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Dance, Dance, Revolution: Bessie Awards name the 2016 nominees

By Helen Shaw
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Sure, sure, the Emmy nominations came out, and they had something for everyone: The Americans! Beyoncé! Marcia Clark! But you know what the Emmy nominations don't have? Regret. That's right. TV shows are still out there in the media-ether whether or not you've seen them or not, but the Bessies celebrate pieces that are, in many cases, irrevocably gone. If you read the full list of nominees from the NY Dance and Performance Awards, every dance-goer will have the chance to gnaw her knuckle over all she's missed. Read on…we'll try to find you a summer fix where we can.

The Bessie Awards always announce winners from the jump. Donald McKayle's Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder won for Outstanding Revival; Joya Powell took the Outstanding Choreographer Award; and brilliant postmodernist Pam Tanowitz won the 2016 Juried Bessie Award. Even in the welter of gorgeousness that was last year's Fall for Dance, Tanowitz's One Last Good Chance stood out for its joy-in-precision, and her Joyce season in February was a killer. Tanowitz will be at Jacob's Pillow from August 17–21 (go go go!), while Joya Powell's Afro-Brazilian work shows up a little closer to home—her Movement of the People Dance Company performs a free “Boogie on the Boulevard” on August 28 in the Bronx.

The rest of the nominees will wait 'til the ceremony at the BAM Gilman Opera House on October 18 to find out if they've won. There are over 40 nominees in categories spanning from performance to design, and at times, the competition is so fierce as to be nearly meaningless. The committee has nominated a dozen pieces in the Outstanding Production category, for instance. How do you choose among luciana achugar's An Epilogue for OTRO TEATRO, Souleymane Badolo's Yimbégré, Camille A. Brown's Black Girl: Linguistic Play; Jack Ferver and Marc Swanson's Chambre, Pat Graney's Girl Gods, Maria Hassabi's PLASTIC, Heather Kravas's dead, disappears, Ralph Lemon's Scaffold Room, Dada Masilo's Swan Lake, Justin Peck's Heatscape, Liz Santoro and Pierre Godard's For Claude Shannon and Safi A. Thomas's Sleeping Beauty? Better them than me.

If you want to nitpick the committee's choices, then the summer does offer a few second chances to see the nominees' work. You should get yourself out to Jacob's Pillow, where you can catch Badolo's Yimbégré, from August 24–28 (highly recommended!); you can see Camille Brown's moving work at the Prospect Park Bandshell on July 21. The others are more elusive. You could catch Maria Hassabi's open rehearsal at the Boston ICA on July 23 and 24, or you can wait for the New York City Ballet Fall Season (starting September 20), which will include some new Justin Peck pieces and Fall for Dance has announced Dada Masilo will be in the lineup that begins September 26. As for the rest, you'll have to catch the next one…or learn to live with regret all over again.

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