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Diavolo Dance Theatre Wins Four Lester Horton Awards

Dance * For the first time, the event is a stand-alone ceremony, celebrating achievement in both 1999, 2000.


Diavolo Dance Theatre was the big winner at the 10th annual Lester Horton Dance Awards on Sunday, taking home four gleaming trophies in a ceremony at the El Portal Center in North Hollywood. Next, with three awards each, came John Pennington (honored for restaging as well as dancing) and outgoing Dance Kaleidoscope producer Donald Hewitt.

Named after a locally-based modern dance pioneer and founded by the Dance Resource Center of Greater Los Angeles (a service organization for the community), the Hortons honor the excellence of Southland artists, technicians, teachers and others in the field. But a reorganization of the Center board and the awards themselves caused a one-year lapse in the awards process last spring.

So Sunday's black-tie event celebrated achievements for both 1999 and 2000. Moreover, for the first time the Hortons were presented as a stand-alone ceremony, rather than as an informal gathering preceding an unrelated performance. And with its multiple hosts and presenters, along with video clips of the nominees, the result evoked the glitter and high spirits of entertainment industry awards shows.

Choreographer Deborah Brockus said the new quasi-Hollywood image "lets people know we deserve respect," and choreographer Regina Klenjoski agreed, saying that not only were awards inspiring, but the social context provided opportunities for better networking. Some people felt that the large number of presenters continually being introduced took the emphasis off the awards and winners, but most of those surveyed agreed with veteran choreographer Rudy Perez that the changes represented a step forward.

The most emotional tributes on stage came when the much-loved dancer and teacher Gary Bates received a new award for service to the field--an award henceforth to be named after him--and when Southland dance matriarch Bella Lewitzky accepted a special award from the California Arts Council.

"This is my home. I come of you," Lewitzky said, sitting in a wheelchair at the back of the auditorium. "What I am, I am because you made me. So thank you."

The Winners:


1999: Francisco Martinez for "The Colorado," Francisco Martinez DanceTheatre

2000: Francisco Martinez for "Miniatures," Francisco Martinez DanceTheatre

Individual Performance (Western)

1999: Diana MacNeil, "The Beloved," American Repertory Dance Company

2000: (tie) John Pennington, "On the Brink of Time," American Repertory Dance Company; David Rousseve, "The Ten Year Chat," Reality

Individual Performance


1999: Parijat Desai, program at Highways

2000: Oguri, "Body Landscape 2000"

Company Performance (Western)

1999: Diavolo Dance Theatre, "Trajectoire"

2000: Jazz Tap Ensemble, "Tribute to the Nicholas Brothers"

Company Performance


1999: Silayan Dance Company, "M'ai Lost"

2000: Viver Brazil Dance Company, UniVerse Festival

Revival, Restaging or Reconstruction

1999: E.L. Thomas and John Pennington for Harald Kreutzberg's "Tanze vor Gott," American Repertory Dance Company

2000: (tie) John Pennington for Bella Lewitzky's "On the Brink of Time," American Repertory Dance Company; Claude Thompson and Keny Long for Thompson's "Killer Joe," Jazz Dance L.A. 2000

Production, Festival or Series

1999: No award (new for 2000)

2000: (tie) Dance Kaleidoscope and Grand Performances

Special Achievements

1999: Grand Performances

2000: No award (no longer included)

Field Service Award

1999: No award (new for 2000)

2000: Gary Bates

Music for Dance

1999: (tie) Michele Columbier for "Catapult," Diavolo Dance Theatre; I Nyomen Wenten for "Nusantara," Rhapsody in Taps

2000: Paul Des Marais for "Cuinass," Solo Festival 2000

Set Design

1999: (tie) Jeremy Railton for "Catapult," Diavolo Dance Theatre; Daniel Wheeler for "Trajectoire," Diavolo Dance Theatre

2000: (tie) Marco DeLeon for "Necessary Depravity," Michael Mizerany Dance; Amy Strong and B.J. Krivanek for "subVersions," Collage Dance Theatre

Lighting design

1999 and 2000: Eileen Cooley

Costume design (Western)

1999: Donna Dickens for "The Colorado," Francisco Martinez DanceTheatre

2000: (tie) Helga Grimsdottio for "subVersions" Collage Dance Theatre; Wes Stengel for "Temporal," Fast Feet

Costume design (Non-Western)

1999 and 2000: Jamal, Avaz International Dance Theatre

Sustained Achievement

1999: Donald Hewitt

2000: No award (no longer included)

Lifetime Achievement

1999: No award (new for 2000)

2000: Donald Hewitt


1999: Elizabeth Oberstein

2000: Stanley Holden

Board of Directors award

1999: No award

2000: Serena Tripi

Special Award by the California

Arts Council

Bella Lewitzky

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