Luigi Receives 2013 Bessie Award for Lifetime Achievement in Dance Today

The New York Dance and Performance Awards (The Bessies), NYC's premier dance awards honoring outstanding creative work in the field, announces dance innovator Eugene Louis Faccuito, known as "Luigi," as the recipient of the 2013 NY Dance and Performance Award for Lifetime Achievement in Dance. The award will be presented at the 29th Annual Bessie Awards ceremony at the legendary Apollo Theater today, October 7th.

Luigi will be honored for his achievements as a jazz dance innovator who not only had a storied performance career but also became a sought-after teacher for over six decades for dancers of every genre-jazz, ballet, modern, musical theater and more. Despite a car accident that left him with paralysis down one side of his body, Luigi went on to a highly successful film career, creating a series of exercises to do between takes to keep his body limber. The other dancers soon followed him-enough that Luigi was encouraged to start his own jazz class. Now his method is taught in schools and colleges all over the world.

Luigi has appeared in over 40 films, including An American in Paris, Singin' in the Rain, The Band Wagon and White Christmas. He opened his own school in NYC, Luigi's Jazz Centre, in 1957. This was the first dance school completely dedicated to jazz dance, and his was the first complete technique for teaching the form. Luigi has given master classes all over the world and served on the faculties of the Harkness Ballet School, Sarah Lawrence College, New York University and the Joffrey Ballet School.

"Luigi's contributions as a dancer and educator push the boundaries of the art form and our imaginations. His pioneering jazz dance technique has transformed and inspired dancers from diverse genres for six decades," says Lane Harwell, Executive Director of Dance/NYC and Bessie Steering Committee Chair.

The Bessies, termed by The New York Times as "the dance world's version of the Academy Awards," will take place on Monday, October 7, 2013 at 8:00pm at the legendary Apollo Theater in New York City. The 2013 ceremony, produced in partnership with Dance/NYC, will mark The Bessie Awards' third year at the Apollo Theater. Presenters on October 7th will include such dance royalty as Christopher Wheeldon, Meredith Monk, Steve Paxton, Annie B-Parson, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Desmond Richardson, Joe Levasseur and Rajika Puri. Performances of work by Paul Taylor (2012 Lifetime Achievement honoree), from Outstanding Emerging Choreographer Joanna Kotze and Juried Bessie Award winner Darrell Jones will also be featured. Tickets are on sale now, starting at $10. See ticketmaster.com.

Produced in partnership with Dance/NYC, the NY Dance and Performance Awards have saluted outstanding and groundbreaking creative work by independent dance artists in NYC for 29 years. Known as "The Bessies" in honor of revered dance teacher Bessie Schonberg, the awards were established in 1983 by David White at Dance Theater Workshop. They recognize exceptional work in choreography, performance, music composition and visual design. A 40-member selection committee comprised of artists, presenters, producers, and writers choose nominees. All those working in the dance field are invited to join the NY Dance and Performance League-members participate in annual discussions on the direction of the awards and nominate members to serve on the selection committee.

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