The 2019 Martha Hill Awards

On Monday November 25th 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 Carolyn Adams, Stuart Hodes and Betty Jones; and the 2019 Mid-Career Award recipients were Sean Curran and Nigel Campbell & Chanel DaSilva.

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Carolyn Adams was born in New York City on August 16th, 1943.  She received her BA degree from Sarah Lawrence College in 1965 and her MSW in 2006 from  Fordham University.  She spent her college junior year in France, studying at the Sorbonne and at La Schola Contorum where she joined Les Ballets Contemporains, directed by Karin Waehner (a student of Mary Wigman). She auditioned for Paul Taylor in January of her senior year and joined the company in September of 1965. During her 17- year tenure, she created roles in such Taylor masterpieces as Esplanade, Airs, Cloven Kingdom and Big Bertha, and distinguished herself in Taylor’s classic Aureole.

     In 1970, she, her sister, Julie Adams Strandberg and their parents, Julius and Olive (Arnold) Adams, established the Harlem Dance Foundation and the Central Harlem Brownstone Committee, creating a neighborhood studio and providing a center for community activism and the preservation of historic houses. They were instrumental   in securing landmark status for the Mt. Morris Park Historic District. After leaving the Taylor stage in 1982, Carolyn remained close to Mr. Taylor, his company and school and was frequently dispatched as his representative at public events and ceremonies. In 1982 she was invited by Martha Hill to join the faculty at the Juilliard School where she taught Taylor technique and repertory for 26 years. In 1989 she became founding artistic director of the New York State Summer School of the Arts School of Dance, a summer intensive for teens from New York State, now celebrating its 30th anniversary.

     As an educator and advocate for the field, she served on the Board of Dance/USA, chairing its National Task Force on Dance Education. She has served on panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts and served on the Boards of Sarah Lawrence College, Dance Theater Workshop, Parsons Dance and currently, the Paul Taylor Dance Foundation. She was a founding member of the Martha Hill Foundation. She served as education director at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival from 1991-1993.

     In 1998 she and her sister, Julie created the American Dance Legacy Initiative (ADLI) to develop programs such as the Repertory Etudes Project that address the importance of access, education and preservation as 3 essential elements in a healthy, sustainable art form. In addition, ADLI has produced documentaries on Donald McKayle, Mary Anthony, Daniel Nagrin, Anna Sokolow, Sophie Maslow and Jean Leon Destine.  In 2005 they curated an exhibition on the New Dance Group at the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, NY as the group was inducted into the Hall of Fame. That same year, as part of her master’s studies, she created a dance curriculum guide for teachers of children with autism. Carolyn has received many awards including the Balasaraswati/Joy Ann Beineke Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching in 2009 and the 2016 Dance Magazine Award.

     In 2011, Carolyn was invited by her former Juilliard student, now colleague and close friend, Robert Battle, to join the faculty of the Alvin Ailey School where she also advises the sophomore Ailey/Fordham BFA students.

     Carolyn is married to former Paul Taylor dancer, Robert Kahn. They have 2 children, Sandra and Vitali and a grandson, Sandra’s child, Gunnar.

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Stuart Hodes (born 1924) is an American dancer, choreographer, dance teacher, dance administrator and author. A WWII veteran, he served in the Army Air Corps. He was Martha Graham’s partner, danced on Broadway, in TV, film, in recitals, and with his own troupe. His choreography has appeared on the Boston Ballet, Dallas Ballet, Harkness Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and other troupes. He taught at the Martha Graham School, Neighborhood Playhouse, NYC High School of Performing Arts, headed dance at NYU School of the Arts and Borough of Manhattan Community College. He was Dance Associate for the NY State Council on the Arts, dance panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, president of the National   Association of Schools of Dance, and a member of the First American Dance Study Team to China in 1980, returning in 1992 to teach the Guangzhou modern dance troupe. He is the author of Part Dream-Part Real: Dancing with Martha Graham.

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Betty Jones, world renowned as a Principal Dancer of the José Limón Dance Company received singular acclaim in her role as Desdemona in Limón's The Moor's Pavane on stage and in film/television venues. On stage she performed the role opposite Limón's Moor for President Johnson and the King of Morocco at the White House, and for Prince Sihanouk of Cambodia. In her career spanning sixty years as a performing dance artist, she followed her vision of exchanging and communicating art experiences with audiences of diverse cultural backgrounds around the globe, enriching peoples' lives with the magic of dance in the context of art promoting human understanding.

     Born in Meadville, PA, Jones entered the dance world as a scholarship student at the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, and was tutored by dance luminaries Alicia Markova and Ted Shawn. In New York City she studied dance and singing, and was engaged as a captain in the US Armed Forces, where she served throughout the Pacific during WWII in the capacity as a USO dancer/singer in Agnes de Mille's Oklahoma. In 1947 Jones joined the original José Limón Dance Company as a founding member, and for twenty-three years helped create a legacy of roles in the Limón/Humphrey repertory that made history. Between 1954 and 1963, as a principal dancer with the company, and under the aegis of the US State Department, she represented the US on four international tours to Europe, Yugoslavia, Poland, South America, Australia and the Far East. In a directorial capacity she assisted Mr. Limón in significant cultural projects at Mexico City's

Academia de Bellas Artes. When the American Dance Theatre at Lincoln Center's New York State Theater created the nation's first major Contemporary Repertory Dance Theater, Jones was invited to join as a principal dancer. The following season, during the telecast An Hour with José Limón, commissioned by the National Educational Television Network, she was seen nationwide performing her signature roles in Limon's Missa Brevis and The Moor's Pavane.

     As an educator Jones was instrumental in training the next generations of talent at The Juilliard School. For four decades she taught at the American Dance Festival and its global Linkage Program in Japan, Korea, India, Indonesia and Russia. In 2001 ADF honored Jones with its Balasaraswati/Jo Ann Dewey Beinecke Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching. The dedication read: "Linked to the very heart and soul and history of the American Dance Festival, legendary teacher and performer Betty Jones has been part of the ADF family since 1948. A founding member of the José Limón Dance Company and creator of many roles, her performances were infused with a lyricism, dramatic intensity, and delicacy unmatched. Her extraordinary gifts as a teacher have touched legions of dancers across the globe. An ever-present force in modern dance, Betty Jones is our treasure."

     With her own Dances We Dance Company Jones infused the dance scene in American modern dance nation-wide and abroad, and toured extensively under the NEA's "Dance Touring Program" and its "Artists-in-the-Schools" dance component. At her Jones-Ludin Dance Center in Honolulu, she and her husband Fritz Ludin were catalysts in presenting dance companies of all cultural and ethnic backgrounds.With the support of prestigious foundation grants, Jones commissioned works in bridging east and west, and was instrumental in reviving past masterworks.

     Betty Jones is the recipient of the Susan E. Brackett Distinguished Visiting Artist Chair from the University of Oklahoma and the Medal of Chevalier from Prince Sihanouk of Cambodia. She received an Award of Excellence from the city of Honolulu's Commission on Culture and the Arts, and the Hawaiian Senate and House of Representatives honored her for her cultural contribution to the State of Hawaii. Jones received an Honorary Doctorate from the Federation Française de Danse, Paris and was honored to direct the "Limon Hommage" for the 2002 Biennale de Lyon, with France's National Ballet de Lorraine. The ADF Linkage selected Jones to stage the first American modern dance work on a major Russian ballet company at the Maly Opera House in Leningrad, and to work in China with its first modern company, the Guangdong Modern Dance Company.

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Seán Curran's career as a performer, choreographer, and director spans 30 years, beginning with traditional Irish step dancing as a child in Boston. Curran is known for his early performance work with Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, receiving a “Bessie” award for his role in Secret Pastures, and as an original New York City cast  member of STOMP! His 30 works for Seán Curran Company are characterized by collaborations across artistic genres. Founded in 1997, the company has toured to nearly 100 venues in the U.S., Europe and Asia and has presented home seasons in New York City as part of the Brooklyn Academy of Music 2015 and 2018 Next Wave Festivals and at The Joyce Theater, The Guggenheim Museum, Dance Theater Workshop, New Victory Theater, 92nd Street Y/Harkness Dance Project, Danspace Project, Symphony Space, Central Park Summerstage and Celebrate Brooklyn.

     The company’s highly regarded service to the field includes donation of performances and classes to the American Civil Liberties Union NYC Chapter, Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Residence (a safe house for LGBTQ youth), Dancers Responding to AIDS and the Hetrick-Martin Institute. Artistic excellence has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, National Dance Project; New Music USA, O’Donnell-Green Music and Dance Foundation, Harkness Foundation for Dance, New York State Council on the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, and several private foundations. Irish American Magazine selected Curran as one of its "Top 100”

A graduate and faculty member of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, Curran now serves as Arts Professor and Chair of the Department of Dance. He has over 25 years of teaching experience in modern technique, improvisation, body percussion and composition as a visiting artist at the American Dance Festival, Harvard Summer Dance Center, Bates Dance Festival, Boston's Conservatory of Music, and countless U.S. university dance departments and private studios.

     A sought-after choreographer and director for opera and theatre, notable projects for Curran include Salome (Opera Theatre of St. Louis, San Francisco Opera, Opera Montreal, San Diego Opera); Much Ado About Nothing and A Midsummer Night's Dream for The Shakespeare Theater; Shalimar the Clown, Ariadne on Naxos, Nixon in China, and Daughter of the Regiment at Opera Theater of St. Louis; NYC Opera productions of L'Etoile, Alcina, Turandot, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Capriccio, and Acis and Galetea; Shakespeare in the Park's As You Like It; the Metropolitan Opera's Romeo and Juliette; and Broadway’s James Joyce's The Dead, Cymbeline, and The Rivals at Lincoln Center Theater. Curran has created dance works for The Wooden Floor, The Limon Dance Company, Trinity Irish Dance Company, ABT II, Denmark's Upper Cut Company, Sweden's Skänes Dance Theater, Irish Modern Dance Theatre, Ririe Woodbury Dance Theater, and Dance Alloy.

in 2002 and served as Grand Marshal in NYC’s St. Pat’s for All parade in 2019. 

     

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Nigel Campbell was born and raised in The Bronx, New York. He began his training at Creative Outlet Dance Theater and is a graduate of LaGuardia Arts High School, and of The Juilliard School, under the direction of Lawrence Rhodes. He has received additional training from Springboard Danse Montreal, The School at Jacob’s Pillow, The Miami City Ballet School, The Alvin Ailey School and Dance Theater of Harlem. While still at Juilliard, Nigel joined the Metropolitan Opera Ballet as a soloist   for their production of Aida. Since graduation Nigel has danced for the  Saarlandisches Staatstheater under the direction of Marguerite Donlon, Luna Negra Dance Theater under the direction of Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, the GöteborgsOperans Danskompani under the direction of Adolphe Binder, Kyle Abraham's A.I.M, and he is currently Co-Director of Gibney Dance Company (GDC) in New York City after spending two years as a dancer and Artistic Associate. In 2015,Nigel co-founded MOVE(NYC) with his partner Chanel DaSilva with the mission of cultivating greater diversity and equity in the dance field. He is adjunct faculty at The Juilliard School, teaching “Essentials of Entrepreneurship in the Arts” for dancers and adjunct faculty at S.U.N.Y. Purchase Conservatory of Dance teaching contemporary. A sought after master teacher and répétiteur, Nigel has set dances and given workshops throughout the United States and abroad at The Juilliard School, Fordham/Ailey B.F.A., Princeton University, Ballet Hispanico, Springboard Danse Montreal, Yale University, The Ballett Akademien Göteborg, No)one. Art House, MUDA Africa, & LaGuardia Arts HS among many others. Nigel has been the recipient of  numerous awards and honors including a 2019 Martha Hill Mid-Career Award, a 2011 Princess Grace Award, a National Young Arts Level 1 Award and a NAACP ACT-SO Gold Medal. He is a 2004 Presidential Scholar in the Arts and at age 17 was featured in the National PBS documentary American Talent. He resides in New York City.

 

Chanel DaSilva a native of Brooklyn, NY, fell in love with dance at the age of three. She studied at The Bernice Johnson Cultural Arts Center and also studied at Creative Outlet Dance Theater of Brooklyn. Her training continued at LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts, The Ailey School, and Springboard Danse Montreal. She received a BFA in Dance from The Juilliard School and was the recipient of the prestigious Martha Hill Award. Chanel has performed works by Ohad Naharin, Doug Varone, José Limón, Jessica Lang, Alvin Ailey, Robert Battle, Camille Brown, and Lar Lubovitch. She is a 2004 Level 1 Young Arts Winner, a 2004 Presidential Scholar in the Arts and also a 2011 Princess Grace Dance Awardee. She was also featured in the 2004 PBS Documentary American Talent. From 2008 – 2014 Chanel was a founding member of the highly celebrated Trey McIntyre Project where she was a muse for many of Mr. McIntyre’s works. She graced the cover of DANCE MAGAZINE in 2011 and as a part of Brooklyn Academy of Music's "Dance Motion USA" Chanel toured throughout Asia with TMP as an ambassador to the United States. Chanel has taught master workshops and seminars across the nation for institutions such as The Juilliard School, Harvard University, LaGuardia Arts High School, Ballet Hispanico, and New Orleans Ballet Association. As a choreographer she has been commissioned to create works for Harvard Dance Project, Ariel Rivka Dance, and Gibney Dance Company (GDC). In 2019 Chanel received a IRNE nomination for Best Choreography for "The Black Clown" which premiered at American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA. She is the recipient of a 2019 Mid-Career Award from the Martha Hill Dance Fund. Chanel is a notable repetiteur of the works of Trey McIntyre, and also currently serves on the dance faculty at her alma mater, LaGuardia Arts High School. In 2015, alongside her partner Nigel Campbell, Chanel co-founded MOVE(NYC). She resides in Brooklyn, NY.

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Jeanne Ruddy, Carolyn Adams, Robert Kahn

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Vernon Scott, Stuart Hodes, Naomi Goldberg Haas

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Sean Curran and Madeleine Nichols

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Nigel Campbell and Chanel DaSilva

Gala Photos by Steven Speliotis and Reiko Yanagi