Building, 2000 OBIE, Best New American Work (Kampfnagle, Hamburg, Germany; The Carignano, Turin, Italy; Mass MoCA; The Kitchen, New York City). Decasia, an environmental symphony with projections, November 2001, with the basel sinfonetta, (Basel, Switzerland). She received a 2001 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship and an Eliot Norton Award for Outstanding Design in Theater for her work at The American Repertory Theater (Cambridge, Massachusetts). Ms. Olinder is a MacDowell Colony fellow.

Award-winning filmmaker Bill Morrison has five titles in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. His film work with the acclaimed performance company Ridge Theater has been recognized with a BESSIE award in 1993 and an OBIE award in 2001. Morrison was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship for filmmaking in 2000, and received grants from both NYFA and Creative Capital in 2001. With these funds, he completed his first feature length film, Decasia, which was produced to accompany Michael Gordon’s symphony of the same name. The film premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival and has screened at numerous film festivals and museums worldwide.

Howard S. Thies is the recipient of both an OBIE award and a New York Dance and Performance Award (BESSIE) for Sustained Excellence in Lighting Design and was the first lighting designer to be awarded a Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts Fellowship. This production of Jennie Richee marks Howard's 11th collaboration with Ridge Theater and his third with Mac Wellman. Among the many artists Howard has created designs for are: Bang On A Can, Blue Man Group, Creation Production Company, Ping Chong, Alice Farley, John Moran, Andre Serban, SLANT, Theodora Skipitares, Henry Threadgill, and The La Mama Great Jones Repertory Company. Last summer marked Howard's twelfth season as Lighting Designer for Central Park SummerStage, New York's Premiere Free Outdoor presenting venue. Howard has been featured in numerous publications including American Theater, Entertainment Design, Lighting Dimensions, Metropolis, and Theater Crafts magazines for his work in design.

Fred Tietz is a founder of Ridge and is active as both a designer and performer. As a Ridge actor, he has been seen in innumerable roles including the title character in Jack Benny! the narrator in Everyday Newt Berman, General Vivian in Mac Wellman’s Jennie Richie and most strangely as himself in Mathew in the School of Life. Fred's theater design work has been recognized with a 1997 Elliot Norton Award shared with designer Laurie Olinder, given by the Boston Theater Critics Association, as well as a 2000-2001 OBIE award for design of Jennie Richee. As if theater is not enough, film credits include Robert Tuckers Final Rinse, The Pavilion with Richard Chamberlain and number of shorts and music videos.

John Collins is the founder of Elevator Repair Service Theaters. John has directed all of the company’s pieces since 1991—often in partnership with co-artistic director Steve Bodow. John also occasionally designs sound and lighting for the company. Most recently, he directed ERS’ Room Tone at P.S.122. Room Tone is slated to tour the U.S. in 2004. John is also a sound designer for The Wooster Group on whose staff he has served since 1993. His work can be heard in their productions of The Hairy Ape, House/Lights, To You the Birdie (Phédre) and many others. John was born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and grew up in Vidalia, Georgia. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Theatre Studies from Yale University in 1991. John also holds a private pilot’s certificate and learned to fly at The Caldwell-Essex County Airport.

Owen Hughes favorite designs for theater include Ken Nintzel’s Pageant and the Reverend Billy’s Other Love, as well as the Ontological Theater’s annual Seven Minute Series (2002, 2003). As resident lighting designer for Andhow Theatre Company, he has designed their last three productions, including I am at my best when I am singing very quietly, recently selected as the Best Production of 2002 by oobr.com. Designs for dance include work with choreographers Marta Miller, Netta Yerushalmy, Juliette Mapp, Peggy Baker, Catey Ott and Eun Jung Gonzalez, RoseAnne Spradlin and Eiko & Koma 's Offering presented by Danspace in the yard of St. Mark's Church. Dance Theater Workshop wishes to thank JP Morgan & Co. Incorporated for providing enormous support for THE BESSIES in its early years. DTW would also like to thank The Harkness Foundation for Dance, The Mertz Gilmore Foundation, The Village Voice for long-standing support, Patsy Tarr and the JCT Foundation, Altria Group, Inc., New York Foundation for the Arts, the Candy Jernigan Memorial Fund, Electronic Theater Controls, Inc., Big Apple Lights Corp. and numerous individuals and presenting organizations all of whom have at one time generously contributed to these awards.