Congrats to the 2015 Capezio A.C.E. Award Winners!
The results are in, you guys! The 2015 Capezio A.C.E. (Award for Choreographic Excellence) Awards totally rocked the Long Beach Convention Center last night in sunny California. Held during the annual Dance Teacher Summit, the competition is an opportunity for up-and-coming choreographers to gain not only extra visibility and bragging rights, but also some serious funds to produce their own show. In the past, winners have included little-known choreographers Travis Wall, Peter Chu, Misha Gabriel and Teddy Forance, Al Blackstone and Billy Bell.
This year's event brought some pretty tough competition—and some serious dance celebrities were in the house: Former New York City Ballet principal Jenifer Ringer was there to accept the Dance Teacher Award for lifetime achievement, and both Ray Leeper and Mia Michaels were on the judges' panel (along with Dance Magazine editor in chief Jennifer Stahl and McDonald/Selznick Agency co-owner Julie McDonald).
I don't envy the judges' job of selecting the winners from this year's 20 out-of-this-world-talented finalists. But after killer performances from all, they did! Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, may I present the 2015 Capezio A.C.E Award winners:
Tied for second runner-up were Marinda Davis and Cat Cogliandro...
Cat Cogliandro's Ripe & Ruin (Joe Toreno for Dance Teacher)
Marinda Davis' give.me.LOVE (Joe Toreno for Dance Teacher)
...Andrew Winghart received the first runner-up prize...
Andrew Winghart’s Heed the Call (Joe Toreno for Dance Teacher)
and Kirsten Russell received the top prize for her piece, Islands.
Kirsten Russell's Islands (Joe Toreno for Dance Teacher)
Congratulations, all! (Wanna get in on the comp next year? Click here for details.)
Gabriel Figueredo in a variation from Raymonda. VAM Productions, Courtesy YAGP.
This week, over 1,000 young hopefuls gathered in New York City for the Youth America Grand Prix finals, giving them the chance to compete for scholarships and contracts to some of the world's top ballet schools and companies. Roughly 85 dancers made it to the final round at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater on Wednesday. Today, the 20th anniversary of YAGP came to a close at the competition's awards ceremony. Read on to find out who won!
After a string of ballet-company rejections, Jennifer Sydor (here in Laura Peterson's "Failure") found success in other areas of the dance world. (Stephen Delas Heras, courtesy Jennifer Sydor)
In her senior year at Butler University, Jennifer Sydor auditioned for more than a dozen regional ballet companies—and got a string of "no, thank you" responses. "I have an athletic build, and my movement quality isn't the typical ballet aesthetic," Sydor says. "But I'd been laser-focused on ballet. When I didn't get a ballet contract, I was heartbroken."
Her one job offer came from Kim Robards Dance, a small modern company based in Aurora, CO. After attending KRD's summer intensive, Sydor ended up accepting a yearlong position with the troupe. "I was relieved and happy to begin my career," she says. She's been working as a contemporary dancer ever since.
In the dance world, rejection is part of the package. That doesn't make it any more pleasant. But whether you didn't get the Nutcracker role of your dreams or you weren't picked for a job despite feeling like you aced the audition, you can emerge from even the most gut-wrenching "no" smarter and stronger.
Ballet West principal Beckanne Sisk as Kitri (Luke Isley, courtesy Ballet West)
Guess who's baaaaack?! Your resident Dance Spirit astrologers! And on the eve of the Youth America Grand Prix awards ceremony, we thought it was the perfect time to pair each zodiac sign with a variation commonly seen during the competition. After many painstaking hours spent researching, consulting the stars, and staring wistfully into the sky, we compiled our data and present you with the definitive list of each star sign as a YAGP variation! As we said last time, don't @ us if you're not happy with your pairing—the stars don't lie, baby!