Bessie Awards reveal this year’s nominees and special prizes

Bessie Awards reveal this year’s nominees and special prizes

The nominees for the 2019 New York Dance and Performance Awards, referred to as the Bessies, were named Wednesday, kicking off the Awards’s 35th anniversary.

The final recipients will be announced at the Bessies on Oct. 14, 2019, held this year at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in Manhattan.

Choreographer and dancer Caleb Teicher was nominated for three awards, including Outstanding Production for his work “More Forever”; Outstanding Sound Design/Musical Composition for the same piece, a nod that he shared with collaborator Conrad Tao; and Outstanding Breakout Choreographer, which was ultimately awarded to Daina Ashbee as part of the evening’s announcement event.

Ni’Ja Whitson also received three nominations — including Outstanding Production, Outstanding Performer for Kirsten Davis’s part and Outstanding Visual Design — for “Oba Qween Baba King Baba,” co-commissioned by Danspace Project and Abrons Arts Center.

Kyle Abraham’s “The Runaway,” which premiered during New York City Ballet’s 2018 Fall Season, snagged two major nominations: one for Outstanding Production and another for Outstanding Performer by way of New York City Ballet’s Taylor Stanley, who is up for his critically acclaimed starring role in the piece.

Tiler Peck in George Balanchine’s "Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux." Credit: Paul Kolnik.
Tiler Peck in George Balanchine’s “Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux.” Credit: Paul Kolnik.

City Ballet colleague and principal dancer Tiler Peck joined Stanley in the category for her “sustained achievement” at the company. And Gabrielle Hamilton, who stars in “Oklahoma!” and dances the musical’s beloved “Dream Ballet,” was also among those who took home a nomination for Outstanding Performance.

The mammoth Merce Cunningham tribute staged by Patricia Lent, “Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event,” was named in the Outstanding Production group — rounding out a cohort of 12 nominees, which included, among others, Juliana F. May’s “Folk Incest,” Alexei Ratmansky’s “The Seasons,” and Tania El Khoury’s “As Far as My Fingertips Take Me,” performed as part of the Public’s Under the Radar Festival.

Twyla Tharp’s “Deuce Coupe,” recently revived for American Ballet Theatre, was revealed as a contender for Outstanding Revival alongside Eleo Pomare’s “Hex” and “Judson Dance Theater: The Work is Never Done,” staged at the Museum of Modern Art and attributed to Yvonne Rainer, Deborah Hay, Lucinda Childs, David Gordon, Steve Paxton, Trisha Brown and Simone Forti.

In addition to the category awards, the recipients of two special honors were also announced Wednesday, with the 2019 Juried Bessie Award going to Alice Sheppard for, according to a statement, “boldly and authentically inventing new movement vocabularies full of supercharged physicality and nuanced detail.” Sheppard’s recognition was determined by a committee of choreographers, including Carlota Santana, Pam Tanowitz and Abby Zbikowski.

The second honor of the night — the 2019 Outstanding Breakout Choreographer Award — was presented to Ashbee for “using the elemental female body itself as a means to excavate and expose layered histories of violence against women.” The choreographer was nominated with Teicher, Jonathan González and Stacy Grossfield.

ALL ARTS will partner with the Bessie Awards for this year’s ceremony. Stay tuned for more details at a later date.

A full list of nominations can be found here.

Top Image: Taylor Stanley in Kyle Abraham’s "The Runaway." Credit: Erin Baiano.