The 2017 Martha Hill Awards

On Monday November 20th at 6pm, the Martha Hill Awards Gala was once again held at the Manhattan Penthouse in New York City. This year the Lifetime Achievement Award recipients were Norton Owen and Alice Teirstein; and the 2017 Mid-Career Award recipients were Robert Garland and Denise Roberts Hurlin. 

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Norton Owen has been associated with Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival since 1976 and has been Director of Preservation since 1990. He is a key member of the team that produces Virtual Pillow, an online engagement effort that reaches audiences worldwide. Previous awards received are from Dance Films Association, Dance USA and the José Limón Dance Foundation.

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Alice Teirstein, MA ,has been choreographing, performing, and teaching dance in New York since the early 1970's. She is Founding Director of Young Dancemakers Company, a tuition-free company of NYC teens, now entering its 23rd season, presenting free touring concerts of original student choreography throughout NYC. Ms Teirstein designed and directed the dance curriculum for grades 7-12 at the Fieldston School, where she served on the faculty for over 30 years. She initiated the dance program's Dance Out Project, bringing her students into the city's homeless shelters, leading dance workshops for which she received an award from the City of NewYork Human Resources Administration. She designed and led the decade-long Fieldston Summer Performing Arts Institute. in the1980's. Her awards include a 2012 "Bessie" and 2015 Lifetime Achievement Awards from the NY State Dance Education Association and from the American Dance Guild.

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Robert Garland was a principal dancer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem, and is now Resident Choreographer. He has created works for the Dance Theatre of Harlem Company, and their School Ensemble. He has also choreographed for New York City Ballet, The Royal Ballet, and Oakland Ballet, among many others. After creating a work for the Dance Theatre of Harlem School Ensemble, Arthur Mitchell invited Robert Garland to create a work for The Dance Theatre of Harlem Company. Upon his retirement from the stage, he was appointed by Arthur Mitchell and became the organization’s first Resident Choreographer. His commercial work has included music videos, commercials and short films, including the children’s television show Sesame Street, a Nike commercial featuring New York Yankee Derek Jeter, the NAACP Image Awards, a short film for designer Donna Karan, and the “Charmin Cha-Cha” for Proctor and Gamble.

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Denise Roberts Hurlin graduated from the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College with a BFA in Dance. As a dancer, she was a founding member of Parsons Dance and performed for six years with the Paul Taylor Dance Company where she danced many lead roles. In 1991, she and Hernando Cortez co-founded Dancers Responding to AIDS. She continues to lead the program's efforts to provide a safety net for the dance community. She is also an inaugural member of the advisory council for The Dancers’ Resource, a program of The Actors Fund founded by Bebe Neuwirth.

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Norton Owen and Deborah Jowitt

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Alice Teirstein and Students

Denise Roberts Hurlin with Jodi Melnick and Megan Williams

Gala Photos by Scott Fetterman