On Friday evening, September 20, Dance Theater Workshop and the 2002 Bessies Committee, in association with Danspace Project and the Joyce Theater, presented the 18th Annual New York Dance and Performance Awards (the Bessies) for exceptional achievements of the 2001-2002 season. 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 award 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. For the third year, due to generous support from Time Out New York, Big Apple Lights, ETC (Electronic Theatre Controls), and the Harkness Foundation for Dance, the Bessies recipients received cash awards along with their citations.

This year’s Visual Design Awards went to Matthias Bringmann for Set Design of John Jasperse’s Giant Empty at BAM; Axel Morgenthaler for Set and Lighting Design in Luna by O Vertigo at the Joyce Theater; Melanie Rozema and Jeroen Teunissen for Costume Design for David Parker and the Bang Group at Danspace Project; and Jan Versweyveld for Visual Design and Lighting for Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s Drumming at BAM.

The Choreographer Creator Awards were given to Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar of Big Dance Theater for Body of Work; Pina Bausch for Sustained Achievement; Sarah Michelson for Group Experience at PS122; Donna Uchizono for Low, DTW at The Duke on 42nd Street; Yasmeen Godder for i feel funny today, DTW at The Duke on 42nd Street; Reggie Wilson for The Tie-Tongued Goat and the Lightning Bug Who Tried to Put Her Foot Down! at Danspace Project; the Wooster Group for To You, the Birdie! [Phaedra] at St. Ann’s Warehouse; and Ohad Naharin for Naharin's Virus at BAM.

The Performance Installation and New Media Award went to Ward Shelley and Jesse Bercowetz and the collaborative team of MIR2 at Smack Mellon Studios. Performer Awards were given to Dominique Mercy for Sustained Achievement with Pina Bausch; Marta Coronado for Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s Drumming at BAM; Miguel Gutierrez, Parker Lutz, and Juliette Mapp for Sustained Achievement with John Jasperse Company; Paul Matteson for Body of Work; Kate Valk of the Wooster Group for To You, the Birdie! (Pheadra) at St. Ann’s Warehouse; Carolyn Hall for Body of Work; Karen Graham for Sustained Achievement with David Gordon; and Nina Watt for Sustained Achievement with Limón Dance. Composer Awards went to Mike Iveson for Sarah Michelson’s Group Experience and Body of Work, and to Guy Yarden for Donna Uchizono Company’s Low.

Special Citations were given to Beverly D'Anne for her work with NYSCA/Dance Program; Madeleine Nichols for her work as Dance Curator for the NY Public Library; and to Theodore W. Striggles for his contribution to the field.