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Dance/USA » » Honors Celebration

Honors Celebration

  • Join Dance/USA at the 2015 Opening Night Celebration, June 17,  to recognize this year’s recipients of the Honors, Ernie (named for the late Ian “Ernie” Horvath), Trustees, and Champion Awards. This extraordinary event is cause for reflection upon these individuals’ contributions to dance in America and an acknowledgement of the roles they play in the national and local dance community.

    Festive attire recommended for the Opening Night Celebration.


    As Raven Wilkinson was unable to join us in person, you can check out the video below of Raven’s acceptance of the award, presented by Misty Copeland, principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre.
    Watch Video Now!


    Trisha Brown | 2015 Dance/USA Honor Award

    The Honor goes to an individual who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in the dance field by reason of artistic excellence and/or force of vision.

    Small.Foray Foret, photo by Lois Greenfield

     Photo: Lois Greenfield

    Instantly immersed in what was to become the post-modern phenomena of Judson Dance Theater, Trisha Brown’s movement investigations found the extraordinary in the everyday and challenged existing perceptions of what constitutes performance. In this “hot-bed of dance revolution”, Brown, along with like-minded artists, pushed the limits of choreography thereby changing modern dance forever. *Trisha Brown’s award will be given in absentia.

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    Past Honorees

    1986 Anthony Tudor and Martha Graham
    1988 Robert Joffrey and Merce Cunningham
    1990 Agnes de Mille, Paul Taylor and Alvin Ailey
    1992 Katherine Dunham and Bella Lewitzky
    1994 Alexandra Danilova and Charles Reinhart
    1996 Willam Christensen and Donald McKayle
    1998 Judith Jamison and Bruce Marks
    2000 Jeraldyne Blunden and David R. White
    2002 Chuck Davis
    2004 Arthur Mitchell
    2006 Anna Halprin
    2008 Frederic Franklin
    2009 Tina Ramirez
    2010 Carmen De Lavallade
    2011 Lar Lubovitch
    2012 Helgi Tomasson
    2013 Joan Myers Brown
    2014  Liz Lerman


     Linda Shelton | 2015 Dance/USA ‘Ernie’ Award

    The ‘Ernie’ goes to an individual working “behind the scenes” within the infrastructure of the dance field, whose achievements have significantly empowered artists and supported their creativity individually or as a community.
     Linda Photo_cropped

    Linda Shelton is the executive director, a position she has held since 1993, and a Trustee of The Joyce Theater Foundation. Prior to this, she served as General Manager of The Joffrey Ballet.   Before The Joffrey, she managed tours for the Bolshoi Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet Academy, Moscow Virtuosi, Sankai Juku, and worked with Philip Glass productions.  From 1982 – 1988, she held various management positions at The Twyla Tharp Dance Foundation.

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    Past Honorees

    1990 Ian ‘Ernie’ Horvath
    1992 Richard E. LeBlond Jr.
    1994 Martha Hill Davis and Bessie Schoenberg
    1996 Barbara Horgan and Ivan Sygoda
    1998 Deborah Jowitt
    2000 Norton Owen and John R. Killacky
    2002 Cora Cahan
    2004 Sage Cowles
    2006 Madeleine Nichols
    2008 Anna Kisselgoff
    2009 Sali Ann Kriegsman
    2010 Richard J. Caples
    2011 Verdery Roosevelt
    2012 Sam Miller
    2013 Barbara Weisberger
    2014 D. David Brown


    Raven Wilkinson | 2015 Dance/USA Trustees Award

    The Trustees Award is given at the discretion of the Dance/USA Board of Trustees to recognize an outstanding professional whose work has special significance to the field.

    Raven in Les Sylphides

     Photo courtesy of Raven Wilkinson

    Wilkinson, whose talent and skill enabled her to become the first ballerina of color with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1955 and who went on to be a leading dancer with the Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam, is credited with being the first African American woman to dance for a major classical ballet company.

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    Past Honorees

    2004  Alan M. Kriegsman
    2007  Dr. Richard Gibbs
    2008  Rena Shagan
    2011  Andrea Snyder
    2012  C.C. Conner, Jr.
    2013  Sharon Gersten Luckman


    Toby Lerner Ansin  | Dance/USA Champion Award

    The Champion Award is given to any organization, business, foundation, or individual in the Annual Conference host city whose achievements, leadership, and support have sustained and/or significantly advanced dance in their home community.

    Resized.Toby Lerner Ansin Heahshot

    Thirty years ago, Toby Lerner Ansin, the founder of Miami City Ballet invited Edward Villella to her home, persuaded him to be the artistic director of a new ballet company, then convinced a group of friends and associates to donate the seminal funds that brought viability to her vision.

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    Past Honorees

    2010  The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation and the Meyer Foundation
    2011  Pamela Crutchfield
    2012  Chris and Warren Hellman, and Kary Schulman
    2014  Dr. Robert & Katherine Goodale