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Bessie Award Winner's Work to be Performed at 2012 Dance Festival

  • Published: October 27, 2011

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Alicia Nestle (585) 389-2457

Bessie Award Winner's Work to be Performed at 2012 Dance Festival

On October 24, 2011, at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem in New York, N.Y., Nazareth College President Daan Braveman and his wife, Lorraine, proudly represented the Nazareth College Arts Center Dance Festival at the New York Dance and Performance Awards, otherwise known as The Bessies. The Bessies celebrated and honored artists in the fields of choreography, design, and performance and announced the recipient of the Juried Bessie Award, a new award that selects a single work or a choreographer to tour and perform at one or more regional theaters outside of the city. Beth Gill was chosen as the recipient of this first ever Juried Bessie Award and her works will be performed at the 2012 Nazareth College Arts Center Dance Festival, the inaugural touring partner for the Juried Bessie Award.

“The Nazareth College Arts Center has a long history of presenting renowned – and diverse – dance companies on our stage,” says Braveman. “It is an honor to be the first partner for the Juried Bessie Award, and we look forward to introducing Rochester-area audiences to Beth Gill.”

Gill is a Brooklyn-based artist who makes contemporary dance and performance in New York City. She has been commissioned multiple times by The Kitchen, Dance Theater Workshop, and Dixon Place, and her work has been shown in dance festivals and series such as Food For Thought by Danspace Project, the Movement Research Festival, and Catch! Her choreographic mission is “to use the experience of dance, theatrical design, and sound within the framework of live performance to shift the way we see, sense, and understand the space around us through a timeless and rigorous investigation of form.”

The Juried Bessie Award is a new award, chosen in an entirely new way. A jury of three acclaimed choreographers will be chosen each year by the Bessie Steering Committee. The jury operates differently from the Bessie Selection Committee in that its only mission is to decide on a single work or choreographer that it feels exhibits some of the most interesting and exciting ideas happening in dance in New York City today. The honored dance maker will then tour his or her work to one or more regional theaters outside the city. The inaugural jury comprises Ralph Lemon, David Gordon, and Elizabeth Streb.

About the Nazareth College Arts Center Dance Festival

The Nazareth College Arts Center Dance Festival was designed to be a week-long, community-wide, annual summer event that showcases dance to area audiences and explores the wide range of expression made possible by the human body in movement.

The inaugural event in 2010 drew approximately 5,500 people and featured headliner Elizabeth Streb and the Streb Extreme Action Company.

More than 6,000 people participated in the 2011 Dance Festival, which featured the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Rochester’s own nationally renowned Garth Fagan Dance, and regional favorite Rochester City Ballet. This year’s nine-day festival also included lectures, conversations and post-show talk-backs with guest choreographers, master classes, community dances, free outdoor performances at several area venues, main stage performances, an archival exhibition, and a photography exhibition.

Nazareth College is proud to serve as the inaugural touring partner for the Bessie Awards. In partnership with the Bessies, the 2012 Dance Festival will include a performance by Beth Gill, the first recipient of the Bessie’s new Juried Award.

About the Nazareth College Arts Center

For 43 years, the Arts Center has hosted the most innovative and important dance companies in the world, and remains greater Rochester’s premier presenter of world-class dance, theatre, music, international programs, and family entertainment. The Arts Center is the home of Rochester Children’s Theatre and the performance home of Rochester City Ballet and Garth Fagan Dance. With the addition of the Dance Festival, the Arts Center has increased its role in stimulating Rochester’s cultural tourism, and now provides an estimated annual economic impact of more than $4 million to the area. For more information, visit

Founded in 1924, Nazareth College is located on a close-knit, suburban campus in the dynamic, metropolitan region of Rochester, N.Y. The College offers challenging academic programs in the liberal arts and sciences and professional programs in health and human services, education, and management. Nazareth's strong cultures of service and community prepare students to be successful professionals and engaged citizens. The College enrolls approximately 2,000 undergraduate students and 1,000 graduate students.

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