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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Washington, DC — The enthusiasm for dance was palpable in the packed house of the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater and among the hundreds of people who attended the Millennium Stage prelude performances at the 9th Annual Metro DC Dance Awards (The Awards) presented by Dance/MetroDC and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Last night’s  “kick-off” dance social event of the season honored dance professionals from DC, Maryland, and Virginia for excellence in their field.

Dance/MetroDC Director Peter DiMuro referred to the evening as “other worldly,” and the illustrious cast for the ceremony included appearances by Martha Graham, a breathtaking performance choreographed by a 10-year-old, and a stage full of rowdy, bedazzled cowboys.

Brooke Kidd, Founder of World Arts Focus, Inc. and Executive Director of Joe’s Movement Emporium, received the prominent Alan M. Kriegsman Award for lifetime achievement, honoring her history of community and dance activism. Named for Pulitzer Prize winner and former Washington Post dance critic Alan “Mike” Kriegsman, the award was presented by Doug Yeuell, Executive Director of Joy of Motion Dance Center and winner of the 2008 Kriegsman Award.

Joining Kidd, were award winners in 15 categories ranging from Emerging Choreographer to Excellence in Costume Design. Also presented were the Pola Nirenska Awards for Contemporary Achievement to Gesel Mason co-founder and artistic director of Mason/Rhynes Productions and artistic director of Gesel Mason Performance Projects and for Lifetime Achievement to Virginia Johnson, founding member and newly-appointed artistic director of Dance Theatre of Harlem. A DC-native, Johnson’s poignant words of “dance is life, and life is beauty,” represents last night’s honorees’ commitment to the field.

This year’s ceremony, hosted by Frederick, MD native, Richard Move as Martha Graham, also featured performances by area dance companies Furia Flamenca, ARKA Ballet, Life, Rhythm, Move Project, and the DC Cowboys, fresh from their appearance last year on NBC’s America’s Got Talent. 

The celebration continued at a reception and silent auction at 600 Restaurant at the Watergate where members and supporters of the DC metro area dance community toasted fellow winners and helped raise funds to support The Awards.   

Winners of the 2009 Metro DC Dance Awards

Outstanding Individual Performance
Jason Garcia Ignacio in “Nocturne Monologue”
And Delphina Parenti in “On a Train Heading South”

Outstanding Group Performance
CityDance Ensemble in "Folksay”

Outstanding Youth Performance
Maryland Youth Ballet in "Tahquamenon Falls"
And Indian Dance Educators Association (IDEA) in “Katha: Tales From India

Outstanding New Work
Dana Tai Soon Burgess for "Hyphen"

Emerging Performer or Group
Urban Artistry in "Time to Come Home: A Tribute"

Emerging Choreographer
Cassie Meador for "Drift"

Excellence in Costume Design
Estela Velez for "Lorca: Flamenco Poetry"

Excellence in Lighting Design
Jeff Bruckerhoff for Washington Ballet's "Wunderland"

Excellence in Sound Design/Original Composition
Guillermo Christie for “Lorca: Flamenco Poetry”

Excellence in Stage Design/Multimedia
Shane Meador for “Drift”

Overall Production – Small Venue
VT Dance for “Witness” at Dance Place

Overall Production – Large Venue
The Washington Ballet for "Highland Fling: La Sylphide & Celts" at Lisner Auditorium

Outstanding Achievement in Dance Education
Helen Hayes

Alan Kriegsman Award
Brooke Kidd

Founders Award
Next Reflex Dance Collective

Pola Nirenska Award for Contemporary Achievement
Gesel Mason

Pola Nirenska Award for Lifetime Achievement
Virginia Johnson

Metro DC Dance Awards is the only annual opportunity in Metropolitan DC for artists and audiences to recognize excellence in the dance field.  Dance/MetroDC, a branch office of Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance, became the lead organization for MDCDA in 2006. Dance/MetroDC produces The Awards, along with other programs throughout the year that serve and engage the region’s dancers, dance entities and their audiences, including Dance Is The Answer, DancePass, and Forward Five. Visit www.dancemetrodc.org for more information.

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