The Award: NYC is announced, along with this year’s winners: Rebecca Patek and Jen Rosenblit

Will a new dance award make the Bessies go away? Probably not, but it’s still a step in the right direction.

Rebecca Patek (left) and Jen Rosenblit (right)

Rebecca Patek (left) and Jen Rosenblit (right) Photographs: Courtesy of the artists

Imagine: an award dedicated to aesthetic rigor and innovation. What’s the dance world coming to? The concisely named The Award: NYC, masterminded by choreographer and curator Dean Moss, has been established to take advantage of the close relationships forged in the dance field. There’s no money, but no matter: The point, according to the website, is making “fiscal restriction the foundation of its strategy.” Awardees are nominated by an anonymous group of dance and performance artists, and what they receive is potentially priceless: mentors, who are required to spend eight weeks of a year with them in whatever capacity they want. These peer-to-peer meetings can occur in the studio or over food and drinks, which, face it, is how a lot gets done in the dance community. No joke: Gift cards from Café Orlin will be granted to the awardees.

RECOMMENDED: See more on the Bessie Awards

The inaugural prize is being presented to two worthy dance artists: Rebecca Patek and Jen Rosenblit, who will work with mentors John Kelly and Neil Greenberg, respectively. In addition, The Award will also make it possible for the winners and their mentors to receive tickets to presentations at a handful of organizations, including the Chocolate Factory, Danspace Project, MoMA PS1 and the New Museum. Moss, who has worked on the project with Kimberly Bartosik and Joshua Lubin-Levy, knows that it’s just as crucial to see other work as it is to make it yourself.
In a nutshell: This isn’t the New York Dance and Performance Awards, also known as the Bessies, which has sunk to rock bottom in recent years, with its all-over-the-place categories and nominees, and offensive nominations, including last year’s gaffe: Jennifer Monson as an outstanding performer in her own work, Live Dancing Archive. She wisely withdrew her name. What will we get in 2014? The Bessies like famous people. Best emerging choreographer: JR at New York City Ballet. Best place for experimental dance to flourish in 2014: New York Live Arts. Perhaps when the nominations are announced, let's all meet at Café Orlin.

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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

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