Bessie Awards Celebrate 30th Anniversary at Apollo Theater with First Lady Chirlane McCray, Lisa Kron, Chuck Davis, Nicholas Young, Arthur Mitchell

By Maria Jean Sullivan on Oct 23, 2014 03:11 PM EDT

The Bessies celebrated their 30th anniversary Monday night at the Apollo Theater, awarding artists for their varying degrees of what one might consider dance.

A curtain-rising performance by Circus Amok was followed by the ping-pong of host Lisa Kron’s fierce wit and whomever she was introducing. An act in and of itself, theater aficionado Kron battled the annoyance of a standless mic and hand-held cue cards to New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray’s statement that dance is her favorite of the arts.

"I'll remember that if she ever speaks at the Tonys or Obies," joked Kron.

And so the evening went, with cheers and plenty of exalted "Yes!" shouts, on cue, from the front row. Exuberance for and of the dance world commenced. And to the woman who was howling two seats behind me in the press box, I salute you.

A major milestone honor was given to Dr. Chuck Davis with the NY Dance and Performance Award for Service to the Field of Dance. The Chuck Davis Dance Company is the prominent Dance Africa parent, celebrating African dance, arts and culture. Davis accepted his award stylistically true to his honor: with a drum circle that got the audience up and shaking their hips, singing, “Peace love and respect for everyone.”

Other fantastic performances included Mark Morris Dance Group, Urban Bush Women and the mesmerizing Dorrance Dance.

Arthur Mitchell was honored as well, receiving the NY Dance and Performance Award for Lifetime Achievement in Dance.

The full list of winners is below (and do check back with Classicalite later this week, when we'll have a full photo gallery to share):

Outstanding Production Award Winners: Camile A. Brown for Mr. Tol E. RAncE, John Jasperse for Within Between, Akram Khan for Desh, Okwui Okpokwasili in collaboration with Peter Born for Bronx Gothic.

Outstanding Revival: Dark Swan by Nora Chipaumire.

Outstanding Performer: Aakash Odera in James Brown, Get On The Good Foot, Rebecca Serrell-Cyr in Fire Underground, Linda Celeste Sims, Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, Stuart Singer in Within Between.

Outstanding Music Composition/Sound Design: this was a tie win with Simphwie Dana, Giuliano Modareli, and complete quartet for Exit/Exist and Nicholas Young for his percussion tap platforms in Rhythm in Motion.

Outstanding Visual Design: Peter Ksander, Olivera Gajic, Ryan Holsopple, Chris Kuhl, and Keith Skretch for This Was The End by Mallory Catlet.

 2014 Emerging Choreographer Award: Jen Rosenblit and Jessica Wang.

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TagsBessies, Apollo, Chirlane McCray, Chuck Davis, Lisa Kron, Nicholas Young, Arthur Mitchell

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