I had the pleasure of attending the 7th Annual Clive Barnes Awards on January 9, 2017 at the Walter Reade Theater of Lincoln Center. Last year, I also attended this ceremony, which supports artists from both the theater and dance worlds through financial gifts and accolades in memory of the indefatigable Mr. Barnes. Interestingly enough, I believe that having the privilege to be there again allowed me to see how much this foundation impacts the nominees and the winners.

The intimate setting of the Walter Reade Theater began with its Master of Ceremonies, Michael Riedel, who has hosted each year. Mr. Riedel opened with some tender remarks about the late Clive Barnes, with whom he worked at the New York Post and said, "...young, new, and exciting talent" is what Clive loved about the Arts. Mr. Riedel also stated that what made Mr. Barnes extraordinary was his "grace under pressure as a journalist." Also, Mr. Barnes' vast knowledge of not just dance and theater, but also literature and music brought a unique voice to his writing. "More lively" was Mr. Riedel's description. Thereafter remembering the brilliant critic, Mr. Riedel brought to the stage Valerie Taylor-Barnes, the president of the Clive Barnes Foundation. In her charming English accent she bestowed some advice to the nominees, as she had done last year. This year it was in regards to not allowing the audience to see one's pain during a performance. She let us know that this was originally Margot Fonteyn's advice to her when Mrs. Barnes was a dancer with the Royal Ballet. As Mrs. Barnes said, "If it worked for Margot, it will probably work for you." Finally, she congratulated the eight finalists and their teachers who honed their talents.

Theatre Finalists

Timothée Chalamet, Juwan Crawley, Khris Davis, and Nora Schell were the chosen finalists. Each video clip that showed a snippet of their artistry was captivating and convinced me to go and see those shows in which each one was featured. However unique each performer and deserving, the 2016 Theatre Award went to Khris Davis. At the Lincoln Center Theater, Mr. Davis plays the role of Jay "The Sport" Jackson in the play, The Royale. His character as an African-American boxer who has a burning desire to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world in 1905 showcases his physique and his ability to take on a role of the past.

Joel Grey, Cabaret's Master of Ceremonies, was the presenter of the 2016 Theater Award. The last time I saw Mr. Grey perform he was a "hologram" for a cruise ship show on Celebrity Cruises Infinity ship. Mr. Grey was quite humorous and spoke of his relationship with Mr. Barnes. Theirs was a relationship for the love of ballet and Mr. Grey commented that Mr. Barnes was "smart" and "kind." Mr. Grey announced Mr. Davis as the winner. Mr. Davis' eloquence with words and truth highlighted undeniably as he said, "We [artists] make more withdrawals than deposits." This not only holds true financially, but also physically and emotionally in the theater industry. He also included that although artists make a lot of sacrifices, being part of the theater is a blessing. Congratulations Mr. Davis.

Dance Finalists

The four chosen finalists for this award were Elena D'Amario, Spartak Hoxha, Indiana Woodward, and Andrea Yorita. Ashley Bouder, principal dancer with New York City Ballet, was the presenter. Before she tore open the envelope to reveal the winner, Ms. Bouder gave us her own personal description of the talents each finalist possesses. It was Indiana Woodward, with New York City Ballet, who received the 2016 Dance Award. Ms. Woodward humbly accepted and gave a brief speech thanking the foundation.

According to the web site of the foundation (, "The Clive Barnes Foundation was formed in 2009 to create Awards giving recognition, encouragement, and financial support to two talented young professionals and thus, honoring the memory of the many years of critical work and the warm personal generosity of Clive Barnes."

Photo Credit: Al Firstenberg

In Photo: (Standing) Timothée Chalamet, Juwan Crawley, Spartak Hoxha, and Indiana Woodward (2016 Dance Award Winner). (Sitting) Nora Schell, Khris Davis (2016 Theatre Award Winner), Valerie Taylor-Barnes, Elena D'Amario and Andrea Yorita.

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