Columbus State University To Honor Mercedes Ellington With Lifetime Achievement Award In Dance
Columbus State University 's College of the Arts will present renowned dancer/choreographer/actress Mercedes Ellington with its 2017 "Lifetime Achievement Award in Dance" at CSU's annual BROADWAY BALL on Friday, December 1 in Columbus, GA. The announcement was made by Karyn Tomsczak, the Viki Jiles Flanagan Distinguished Chair in Dance in CSU's Department of Theatre.
"We are proud to announce the 2017 recipient of the award is Mercedes Ellington," Ms. Tomsczak said. "Ms. Ellington hails from an esteemed three- generation family in the performing arts, including her grandfather, the famous jazz musician and composer Duke Ellington, and her father, the popular bandleader, Mercer Ellington.
"Mercedes is a graduate of the Julliard School with a degree in
ballet and modern dance and broke the color barrier in the sixties on national television as one of the June Taylor Dancers on the Jackie Gleason Show. She performed in the show for the next seven years and then launched her professional Broadway dance career in such shows as Sophisticated Ladies, No No Nanette, and The Grand Tour.
"Her choreography for the Broadway show Play On won her a Tony nomination. For 10 years she served as the Artistic Director of BalleTap, USA, aka DancEllington. Ms. Ellington continues to tour and choreograph and direct both small and large music celebrations of the music of her grandfather and is the President of the Duke Ellington Center for the Arts which she founded in 2004."
According to Ms. Tomsczak, "Each year the Ball gives the coveted CSU Lifetime Achievement Award in Dance to an individual who has attained a distinguished level of accomplishments on the Broadway stage as an dancer, actress and choreographer. Our 2016 honoree was Tony Award winner, Ann Reinking, the honorary chairperson of our program."