This year’s Capezio A.C.E. Awards—a highlight of the annual Dance Teacher Summit in NYC—were jam-packed with rising choreographic talent. The 23 finalists’ pieces included dramatic contemporary works, a stellar Latin number and even a joyful dance set to a Celine Dion medley. But Peter Chu’s This Thought stood out for its exceptional partnering and emotionally charged movement, earning him first place in the choreography competition. Chu, a Juilliard grad who also performed in the routine, says his piece was about finding hope “in the midst of a loud collection of fear, uncertainty and doubt.” And as for winning: “It was an incredible experience,” he says. “I feel honored to be recognized for something I’m so passionate about.”
Now in its second year, the competition honors dancemakers with the Award for Choreographic Excellence. The winner (last year it was Travis Wall!) receives a $15,000 production budget to put on a show in NYC. Two runners-up win money to put on a joint show; this year Dana Metz was first runner-up with her inventive partnering routine, and Misha Gabriel and Teddy Forance were second runners-up.
Gabriel and Forance’s black-lit hip-hop hybrid routine was one of the evening’s standouts. The neon-painted dancers, including Birmingham Royal
Ballet’s exceptional Dusty Button and this year’s Cover Model Search winner, Alexa Anderson, were sharp, hard-hitting and visually effective. And judging by the audience’s response, Lory and Manuel Castro’s Latin routine was the fan favorite. The sexy ballroom and contemporary number was fun, sensual and the only piece of the night to get a standing ovation.
Want your shot at the $15,000 prize? Go to dancemedia.com to enter your video.
Photo of Peter Chu’s winning piece, This Thought, courtesy Dance Teacher Summit.