PHOTOS: 61st Annual Dance Magazine Awards

Misty Copeland was smiling bright at the 61st Annual Dance Magazine Awards. An evening that recognizes outstanding men and women whose contributions have left a lasting impact on dance. But the ABT star opened the evening on an emotional note “I’ve just come from Arthur Mitchell’s memorial service. Celebrating a life of such incredible impact, puts so much into perspective…and a stronger understanding of my responsibility as a human, as an American, as a black woman, and as a black ballerina! We all in this room and in the dance world hold a responsibility to use what we love for good. To move the art form forward, to move and motivate one another, to transcend race, religion, and politics! Dance unifies us.”


This year’s deserving honorees included Ronald K. Brown (his award presented by Arcell Cabuag), Lourdes Lopez (presented by the Ford Foundation’s Darren Walker), Crystal Pite (presented by Sean Curran), and Michael Trusnovec (presented by Patrick Corbin). A special Leadership Award was presented to Nigel Redden by Dance Media CEO Frederic Seegal for his many years of working on festivals.

Ronald was overjoyed when he accepted his award. He went off script and spoke from the heart about teaching in the same community he grew up learning in.The room of dance enthusiasts cheered when Lourdes, who took over Miami City Ballet during a troubling time, shared that she is the only Latina woman to lead a major American ballet company. It was an empowering evening.

Performances on behalf of each honoree included Evidence, Miami City Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Gallim Dance, and Paul Taylor Dance Company, where Michael danced alongside Parisa Khobdeh.



The celebration continued with the announcement of the first ever Harkness Promise Awardees. Proceeds from last year’s ceremony created this new grant for emerging young artists and the promise of their artistic work. The Harkness Foundation For Dance’s vice president, Joan Finkelstein, welcomed Raja Feather Kelly and Ephrat Asherie on stage. The pair accepted the award together saying in unison, “we promise… not to let you down!”. Proceeds from this year’s Dance Magazine Awards will be applied to next year’s Harkness Promise Awards.

To donate to next year’s Harkness Promise Award, visit
It was a full circle event. Emerging artists sharing a stage with the established creators they aspire to be. Though we may have lost important members of our community this year, namely Arthur Mitchell and Paul Taylor, it was clear the dance world pliés on.
Photos by Christopher Duggan

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