A Festival of Caveats

Caveat number one: I’ve always thought that blogs or rather the idea of blogs was peculiar. I rarely read them. And even the best of them, like my friend Dennis Cooper’s (http://denniscooper-theweaklings.blogspot.com) make me wonder how bloggers find enough time and material to be of interest to a mass readership on a regular basis. So when MR asked me to be a blogger on our revamped website, of course I said “yes.”

Caveat two: I’ve decided my first entry would be about the absence, this year, of the New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Awards. In 1984, in their first season, I shared a Bessie creator award with my collaborator Fred Holland. This winter I was asked if I wanted to be on the selection committee.

Caveat three: I’ve lived and worked in the New York downtown dance and performance scene for 30 years. In that time I have worked with, worked for, loved, slept with, argued with, broken up with, collaborated with, applauded, booed, dished, been in awe of, criticized, lent money to, borrowed money from, mentored, taught, taken class from … you get the idea … many of the people in this incestuous little community. Here, I will try to be as objective as possible, but I’m only human. And for the time being, it’s my blog. Hey I might like this after all. So here goes…]

When I was I presenter at the 2005 Bessies, I called the gathering “the annual back to school celebration of ourselves.” What I meant was that the Bessies were much, much more than who got what award, who should have and who was overlooked. It was the one time during the year when many of us gathered in one place, at one time for one event. That it was about reinforcing the idea that we are a community. It was a time to catch up. Show baby pictures. založení společnosti And to mourn. I feel a loss that this won’t happen this year. I feel the that the producers and the committee while probably acting out of some painful necessity, have been extremely negligent in explaining the situation to the broader community. There is this brief and ambiguous paragraph on the Danspace Project website:

“The New York Dance and Performance Awards have been suspended for the 2008-09 season. During this hiatus, the producers are re-imagining the awards to better meet the needs of both the dance/performance community and the public and to retain and enhance the value of the awards.”


While I had been asked onto the committee this winter, I didn’t have an opportunity to attend a meeting before they disbanded, but I was privy to the back and forth of emails that went into the decision to go on hiatus. I added my 2 cents against this but was outvoted.

So never having had the chance to voice my selections publicly, I’ve decided to use in the next installment of this forum to acknowledge those artists whose work made me think, and feel and marvel and rage and laugh during the 2008-2009 season. I invite you all to add your own to this list.

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