Performing Arts: Dance
October 15, 2019
On a sparkling fall day, skate boarders audaciously zipped around Washington Square Park situated in the heart of the 1960’s and 70’s post modern dance scene. A major experimental dance venue Judson Church flanks the park and next door sits NYU’s Skirball Center where the 35th NY Dance and Performance Awards (The Bessies) Ceremony and the Angle’s Party (a fundraiser) took place on Oct. 14.

Before the main event, supporters and friends of the Bessie Awards (a nonprofit organization) gathered in the Rosenthal Pavilion—with wine in hand -- to honor Laurie Uprichard.

Along with David White, Ms. Uprichard guided the Bessie Awards for many years through the auspices of Dance Theater Workshop. Her influence as an arts administrator, promoter and supporter of dance was impressively delineated. When Jawole Will Jo Zollar spoke, she underscored Uprichard’s “integrity” and deep love of the field.

Ms. Uprichard declared, in her usual self-effacing manner, that it was not really about her, but about the cooperation of everyone in the dance “village.” Originally, The Bessies were established to recognize the outsized contributions of downtown dance and performance artists. This community did not have access to the type of support attracted by major dance and cultural institutions, so The Bessies projected a spotlight on an innovative, tireless group of artists who were re-shaping the boundaries of dance.

Ms. Uprichard noted that, under the leadership of Lucy Sexton, the Bessies have jumped into the 21st century. Now the Bessies included downtown and uptown dance as well as ballet and musical theater. Named after the beloved teacher and coach Bessie Schonberg, Uprichard reminded everyone “Bessie was one of the fiercest women to walk the earth.” She exhorted people to always take risks and never settle for less.”
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

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