I Spent Monday evening at The Kennedy Center for the 9th Annual Metro DC Dance Awards and it was wonderful to be surrounded by so many talented local artists.
The evening started with the DC Cowboys Dance Company, with whom I was not previously familiar with. However when the curtain rose with 21 demin clad cowboys in cut off rhinestoned shirts, I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. A fun way to get the evening started and definitely a crowd pleaser. The cowboys made various cameos throughout the evening escorting presenters and nominees to and from stage.
The show moved smoothly with the help of emcee “Martha Graham,” ( NY-based female impersonator Richard Move.) Everyone was able to brush up on their dance history with her acacdotes and legendary stories.
I was impressed with the variety of dance performed. Although I was expecting the pieces to be modern heavy, there was a little bit of everything. Furia Flamenca entertained with live music and vocals accompanying the crisp rhythms of the dancers. As a pleasant surprise, Estela Velez won the award for excellence in costume design immediately following the performance and Ms. Velez gave one of the most memorable speeches of the evening thanking her mother for her assistance and even using her own wedding dress to embellish the costumes.
My favorite piece of the evening was performed by Joy of Motion Dance Center’s Youth Dance Ensemble. This trio of young girls were advanced beyond their years in terms of fluidity and resiliency. Even more impressive however was the fact it was choreographed by one of the dancers, Alexandra May Ballance. Miss Ballance showed choreographic excellence and understanding with her use of space and composition.
Virginia Johnson the locally-trained dancer and magazine editor, received the the Pola Nirenska Award for lifetime achievement in dance. Her passion of the arts was revelent in her speech where she stressed the importance of bring dance to people who would not otherwise introduced to the art form.
Overall it was a lovely night at the Kennedy Center to honor the area’s most talented dancers and I encourage everyone to attend next year as they celebrate theor 10th year anniversary.