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Choreographers Pat Birch & Luigi to be Honored at 2014 Astaire Awards, 6/2

Choreographers Pat Birch & Luigi to be Honored at 2014 Astaire Awards, 6/2

On Monday, June 2 at 7:30pm at NYU's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, the 32nd Annual Fred & Adele Astaire Awards will honor 5-time Tony Award nominee and 2-time Emmy Award-winning veteran choreographer Pat Birch with its Douglas Watt Lifetime Achievement Award and legendary dancer and dance instructor Luigi with the Outstanding Achievement in the Preservation of Musical Theatre Award. The Astaire Awards is the only awards show to honor excellence in dance and choreography on Broadway and in film and were first started in 1982 by the late Fred Astaire and the late Douglas Watt (a critic and writer for the NY Daily News and The New Yorker, his 100th birthday would be this year).

American choreographer and director Pat Birch began her career as a dancer in Broadway musicals, including Brigadoon, Goldilocks, and West Side Story and she has performed as a soloist with Martha Graham and Agnes de Mille. She earned Tony Award nominations for her choreography of the original Broadway productions of Grease, Over Here!, Pacific Overtures, Music Is and Parade, has directed and choreographed music videos for Cyndi Lauper, the Rolling Stones, and Carly Simon and also choreographed numbers on Saturday Night Live for six years.

Born Eugene Louis Faccuito in Steubenville, Ohio and nicknamed Luigi from Gene Kelly, as a dancer he appeared in over 40 films including An American in Paris, Annie Get Your Gun, On the Town, Singin' in the Rain, The Band Wagon and White Christmas. The exercise routine he created for his own rehabilitation after a devastating accident became the world's first complete technique for learning jazz dance. His students have included Liza Minnelli, Ben Vereen, Tony Roberts and Susan Stroman.

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by Barnett Serchuk