The 2023 Dance Magazine Awards will honor Antoine Hunter, Alicia Graf Mack, Norton Owen, Bijayini Satpathy, and Maria Torres. The Chairman’s Award will be given to Jody Gottfried Arnold; the Harkness Promise Award recipients are Amadi “Baye” Washington and Sam “Asa” Pratt, of Baye & Asa, and Omar Román De Jesús; and posthumous Dance Magazine Awards will be given to Syvilla Fort, Gregory Hines, Pearl Primus, and Helen Tamiris.
The awards honor the artistry, integrity, and resilience that dance artists have demonstrated over the course of their careers. They feature several changes for 2023, including the addition of an annual theme, the establishment of criteria for the selection committee, and the inclusion of posthumous honors to recognize some of the many artists active since 1954 who were not given awards during their lifetimes.
A ceremony to recognize the 2023 honorees will be held in New York City at Buttenwieser Hall at The Arnhold Center, 92NY, on Monday, December 4 at 7 pm Eastern, with performances and presentations for each recipient. For ticket information, visit dancemediafoundation.org.
Here are the artists we’re celebrating at this year’s awards, which have a theme of education.
Oakland native Antoine Hunter aka Purple Fire Crow is an award-winning internationally known Black, Indigenous, Deaf, and Disabled choreographer, dancer, actor, instructor, speaker, producer and Deaf advocate. This Two-Spirit creates opportunities for Disabled, Deaf, and hearing artists, produces Deaf-friendly events, and founded the Urban Jazz Dance Company in 2007 and Bay Area International Deaf Dance Festival in 2013. Awards include the 2022 Disability Futures Fellowship, 2021 Dance Teacher Award, 2019 National Dance/USA fellowship, 2018 inaugural Jeanette Lomujo Bremond Humanity Arts Award, and 2017 Isadora Duncan (Izzie) for Bay Area International Deaf Dance Festival. In 2020, Hunter founded #DeafWoke, an online talk show that amplifies BIPOC Deaf and Disabled stories as a force for cultural change.
Alicia Graf Mack
Alicia Graf Mack was named dean and director of dance at The Juilliard School in 2018. A former dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Graf Mack also danced with Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, Beyoncé, John Legend, Andre 3000, Alicia Keys, and Jon Batiste. Graf Mack graduated magna cum laude with honors from Columbia University and holds an MA in nonprofit management from Washington University in St. Louis. She has been an assistant professor at Webster University and adjunct faculty at the University of Houston and Washington University in St. Louis. She is the co-founder of D(n)A Arts Collective, and host and co-producer of the podcast Moving Moments.
Norton Owen is a curator, writer, and archivist with more than 50 years of professional experience in dance. Since 1976, he has been associated with Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, where as director of preservation he oversees projects involving documentation, exhibitions, audience engagement, and archival issues, as well as extensive online archives, podcasts, and more. In 2000, Dance/USA selected him for its Ernie Award, honoring “unsung heroes who have led exemplary lives in dance,” and he has also received awards from the Martha Hill Dance Fund, Dance Films Association, the José Limón Dance Foundation, and the Theatre Library Association.
Considered a foremost master of Odissi, Bijayini Satpathy has four decades of intensive practice as a performer, teacher, and research scholar. Her journey in choreography began four years ago with ABHIPSAA—A Seeking, commissioned by Duke Performances, Baryshnikov Arts Center, and NEFA’s National Dance Project. She was the artist in residence with Live Arts at the Metropolitan Museum from 2021 to 2022. Satpathy is currently a resident fellow at NYU’s Center for Ballet and the Arts and was a New York Dance & Performance Award (“Bessie”) Honoree in 2020. Satpathy’s Odissi practice began in her motherland, Orissa, India, and flourished for a quarter of a century at Nrityagram until 2018.
Maria Torres has sculpted a diverse career spanning direction, choreography, education, and production. Torres pioneered the dance technique Latin jazz, now taught worldwide. She has worked extensively on Broadway (Swing, On Your Feet!, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical), in film (Dance with Me, Enchanted), and on television (“So You Think You Can Dance”). Torres has participated in the Dance Oral History Project at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, and is now helping document the style of social dance she grew up with, the Hustle. She is a trustee of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation and on the board of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and the League of Professional Theatre Women.
Chairman’s Award: Jody Gottfried Arnhold
A Chairman’s Award, chosen by Dance Magazine Awards Chairman Frederic M. Seegal to honor distinctive leaders behind the scenes, will go to Jody Gottfried Arnhold, MA, CMA. A luminary in dance education and an advocate for dance, she founded the Dance Education Laboratory (DEL) at 92NY in 1995 in response to the need for a practical and focused dance pedagogy program. She continues these efforts as executive producer of the NY Emmy nominated documentary, PS DANCE!: Dance Education in Public Schools, to raise awareness and advocate for her mission, Dance for Every Child.
Harkness Promise Awards: Baye & Asa and Omar Román De Jesús
Amadi “Baye” Washington and Sam “Asa” Pratt, of Baye & Asa, and Omar Román De Jesús are the recipients of the two Harkness Promise Awards, which offer a grant and rehearsal space for innovative young choreographers. These awards, conferred in partnership with the Harkness Foundation for Dance, are funded by net proceeds from the Dance Magazine Awards ceremony.
Posthumous Dance Magazine Awards will be given for the first time ever in 2023, paying tribute to dancer, choreographer, and teacher Syvilla Fort; dancer, choreographer, actor, musician, and teacher Gregory Hines; dancer, choreographer, anthropologist, and educator Pearl Primus; and choreographer, dancer, and teacher Helen Tamiris.
Stay tuned for Dance Magazine‘s December issue to learn more about each of these artists and how they have shaped the dance field.