The Bessies, New York Dance and Performance Awards, Elizabeth Streb
Flamme Kapaya is recognized as one of the best guitar soloists of his generation. He lives and works in Paris and Kinshasa. Kapaya was raised in a musical tradition. He was first trained by his brother Bavon, and his grandfather, a traditional chief in the Bandundu area, was also a gifted musician. As a teenager in Kinshasa, he began by singing in local traditional groups. A self-taught guitarist, Kapaya draws his inspiration from various musical genres including jazz (especially George Benson), classical, and Latin music. In 1997, he joined the legendary ndombolo group, Maison mère, accompanying the Congolese singer Werrason. With the group, as a musician but also as a composer and producer on numerous albums, he became Flamme, taking his name from Captain Flamme, a 1980s cartoon hero. He performed with Maison mère for 10 years, taking part in several international tours. In 2007, he met Faustin Linyekula, accompanying the performances of his piece Festival of Lies at the Avignon Festival in July 2007 and at the Faïencerie Théâtre in Creil / France in May 2008. In August 2008, he joined Linyekula for two performances in Berlin as part of the 20th anniversary of the Tanz im August Festival. Kapaya also composed the music of Bérénice, staged by Linyekula at the Comédie Française in 2009, as well as the score of Pour en finir avec Bérénice, which premiered at the Avignon Festival in 2010 and tours to the Chaillot National Theater (Paris) and KVS (Brussels) in 2011. In December 2011, Flamme released his first solo album, Banningsville, produced by the Studios Kabako.
OUTSTANDING EMERGING CHOREOGRAPHER:
Jennifer Weber and DECADANCE colleagues for DECA performed at Joyce Soho (nominated)
Liz Santoro for We Do Our Best performed at Danspace Project (nominated)
Lee Sher and Saar Harari for Fame performed at Montclair State University (nominated)
For his choreographic candor and carefully calibrated work examining grief, spirits, words and movement in NOX; For his advancement of technical virtuosity; And for drawing out powerful and personal expression from his dancers and designers, generously collaborating and giving them the stage, The 2012 Bessie Award for Emerging Choreographer goes to Rashaun Mitchell.
RASHAUN MITCHELL was born in Stamford, Connecticut, and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 2000. Shortly after, he received the Viola Farber-Slayton Memorial Grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Art, which allowed him to move to New York to pursue dance projects with an array of artists, including Chantal Yzermans, Donna Uchizono, Risa Jaroslow, Sara Rudner, Jonah Bokaer, Richard Colton, Rebecca Lazier and Silas Riener. In 2007 he was the recipient of a Princess Grace Award: Dance Fellowship, anD received a 2011 New York Dance and Performance Bessie Award for sustained achievement in the work of Merce Cunningham (2004-2012). His own work has been presented by Danspace Project, La Mama Moves Festival, Mount Tremper Arts in New York; and with writer Anne Carson at the Skirball Center at NYU, Summer Stages/ The Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston, the OMiami Festival, College of St. Elizabeth, Wellesley College, University of Minnesota, and Princeton University.
OUTSTANDING PERFORMER (nominated by the committee looking at work performed in a larger capacity venue of more than 400 seats):
Shantala Shivalingappa in Swayambhu by Shantala Shivalingappa performed in World Music Institute at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (nominated)
David Hallberg for his work with The Bolshoi Ballet and American Ballet Theatre (nominated)
Amid a company of unforgettable dancers, his electric, thrilling high-wire solo pushed the limits of physics and induced gasps and spontaneous applause. For transcendent and breathlessly immediate dancing in Merce Cunningham's Split Sides at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music, a 2012 New York Dance and Performance Award for Outstanding Performance goes to Silas Riener in Merce Cunningham's Split Sides.
SILAS RIENER grew up in Washington DC. He graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Comparative Literature and certificates in Creative Writing and Dance. He has worked with Chantal Yzermans, Takehiro Ueyama, Christopher Williams, Jonah Bokaer, and Rebecca Lazier's TERRAIN, and is currently dancing for Tere O'Connor. Since 2010 he has collaborated with poet Anne Carson and choreographer Rashaun Mitchell, with whom he continuesto develop new projects. In 2011 he choreographed a site-specific performance at the Storefront for Art and Architecture with the Harrison Atelier, and will premiere a new work in February 2012 at The Invisible Dog.He was a member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company from November 2007 until its closure at the end of 2011. While performing with MCDC, Riener completed his MFA in Dance at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. He is currently on faculty at NYU's Playwrights Horizons, and Gallim Dance's Clinton Hill Arts Center.
OUTSTANDING PERFORMER (nominated by the committee looking at work that stretches the boundaries of a culturally specific form):
Gianne Abbott in Brazil! Brazil! performed at the New Victory Theater (nominated)
Jessica Alejandra Wyatt in Asuka by Eduardo Vilaro, performed by Ballet Hispanico at the Apollo Theater and at The Joyce Theater (nominated)
She can, with grace and eloquence, both fiercely attack and tenderly caress each of Charlie Parker's notes; for years spent joyously championing the art of tap, and for inspired performing in the work of Jason Samuels Smith at The Joyce, a 2012 New York Dance and Performance Award for Sustained Achievement in Performing goes to Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards.
DORMESHI SUMBRY-EDWARDS has been apart of almost every major Tap movie or show that has appeared in the history of tap dance since the 80's. She was nominated for best actress for her starring role in the award-winning Independent film "The Rise and Fall of Miss Thang". She was also elected to the Advisory Board as the Tap Advisor for Dance Magazine and the official Tap Spokesperson for Capezio along with her family, as well as being featured in their international advertising campaign.Mrs. Sumbry-Edwards was also the private tap instructor to the iconic Michael Jackson over the course of 11 years.Mrs. Sumbry-Edwards career includes acclaimed runs on Broadway and off-Broadway in shows such as Black and Blue, the Tony Award Winning Bring In Da'Noise, Bring In Da'Funk, and the International Tour of Bring in Da'Noise, Bring in Da'Funk.
OUTSTANDING PERFORMER (nominated by the committee looking at work performed in a smaller capacity venue of less than 400 seats):
Ryoji Sasamoto in Glowing by Kota Yamazaki, performed at the Japan Society (nominated)
Silas Riener for sustained achievement in the works of Merce Cunningham and in NOX by Rashaun Mitchell (nominated)
Equally compelling and equally at home in dances as aesthetically diverse as post-Judson minimal, fanciful postmodern, or relentlessly physical movement work, she is a fascinating chameleon - a dancer of unique versatility. For bringing skill and honesty to every performance in the work of Keely Garfield, Ralph Lemon, David Gordon, and Urban Bush Women, and many others A 2012 New York Dance and Performance Award for Sustained Achievement in Performance goes to Omagbitse Omagbemi.
OMAGBITSE OMAGBEMI received her BFA in dance from Montclair State University. She has performed nationally and internationally with companies such as Sean Currran, Kevin Wynn Collection, Shapiro and Smith, Urban Bush Woman, Jeremy Nelson, Risa Jaralow, Barbara Mahler, Keely Garfield, and Christopher Williams.8).
OUTSTANDING PERFORMER (nominated by the committee looking at work in the expanding field of new art, dance, and performance practice):
John Fleck in Mad Women by John Fleck, performed at La MaMa (nominated)
Emily Wexler in Mad Heidi by Yvonne Meier, performed in American Realness at Abrons Arts Center (nominated)
For her heroically serene, crystal-clear, mysterious, sweat-drenched and angelic execution of a rigorous 80 minute dance filled with metronomic and fearless striding, backwards into space in Sarah Michelson's beautifully severe "Devotion Study #1 - The American Dancer" at the Whitney Biennial, a 2012 New York Dance and Performance Award for Outstanding Performance goes to
NICOLE MANNARINO is a dancer based in Brooklyn, NY. She has worked with Kyle Abraham, Beth Gill, and Juliana May. She is also a rock climber and teaches at the Manhattan Plaza Rock Wall.
JURIED BESSIE AWARD
The Bessies have announced the return of the Juried Bessie Award for its second year. The panel, Lar Lubovitch, Yvonne Rainer, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, has chosen to honor Souleymane Badolo as its 2012 recipient. The award is given to an artist who the jury believes is investigating some of the more interesting and exciting ideas happening in dance in New York City today. The honored dance maker will tour his work to regional theaters partnering with the Juried Bessie Award in the coming year. The Jury announced their decision on July 18, 2012 during the Bessie Awards annual press conference, held at the French Institute/Alliance Franciase (FIAF).
In speaking of their choice, the Jury said they were interested in the way Souleymane Badolo's work combines a number of different dance traditions, drawing on West African dance and making use of improvisation and experiment. As juror Lar Lubovitch put it, "Souleymane brings a unique history to his artistic point of view, and embodies it within a passionate physical language that can engage the viewer both intellectually and emotionally." The jury was also appreciative of the desire of the inaugural touring partner Nazareth Dance Festival to build and stretch its audience's view of the dance arts, and felt Mr. Badolo would be an excellent choice in that endeavor. In the words of juror Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, "I truly appreciate his commitment to innovation, ritual, culture, and personal narrative. He is the real deal."
Dancer and choreographer Souleymane Badolo, is known for his contemporary interpretations of traditional African dance. He began his dance career at DAMA, and founded his dance company, Kongo Ba Teria in Ouagadougou, Burkino Faso in 1993; he has toured throughout Africa, Europe and North America. He has participated in DTW's Studio Series, Harlem Stage's E-Moves Series, and Dance Under the Influence at the Museum of Art and Design. In 2010, Mr. Badolo premiered a commissioned solo work, Yaado (Cemetery), for I Got Lost, Platform 2012 at Danspace. He teaches contemporary dance at Bennington College.
"I am so very honored and excited to be this year's recipient of the Juried Bessie Award," says Mr. Badolo. "Thank you to the Jury and thank you to the many people who have made this possible, including Nora Chipaumire, Reggie Wilson, Ralph Lemon, Jawole Zollar, Bennington College, and so many others. I want to thank my dad and mom; they are not anymore in this life, but I know somewhere they are listening." Badolo, who could not be present at the announcement, recorded his speech in both English and French for the occasion.
The Nazareth College Arts Center Dance Festival was the inaugural touring partner for the Juried Bessie Award. Beth Gill, the 2011 award recipient, is currently performing at the 2012 festival at the Nazareth College Arts Center in Rochester, NY. Nazareth College President Daan Braveman says, "We are proud to have served as the inaugural touring partner for the newly established Juried Bessie Award. The Nazareth College Arts Center has a long history of presenting dance companies on our stage. It is an honor to partner with the prestigious New York Performance and Dance Awards and play a role in introducing emerging choreographers to the cultural community here in Rochester, NY. Our audiences have enjoyed seeing Beth Gill's Electric Midwife this week as part of our Summer Dance Festival, and we hope that Gill's experience here has been a rewarding one. We look forward to welcoming the recipient of the 2012 Juried Bessie Award next summer."
The New York State DanceForce, a statewide network of dance activists dedicated to linking artists and communities across New York State, has announced that its members are committed to partnering with the Juried Bessie Award. They will work with the recipient of the annual award to create further opportunities for that artist to bring their work to dance centers across the state.
The New York Dance and Performance Awards, The Bessies, were established in 1983 by David White at Dance Theater Workshop, in honor of the treasured dancer and teacher Bessie Schonberg, and acknowledge outstanding creative work by independent artists in the fields of dance and related performance in New York City. They honor exceptional choreography, performance, music composition, visual design and others areas of dance and performance. The award recipients are chosen by The Bessie Selection Committee, which consists of artists, dance presenters, producers, journalists, critics and academics. The awards are produced in partnership with Dance/NYC. For more about the Bessies, go to www.dancenyc.org/bessies.
Dance/NYC is a branch of Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance. Dance/NYC's mission is to sustain and advance the professional dance field in New York City- serving as the voice, guide and infrastructure architect for all local dance artists and managers. The organization achieves this mission through: advocacy, research and convening. As a convener, Dance/NYC aims to connect and educate our constituency-strengthening the collective voice for dance. For more information, visit www.dancenyc.org.