On Monday, October 24, 2011, the 2011 winners were announced for the 'Bessie' (New York Dance and Performance) Awards at the Apollo Theater in New York City. The evening was hosted by television and Broadway star Bebe Neuwirth, with special performances by students from the Harlem School of the Arts under the direction of Aubrey Lynch.
Artists in the world of New York dance were honored by the Bessies in a variety of categories, from choreography, to performance, to music and design, and nominees and award recipients alike were praised for their artistry, dedication, and creativity in language emphasizing the rich emotion and passion of the dance world. Savion Glover's winning musical composition for SoLe Sanctuary was cited for its "rhythmic explosion of sonic composition," while designer Walter Dundervill's work for Aesthetic Destiny 1: Candy Mountain was praised for "sets, costumes, and props that made the ritual of the dance seem compelling, seductive, and possibly dangerous." Marcelo Gomez, among the awards recipients that evening, was honored for "a performance of Albrecht in American Ballet Theatre's Giselle that went to the very edge of madness and exhaustion," while Caleb Teicher's award-winning performance in Body Madness: A Shared Evening was noted as "magically channeling Fred Astaire in his utterly relaxed but beautifully integrated tap dancing."
Choreographer Beth Gill received two awards during the evening's ceremonies, first for her work as Outstanding Emerging Choreographer, and also with the organization's first new Juried Bessie Award, which encourages the creation and production of visionary new dance works.
Honorees at the 2011 'Bessie' Awards Ceremony included the following awards nominees and recipients (winners noted in bold):
Lifetime Achievement Award: Trisha Brown
Special Achievement in Dance: Violetta Galagarza
Outstanding Service to the Field of Dance: Frederic Franklin, CBE
Outstanding Production (of a work performed in a larger capacity venue of more than 400 seats):
Thirteen Diversions, by Christopher Wheeldon, performed by American Ballet Theatre at the Metropolitan Opera House
Quartet, by Merce Cunningham, performed by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company at The Joyce Theater
Award Recipient: The Bright Stream, by Alexei Ratmansky, performed by American Ballet Theatre at the Metropolitan Opera House
Outstanding Production (of a work that stretches the boundaries of a traditional or culturally specific form):
Los Muequitos de Mantanzas, with Max Pollak and Barbaro Ramos, performed at Symphony Space
Caribbean Soul Dancers, by Ismael Otero, performed at the Salsa Congress, Hilton Hotel
Award Recipient: Michelle Dorrance, for Remembering Jimmy and Three to One at Danspace Project
Outstanding Production (of a work performed in a smaller capacity venue of less than 400 seats):
Etudes for an Astronaut, by Lance Gries, performed at La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival
Nameless Forest, choreographed and directed by Dean Moss in collaboration with Sungmyung Chun
Award Recipient: Them, choreographed by Ishmael Houston-Jones in collaboration with Chris Cochrane and Dennis Cooper, performed at Performance Space 122, reconstructed with the support of The New Museum
Outstanding Production (of a work not technically considered dance but happening in and influencing the dance community):
Selective Memory, by Brian Rogers and Madeline Best, performed at The Chocolate Factory
Ivo Dimchev's Lili Handel, performed at the Perforations Festival presented by La MaMa
Award Recipient: Montgomery Park, or Opulence by Karinne Keithley, performed at Incubator Arts Project