Diana Byer and Dianne McIntyre to Receive Lifetime Achievement Awards at the 2023 Martha Hill Awards Gala

The event is on Monday, February 27 at Manhattan Penthouse.

By: Jan. 05, 2023
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The Martha Hill Dance Fund has announced the honorees of the 2023 Martha Hill Awards to be presented at 6:00 P.M. on Monday, February 27 at Manhattan Penthouse, 80 Fifth Avenue in New York City. This year, dance industry leaders Diana Byer and Dianne McIntyre will receive the Fund's Lifetime Achievement Award and educator Deborah Damast will receive the Mid-Career Award. Now in its 22nd year, The Martha Hill Dance Fund perpetuates the legacy of Hill, whose influence in the world of dance and performance is immeasurable. The 2023 Martha Hill Awards Gala will be hosted by Danni Gee, Director of Programming for The Joyce Theater.

"The Martha Hill Awards continue the legacy of Miss Hill by recognizing those who have exhibited stellar achievement in teaching, performing, and nurturing future generations of dancers in a way that embodies Miss Hill's commitment to the art form," said the Fund's president, Vernon Scott. "The Martha Hill Dance Fund ensures access to Hill's work through published materials, film, digital archives, and other projects established in her name."

Diana Byer

Diana Byer is the founder and Artistic Director Emerita of New York Theatre Ballet (NYTB) and Director of New York Theatre Ballet School. A former professional dancer (Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Manhattan Festival Ballet, New York City Opera, and the Juilliard Ensemble), Byer received her principal dance training from Margaret Craske, Antony Tudor, and Alfredo Corvino. Byer is a répétiteur for The Antony Tudor Trust, a member of the Board of Directors of the Dance Notation Bureau and the Clive and Valerie Barnes Foundation, and an Education Ambassador for The New York Pops. She has also served on the Dance Portal Advisory Board of The Children's Museum of Manhattan and the nominating committee for The Bessies. She has staged the ballets of Antony Tudor for American Ballet Theatre (ABT) and The Hartt School, and the ballets of Agnes De Mille for the Alabama Ballet and ABT. She also coached the principals for the Columbia Pictures film, Center Stage. In 1988, Byer founded NYTB's community LIFT program, providing dance classes, scholarships, and services to homeless and at-risk New York City children. She has received extensive media attention for her ongoing work with homeless and at-risk children, winning special citations from President George Bush, First Lady Hillary Clinton, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. She has received the Helen Wieselberg Award from the National Arts Club and a Humanitarian Hero recognition from Good Housekeeping Magazine for her ongoing work with LIFT. A feature-length film, documenting Byer's journey of LIFT, was featured at the 2022 Tribeca Festival.

Byer's award will be presented by Linda Murray, Curator of The Jerome Robbins Dance Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

Dianne McIntyre

Dianne McIntyre is a 2022 Dance Magazine Award Honoree. As a dancer, choreographer, director, and teacher, McIntyre moves in the worlds of dance, theatre, film, and opera. Celebrating 50 years in the field, she is known for her idiosyncratic movement style growing out of her cultural/historical investigations and the pioneering interconnection of dance and live music. Numerous prominent dance artists emerged from her Harlem-based Sounds in Motion studio, and she has influenced many dance students as a guest artist in countless universities. McIntyre's dance/music companies have performed throughout the U.S. and Europe - with major appearances at The Joyce Theater, Kennedy Center, and BAM. 1991 research led to her recreation of Helen Tamiris' 1937 How Long, Brethren? Dance commissions include Dance Theatre of Harlem, DCDC, Philadanco, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dancing Wheels, and GroundWorks Dance Theater, as well as NYLA, Jacob's Pillow, and Walker Arts Center for her own ensembles. Her choreography has been on Broadway, Off-Broadway and in over 40 theatre productions nationally. Screen credits include Beloved and Miss Evers' Boys (Emmy nomination). McIntyre's dance-driven dramas, drawn from her interviews, include I Could Stop on a Dime... and Open the Door, Virginia! Additional honors: 2020 United States Artists Fellowship, 2019 Dance/USA Honor Award, three Bessies, 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award, 2008 ADF Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching, 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship, two honorary doctorate degrees. McIntyre is the co-director with Risa Steinberg of the Jacob's Pillow Hicks Choreography Fellows Program. Her mentors include Elaine Gibbs Redmond, Vera Blaine, Helen Alkire, Gus Solomons jr, and Louise Roberts.

McIntyre's award will be presented by Cheryl Banks-Smith, Professor of Dance at Pasadena City College.

Deborah Damast

Deborah Damast (BFA Dance: Purchase, MA Dance Education: NYU) is Program Director and Associate Professor of Dance Education at NYU Steinhardt where, in addition to leadership and teaching, she is Artistic Director of concerts, Kaleidoscope Dancers, and the Uganda study abroad program. She is Past President of the New York State Dance Education Association and teaches for LREI, DEL, and serves on the boards of Dance Education in Practice and Peridance Contemporary Dance Company, and as an advisor to Misty Copeland's BE BOLD program. She has presented choreography, workshops, and master classes at numerous conferences, colleges, and festivals. She has written curriculum for NYC DOE, Peridance, Paul Taylor, DEL, Carnegie Hall, and New York City Ballet, and her choreography has been shown at over 100 venues in NYC, nationally, and internationally in Japan, Uganda, Korea, Italy, and Canada. In NYC her work has been presented at Ailey Citigroup, Peridance, Riverside Church, 92Y, Judson Church, and many others. Damast is a recipient of the NDEO Outstanding Educator award (Higher Ed) and the Dance Teacher Magazine Award. Deborah is deeply inspired by the work and legacy of Martha Hill and aims to continue building the NYU Dance Education Program toward the future with the solid foundations of our history.

Damast's award will be presented by Joan Finkelstein, Executive Director of The Harkness Foundation for Dance.

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