Judith Jamison raises her Douglas Watt Lifetime Achievement Award, during the recent Fred and Adele Astaire Awards ceremony in New York City. (Kevin Mason/Daily Challenge)
By Joan H. Allen, Associate Publisher, Daily Challenge
The Fred and Adele Astaire Awards, which honors outstanding dance and choreography on stage and screen, recently announced the 2016 winners and presented special awards on May 16, 2016 at a gala awards ceremony in New York. Shuffle Along topped the list with three awards.
Judith Jamison, artistic director emeritus of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT), was presented with the Douglas Watt Lifetime Achievement Award. Nigel Lythgoe, executive producer of So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD), received the award for Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Dance.
Broadway Director, Choreographer and Tony-nominated Actor Maurice Hines, who appeared off-Broadway this season in his show Tappin’ Through Life, was recognized with a special recognition award for Outstanding Body of Work in Dance. Dr. Joan Fallon, founder and CEO of Curemark, was presented with a special achievement award for her work in the field of autism related disorders.
Before accepting her award, Jamison told Inside New York that she was so excited to get this award, “because the Astaire Awards is the only award program that honors ‘dancers’ and I say that with a capital ‘D’… because, yes, we’re artists but, we were born dancers… dancers can move and lift people and take them to another world. It’s astonishing, wonderful and we get paid for it.”
Jamison said she was most excited to see Hines and McLaren, an Ailey dancer, who was doing an excerpt of Cry.”
Hines said it was an honor to be with all of his fellow dancers and “Carmen de Lavallade giving me the award for my body of work, I’m thrilled! And a Fred and Adele Astaire Award for dance, I’m thrilled. What more can you ask for? I love dance!”
Hines will also be taking his fabulous and critically acclaimed show, Tappin’ Thru Life on the road starting this fall. The Manzuri brothers, who will be performing with him on tour, told us before performing their special tribute that, “it’s a great privilege to honor him with ‘A Humble Tribute’ – only for Maurice.”
The 2016 Broadway and off-Broadway winners are: Jane Krakowski, She Loves Me (Best Female Dancer); Phillip Attmore, Shuffle Along (Best Male Dancer); Andy Blankenbuehler, Hamilton, Savion Glover, Shuffle Along, and Sergio Trujillo, On Your Feet (Best Choreographer, three-way tie); Shuffle Along (Outstanding Ensemble in a Broadway Show); Dave Scott, High Strung (Outstanding Choreography in Film); Rumi Oyama, Sayonara (Outstanding Female Dancer off-Broadway); Robert Creighton, Cagney (Outstanding Male Dancer off-Broadway); Connor Gallagher, The Robber Bridegroom and Paul McGill, The Legend Of Georgia McBride (Outstanding Choreography off-Broadway).
Established in 1982, The Fred and Adele Astaire Awards recognize outstanding achievement in dance on Broadway each season. This year, the awards program has been extended to Off-Broadway. The award was established with the cooperation of Fred Astaire to honor him and his sister, Adele, who starred with her brother in ten Broadway musicals between 1917 and 1931. The awards remain the gold standard for excellence in dance and choreography on Broadway.
The Fred and Adele Astaire Awards benefit The Douglas Watt Family Fund for the Performing Arts, which provide dance/movement therapy services to students in New York City District 75 public schools.