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The Bessies Announce 2020 Nominees

The virtual awards ceremony is set for Monday, December 14, at 7:30pm ET.

The Bessies Announce 2020 Nominees

The NY Dance and Performance Awards, The Bessies, New York City's premier dance awards honoring outstanding creative work in the field, today announced the nominees for the 2019-20 season. This year, all of the nominees will be honored. Each nomination will be recognized with a $500 honorarium, courtesy of a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Honorees for Lifetime Achievement, Service to the Field of Dance, and 2020 Special Citation will be announced at The Bessies Ceremony. The 36th annual Bessies Ceremony will be streamed on a virtual platform on Monday, December 14, at 7:30pm ET.

All of the nominees being honored presented live performance work prior to the March 15 citywide shutdown due to the pandemic. In acknowledgement of the artists who were unable to present their work this season, The Bessies Steering and Selection Committees decided to forego giving individual awards this year. Artists who presented work after March 15, including on virtual platforms, are eligible for award consideration in the 2020-21 season.

The Bessies Ceremony will be a place for the dance and performance community to come together in solidarity, support, and celebration during these times of continuing challenge. The event will feature video footage of the nominated artists' works, and will include a special tribute to the often unsung but essential members of the community who are central to the process of bringing live and online dance and performance to audiences in New York City.

"We hope to reflect the immense scope of our dance and performance community at the virtual 2020 Bessies Ceremony because The Bessies belongs to all of us," said Bessies Managing Director and Producer Heather Robles. "We look forward to celebrating all of the 2020 nominees and the extraordinary work presented this past season. We will acknowledge how organizations and individuals came together to support one another during Covid-19, we will hear from beloved members of our community, and we will lift up many luminaries for their lifetime achievement in dance and service to the field."

The pre-ceremony Angel Reception will honor choreographer, producer, and former executive director of The Bessies Lucy Sexton for her leadership and advocacy for dance for so many years. The Bessies Angel Reception will include remarks by Bebe Neuwirth, exclusive footage of DANCENOISE's 1989 show All the Rage, and more.

Robles stated: "We are thrilled to honor the incomparable Lucy Sexton at The Bessies Angel Reception for her unparalleled leadership, vision, and dedication to The Bessies and the artists we serve."

The 36th annual Bessies Ceremony is free, with a suggested donation of any amount. Registration is required at Bessies RSVP.

For more information and to purchase tickets to the virtual Angel Reception, visit: Angel Reception tickets.

The celebration will continue at the free, virtual Bessies After-party following the ceremony. Everyone who registers for The Bessies Ceremony will be invited to the party.

The 2020 Bessie Nominees/Honorees

Outstanding Production:

Kimberly Bartosik

through the mirror of their eyes

At New York Live Arts

Monica Bill Barnes and Robert Saenz de Viteri

Days Go By

At Brookfield Place New York

Brother(hood) Dance!


At Gibney

Ayodele Casel and Arturo O'Farrill

Ayodele Casel + Arturo O'Farrill

At The Joyce Theater

a canary torsi/Yanira Castro

Last Audience

At New York Live Arts

Yoshiko Chuma

My Diary: Secret Journey to Tipping Utopia

At The Invisible Dog

Colin Dunne


At Baryshnikov Arts Center

Gregory Vuyani Maqoma

Cion: Requiem of Ravel's Bolero

At The Joyce Theater

Annie-B Parson

American Utopia

At Hudson Theatre

jumatatu m. poe and Jermone "Donte" Beacham

Let 'im Move You: This Is a Formation

At Abrons Art Center

Amanda Szeglowski

this is now, and now, and now.


Outstanding Performer:

Oluwadamilare Ayorinde

In A.D. and Colored by Kyle Marshall

At BAM Fisher

Grupo de Rua

In Inoah by Bruno Beltraõ/Grupo de Rua

At Brooklyn Academy of Music

Burr Johnson

In through the mirror of their eyes by Kimberly Bartosik

At New York Live Arts

Wataru Kitao

In The Unknown Dancer in the Neighborhood by Suguru Yamamoto

The Public Theater's Under the Radar Festival 2020

At Japan Society

Huwer Anthony Marche Jr. ("King Havoc")

In LayeRhythm Jam

At Nublu

Shannon Nash

In Community Exercises for Sanctuary Spaces by Brendan Drake

At The Brick

Emily Pope

In My Diary: Secret Journey to Tipping Utopia by Yoshiko Chuma

At The Invisible Dog

Annique Roberts

For Sustained Achievement in the work of Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE

Myssi Robinson

In Colored by Kyle Marshall

At BAM Fisher

Bijayini Satpathy

In Kalpana - the world of Imagination by Kelucharan Mohapatra and Surupa Sen

Presented by Drive East Festival

At A.R.T. New York Theatre

Hu Shenyuan

In Under Siege by Yang Liping

At David H. Koch Theatre

Omari Wiles

In Odeon by Ephrat Asherie

At The Joyce Theater

Breakout Choreographer:

Gemma Bond

Tess Dworman

It's Showtime NYC

Gabrielle Revlock

Outstanding Revival:


By Aszure Barton

Performed by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

At New York City Center


By Kyle Marshall

At BAM Fisher

From The Horse's Mouth, various works

By Jamie Cunningham and Tina Croll/Horse's Mouth honoring the 75th anniversary of the Jerome Robbins Dance Division

At 14th Street Y

Monuments: Echoes in the Dance Archive

By Adam Weinert

At The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

Outstanding Sound Design/Musical Composition:

Quran Karriem

For Soundz at the Back of My Head by Thomas F. DeFrantz/Slippage

At Gibney

Nhlanhla Mahlangu and Ntuthuko Mbuyazi

For Cion: Requiem of Ravel's Bolero by Gregory Maqoma/Vuyani Dance Theater

At The Joyce Theater

Stephan Moore

For Last Audience by a canary torsi/Yanira Castro

At New York Live Arts

Nioka Workman, nia love, and Antoine Roney

For g1(host):lostatsea by nia love

At Gibney

Outstanding Visual Design:

Peter Born (Set and Lighting Design)

For Sitting on a Man's Head by Okwui Okpokwasii and Peter Born

At Danspace Project

Liam O'Brien & Kelly Hanson (Costume and Scenic Design), Mary Ellen Stebbins and Jane Cox (Lighting Design)

For Days Go By by Monica Bill Barnes and Robert Saenz de Viteri

At Brookfield Place New York

Ricarrdo Valentine and Orlando Zane Hunter (Video)

For Afro/Solo/Man by Brother(hood) Dance!

At Gibney

Tim Yip (Visual Director and Set) and Beili Liu (Installation)

For Under Siege by Yang Liping Contemporary Dance

At David H. Koch Theatre

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