Top Awards Center on Edgeworks
Thursday, September 13, 2007
The local dance community honored its own Monday night at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater with the seventh annual Metro D.C. Dance Awards. Fourteen awards spotlighted achievement in categories from choreography and performance to technical assistance and service to the field.
The star of the evening was choreographer Helanius J. Wilkins and his company, Edgeworks Dance Theater. Wilkins's hard-hitting piece on racial issues, "Cold Case," netted outstanding new work, and his troupe's performance of it was named the outstanding group performance. Cheles Rhynes won the award for excellence in lighting design for the same piece. Wilkins and Larry Robertson performed an excerpt from "Cold Case," titled "Crap Shoot: Assumptions vs. Truth," in which a voice-over lamenting the link between closeted homosexuality and AIDS in the black community accompanied anguished dancing.
Gesel Mason won both outstanding individual performance and outstanding overall production at a small venue for her solo concert "No Boundaries: Dancing the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers." Dana Tai Soon Burgess won the award for outstanding overall production at a large venue for his "Images From the Embers."
Fabian Barnes and Yvonne Edwards received the Pola Nirenska Award for special achievements in dance. Edwards was honored for her tireless commitment to teaching and nurturing the tap community, and Barnes for his leadership in creating the Dance Institute of Washington.
Other winners included Alvin Mayes for outstanding achievement in dance education, Lesole Z. Maine for emerging choreographer and Arachne Aerial Arts for emerging performer or group.
The evening was punctuated with a colorful performance by the Silk Road Dance Company and a darker work by the Joy of Motion Youth Dance Ensemble Senior Company. Nejla Y. Yatkin wowed the audience with a breathtaking solo performed with billowing yards of red silk. The evening culminated on a high note with a hip-hop dance performance by Culture Shock Washington, a troupe of more than two dozen young people.