WORLD CHOREOGRAPHY AWARDS 2017
This was the best World Choreography Awards I’ve ever been to! (It was their seventh one, but the third for me, since 2014; I, sadly, missed last year’s show because I was in New York. I was supposed to be there now, too, but I’m glad I wasn’t so I could witness this spectacular show in LA!) I feel bad for anyone who missed it, especially the krump-dancing Mr. X, who would have known a good portion of the other guests. But there’s always next year, and since this show gets better each time, now we all have something to look forward to!
First of all, shout-out to me, for heavily suggesting that they change their name to World Choreography Awards from World Dance Awards! The first time I attended the show, three years ago, I knew right away that it was mis-named, and not only wrote about it, but also bugged the publicity guy so much that he said they would change it, which I sooo appreciate! So ever since then, I swell with pride when I see the marquee. (If you’re curious, here’s my review of that 2014 show, where I said they need to change the name, and so much more about the dance world : itsnotaboutme.tv/news/danceawards-show-world-dance-awards-2014.) [Note: Here’s some breaking news—next year, the name will be simply “Choreo Awards,” which I’m thrilled about because it’s less to type!!!]
Okay, enough about me; let’s get to this marvelous show! I love that Allen Walls created an awards show for my favorite art form, which I always feel is under-appreciated. As I always say (and write,) to me, dancers have the hardest road of all performers, because it takes not just talent, but the most arduous and dedicated work, to get anywhere in the biz. And then they rarely become stars, as singers and actors do, (often with not much talent at all, actually.) And choreographers have the most demanding and challenging task of any artists because creating original, beautiful, clever, and/or heartwarming dances, especially ones that dancers are actually capable of doing, is so difficult. As someone who used to choreograph in high school and college, (not very well, I must admit,) I feel for them. And I admire all of their creations, especially those of the nominated choreographers that we saw at this show.
But before we even get to the actual awards presentations, I have to tell you about the whole night. This year, the show took place in the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills, which has the perfect lobby for mingling; it’s so spacious. And I love that dancers really dress-up for special events such as this. Just about everyone looked fabulous! If I had just wandered into the theatre, not knowing the occasion, I would have pegged this group for the dance world right away!
The pre-show packed-house mingling went on for over an hour and a half, which, in this case, was a good thing! We were all having such a good time, no one wanted to sit down yet. As a major dance fan, I was thrilled to spy so many in this world of whom I’m a fan. I especially loved seeing Vincent Rodriguez III and Pete Gardner from the hit TV show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, made-for-each-other So You Think You Can Dance couple, Twitch and Allison Holker, Oscar-winning choreographer Mandy Moore, and especially my pal, George Chakiris, who won an Oscar for West Side Story, and with whom I hung-out for most of the intermission. (And then they mentioned him in a bit in the second half! It was a nice little surprise.)
The World Choreography Awards is the smoothest-run awards show I’ve ever been to. (And I’ve been to them all, except for the Oscars.) It moves along, with not too many superfluous bits, and has the perfect mix of awards-giving, very short acceptance speeches (because they’re all movers, not talkers—duh!,) dance numbers, videos, humor, and pathos. And the most appreciative audience I’ve ever seen!!! This community loves and supports each other possibly more than any other. It’s a real pleasure to witness.
And the host, Kenny Wormald, was the best one yet! I wasn’t familiar with him, (except for the knowledge that he played the Kevin Bacon role in the Footloose re-make a few years ago,) but I was very impressed with his witty, charming, perfectly-paced turn at the helm of this show.
It was all wonderful, but there were several highlights for me: a performance by the group Kinjaz, with whom I got familiar on World of Dance; Jody Sperling’s absolutely stunning, jaw-dropping, brilliant solo, which I can’t even describe to you!; and a group number choreographed by Tessandra Chavez which received a standing ovation.
But perhaps the biggest highlight, (and most fun part of the show,) was the presentation of the Joe Tremaine Legacy Award to longtime dancer and choreographer, the beautiful Anita Mann. That segment included an upbeat dance number, which was choreographed, and narrated, by Oscar-winning choreographer, Mandy Moore. And then a bunch of Anita’s former dancers were featured on-stage, including Darcel Wynne, who was an original Solid Gold dancer, a fact that the assemblage seemed to go nuts over.
And all that was just the first half of the show!!! OMG!
The second act began with the most beautiful Missing You Tribute I’ve ever seen. It was low-key, and accompanied by a performance by Le Petit Cirque, the young person branch of Cirque du Soleil, of whom I became a fan a few weeks ago. (You can read about that event here: itsnotaboutme.tv/news/televisionmusicdancesportscharity-jump-jive-and-thrive.)
The entire show wrapped-up on a very high note—a major hip-hop dance number by a whole passel of amazing dancers from Cantinas Arts and The Groovaloos, most notable of which was Steven “Boogieman” Stanton from the latter group, which was founded by Bradley Rapier many years ago. Steven was shot in the back over a decade ago, and had a long recovery, but I couldn’t even tell if he still needs the cane he was using this time or if it’s just a prop now! That’s how good he is!
I missed them having a dance after-party that some of the other World Choreography Awards evenings featured, but everyone was so dressed-up that it might have been hard for them to bust a move without busting a seam! But people stayed in the lobby for quite awhile, congratulating each other and taking selfies. I had to rush home, though—to start getting ready for next year’s event!!!
For a list of the nominees and winners, and to get all the info for next year, so you don’t miss-out again, (because this show is open to the public-yay!,) just click here: www.worldchoreographyawards.com.