Meet the 61st Annual Dance Magazine Award Recipients

Meet the 61st Annual Dance Magazine Award Recipients

Since its creation in 1954, the annual Dance Magazine Awards have celebrated the achievements of dancers, choreographers, artistic directors and other members of the dance community for their contributions. And now, as the ceremony enters its 61st year, the Dance Magazine Awards is set to expand its scope to spotlight the achievements of two emerging artists with a brand new accolade: The Harnkess Promise Award.

Hosted by Misty Copeland, this year’s awards will honor Ronald K. Brown, Lourdes Lopez, Crystal Pite and Michael Trusnovec, with the new Harkness Promise Awards going to Raja Feather Kelly and Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie. A leadership award will also be presented to Nigel Redden.

To mark the occasion, we corresponded with the recipients ahead of the illustrious event. Flip through their hand-written responses below.

Ronald K. Brown

Choreographer, Founder and Artistic Director of Evidence, A Dance Company 

Ronald K. Brown.

Professional title? Artistic Director

Single word (or shape or color) to describe your choreography? Amber

Favorite place to create new work? Home

Most creative time of day? Morning

Inspirations? Purpose

Latest obsession, dance-related or otherwise? Finding new music.

Any last notes for the adults or children reading? Work for the sake of the work not the sake of the goal.

Lourdes Lopez

Artistic Director of the Miami City Ballet. Former Principal Dancer with New York City Ballet

Lourdes Lopez. Photo: Alexander Iziliaev.

Professional title? Artistic Director — I prefer “Lourdes from Miami City Ballet.”

Single word (or shape or color) to describe the Miami City Ballet?

Favorite place you have danced? In my mind… and sometimes in my kitchen.

Favorite piece from your time at New York City Ballet? Anything to Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and Bach… Oh and then anything to Mozart, Chopin, Brahms… Oh yeah, and anything to Hindemith, Gershwin, Ravel, Bernstein….

Inspirations? Dancers inspire me. Balanchine once said in class, “They are God’s gift to the world” — he was right.

Latest obsession, dance-related or otherwise? My personal exercises from Marika Molnar, the great physical therapist and friend. They keep me strong, healthy and pain-free — all good stuff!

Any last notes for the adults or children reading? Follow your heart and your passions. They will change your life and in turn you’ll change others.

Crystal Pite

Choreographer and Founder of the dance company Kidd Pivot. Former dancer with Ballet British Columbia and William Forsythe’s Ballett Frankfurt

Crystal Pite. Photo: Michael Slobodian.

Professional title? Choreographer and founder of the dance company Kidd Pivot

Single word (or shape or color) to describe your choreography? Impermanent

Favorite place to create new work? Somewhere between knowing and not knowing. Also: in the bathtub.

Most creative time of day? Half-way through my second cup of coffee.

Inspirations? Unanswerable questions. Things that might be impossible to stage.

Latest obsession, dance-related or otherwise?: The unmade part of our new show.

Any last notes for the adults or children reading?:

Michael Trusnovec

Member of the Paul Taylor Dance Company

Michael Trusnovec.

Professional title? Dancer, Associate Rehearsal Director and Director of Worldwide Licensing

Single word (or shape or color) to describe the Paul Taylor Dance Company? Family

Favorite piece to perform? “Last Look”

Most creative time of day? Sometimes morning… sometimes night.

Inspirations? Any artist absorbed and completely present in what they’re creating… that slows time.

Latest obsession, dance-related or otherwise? Lucinda Childs

Any last notes for the adults or children reading? Read / dance / dream a little ever day… that’s what I do.

Raja Feather Kelly

Choreographer and Founder of the dance, theater and visual media company feath3r theory

Raja Feather Kelly.

Professional title? Artistic Director, Choreographer

Single word (or shape or color) to describe your work?

Favorite place to perform? In public, in front of an audience.

Most creative time of day?:

Inspirations?

Latest obsession, dance-related or otherwise? The philosophy of Ernest Becker: “The Denial of Death,” “The Birth and Death of Meaning.” “People create the reality they need in order to discover themselves.”

Any last notes for the adults or children reading? I hope to one day meet you, reader. I hope to one day have you experience my art and I yours. Thank you for reading. Do reach out. Connect with me on social media — but really — at a show. Support art!

Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie

Choreographer and Founder of Ephrat Asherie Dance

Ephrat Asherie Dance presents her new work “Odeon” at the Guggenheim Museum’s Works & Process program. Photographer: Robert Altman.

Professional title? Choreographer, Artistic Director, Dancer. Forever a student.

Single word (or shape or color) to describe your work?

Favorite place to perform? Anywhere with a smooth wood floor to spin, slide, roll, glide, float… on.

Most creative time of day? Morning time… full of endless possibilities…

Inspirations? Oh so many… Viktor Frankl, Prince, Pina Bausch, Kathryn Hunter, Sharon Jones, Nili Asherie, Carlos Moore, Bill Irwin, Marjory Smarth… and of course, music of all kinds.

Latest obsession, dance-related or otherwise? Learning how to play the pandeiro (Brazilian tambourine)

Any last notes for the adults or children reading? Filling out this questionnaire reminded me of how much I used to love to draw, doodle, color… let us never get too serious… let’s always find time to play, create, daydream, laugh… a lot. Some good advice I got early on: “Take what you do seriously, but don’t ever take yourself too seriously.”

Top Image: Michael Trusnovec.