The 2023 Martha Hills Awards
On Monday February 27, 2023, 6pm
The Manhattan Penthouse
80 Fifth Avenue
New York City
we honored Diana Byer and Dianne McIntyre with
The Lifetime Achievement Award
Deborah Damast with
The Mid-Career Award
Danni Gee was our Guest Host
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The 2023 Awardees
Diana Byer is the founder and Artistic Director Emerita of New York Theatre Ballet and Director of New York Theatre Ballet School. She is a répétiteur for The Antony Tudor Trust, Director of Education for the Dance Notation Bureau, on the Board of Directors of the Clive and Valerie Barnes Foundation, an Education Ambassador for The New York Pops, and served on the Dance Portal Advisory Board of The Children’s Museum of Manhattan and the Bessie Awards Selection Committee. She has staged the ballets of Antony Tudor for American Ballet Theatre and The Hartt School and the ballets of Agnes deMille for the Alabama Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. She coached the principals for the Columbia Pictures film, Center Stage. Ms. Byer was selected by Good Housekeeping Magazine as the 2018 Humanitarian Hero. She was a long-time pupil and colleague of Margaret Craske, who was Director of Ballet Instruction at New York Theatre Ballet School until her retirement.
Ms. Byer will be presented by Linda Murray, Curator of The Jerome Robbins Dance Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
Choreographer Dianne McIntyre is a Guggenheim Fellow, a Doris Duke Artist awardee and a three-time “Bessie” Award winner whose work is rooted in research and explores the intersection of history, culture, personal narrative and the human experience. Her five-decade career encompasses Broadway, television and film, commissions for Dance Theatre of Harlem and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and projects for her own company, Sounds in Motion, such as the adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. She had a longtime collaboration with the late playwright and poet Ntozake Shange, creator of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf. McIntyre choreographed the 1998 film Beloved, based on the novel by Toni Morrison. Ms. McIntyre will be presented by Cheryl Banks-Smith, Professor of Dance at Pasadena City College.
Deborah Damast (BFA Dance: Purchase, MA Dance Education: NYU) is Program Director and Associate Professor of Dance Education at NYU Steinhardt where in addition to leadership and teaching, she is Artistic Director of concerts, Kaleidoscope Dancers, and the Uganda study abroad program. She is Past President of the New York State Dance Education Association, and also teaches for LREI, DEL, and serves on the boards of Dance Education in Practice, Peridance Company and as an advisor to Misty Copeland’s BE BOLD program. She has presented choreography, workshops and master classes at numerous conferences, colleges, and festivals. She has written curriculum for NYC DOE, Peridance, Paul Taylor, DEL, Carnegie Hall and NYCB, and her choreography has been shown at over 100 venues in NYC, nationally and internationally in Japan, Uganda, Korea, Italy, and Canada. In NYC her work has been presented at Ailey Citigroup, Peridance, Riverside Church, 92Y, Judson Church, and many others. Deborah is a recipient of the NDEO Outstanding Educator award (Higher Ed) and the Dance Teacher Magazine Award. Deborah is deeply inspired by the work and legacy of Martha Hill and aims to continue building the NYU Dance Education Program toward the future with the solid foundations of our history.
Ms. Damast will be presented by Joan Finkelstein, Executive Director of The Harkness Foundation for Dance.
Danni Gee has over 35 years of experience in the Arts and Entertainment industry. She has toured as a principal dancer with the Philadelphia Dance Company and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. As a vocalist, she has performed with artists such as Kathy Sledge, Gloria Gaynor, and Cher and with her own indie rock band, Suga Bush, with Danni as the lead singer and songwriter. Returning to her dance roots, Danni accepted the position of Dance Curator for CityParks SummerStage in 2006, New York’s largest, free outdoor arts festival. In April 2020, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Danni created the weekly Instagram series, dannIGeeLive, where she livestreams interviews with artists from all disciplines and genres. She has also hosted several panels, talkbacks, and Galas for several organizations. In July of 2022, Danni accepted the position of Director of Programming at the world renowned Joyce Theater in Chelsea, NYC.
John and Jody Arnhold
Diana Byer NYU/Steinhardt
Ernesta Corvino Mercedes Ellington Allen Maniker
Elizabeth Gerring Radke Vernon Scott
Neil Baldwin Miriam Roskin Berger Earl Black Andra Corvino
Joan Finkelstein Kathleen Harty Gray Paula Jarowski Daniel Lewis
Elizabeth McPherson Catherine O'Hara Miki Orihara Stephen Pier
Jeanne Ruddy Sheldon Schwartz Janet Mansfield Soares
Gail Spangenberg Ani Udovicki Charmaiine Warren
Sponsors for Students
Carolyn Adams Sir Richard Alston Roberta Plutzik Baldwin
Don & Tzipora Brandt Sylvia Yamada Brown Laurie Cameron Patricia Cohen
Ernesta Corvino Paul Dennis Linda Diamond Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
Carol Egan John & Agnes Ehrnst Josie Haskin Jenny Heinz Gerrie Houlihan
Virginia Johnson William Kiley Patricia Knowles Susan Lamberg Heidi Latsky
Gary Masters Jim May Mary McLarnon Claudine Naganuma Barrie Raffel
Sir Richard Alston
Ronald K. Brown
Robert La Fosse
Alicia Graf Mack