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Jennifer Stahl on Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013
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Last week, The New York Times wrote, "As far as dance celebrities are concerned, the annual Dance Magazine Awards is as close as they come to a star-studded event." I couldn't agree more. The 2013 awards ceremony at the Ailey Citigroup Theater last night was packed with the biggest names in dance, both on stage and in the audience. The best parts?
1. None other than Ashley Bouder launched the evening, performing a sprightly solo from Square Dance which George Balanchine had created for awardee Patricia Wilde. Bouder danced with her usual effervescent charm, and seeing her up close felt like getting an exclusive backstage pass to watch a star at the height of her career.
2. In explaining how his former director/mentor, awardee Mats Ek, creates such beauty on stage, Jorma Elo shared an anecdote about how the choreographer thinks of bodies as constantly "rotting from the inside." Just ponder that one for a minute.
Jorma Elo introducing Mats Ek.
3. I could have spent all night watching the film clips of awardee Yuan Yuan Tan. But then a cheery Christopher Wheeldon came onstage to present San Francisco's queen of elegance, and seeing the two of them in real life made it okay that we only got to see a few minutes of her dance footage. (But don't blame me if I spend all day today watching this on repeat.)
Yuan Yuan Tan accepting her Dance Magazine Award.
4. The biggest applause of the night came when Damian Woetzel introduced awardee Philip Glass. The legendary composer spoke of his enthrallment with dance, how he used to try to take class when he was on tour with Lucinda Childs' company in order to understand what dancers felt when they perform—and how he jokes of himself as a failed dancer who only became a composer by default.
The legendary Philip Glass.
5. The climax of the evening? Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo performing a duet from awardee Martha Clarke's current production, Chéri. The intense intimacy between these two ballet superstars was so electric it almost felt as though we were peeking in on a personal scene we shouldn't have been seeing. But we were. And it was amazing.
Herman Cornejo and Alessandra Ferri's performance last night.
Want to see for yourself? Check out our highlights video.