The Concert Hall
Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Washington, DC, USA
Monday, January 10, 2005
© 2005 by George Jackson
Dance did well at the 20th annual mayoral arts awards for "the
District." Three of the eight top awards went to dance and more than
half the evening's entertainment was by dancers.
The mayor of Washington, the Honorable Anthony A. Williams, had come down
with a bad cold and "been tucked into bed" by his mother. It
was she who stood in for him and did so imperially, outfitted in a red
greatcoat. The first award, for Excellence in an Artistic Discipline,
was given twice. Modern dancer Dana Tai Soon Burgess and Washington Ballet
were the recipients. Mr. Burgess, wearing an elegant blue silk shirt-jacket
from the Far East, and Septime Webre, artistic director of Washington
Ballet, in a preppy jacket and blue jeans, contrasted in manner as well
as clothing. Mr. Burgess appeared pleased yet reserved; Mr. Webre bounded
onto the stage and was a node of energy.
The award for Outstanding Emerging Artist went to Nejla Y. Yatkin, modern
dancer. The exotic Ms. Yatkin, who can stand in for the bust of Queen
Nefertiti, was dancing in another city and so her professor husband received
the honor for her.
The first performance was by four scantily clad chorus girls from the
DC Caribbean Carnival Dancers. They shook strategically placed fringes
and stalked on very high heels. Flamenco artist Anna Menendez followed.
A tight green gown gave her torso a composure against which her arms and
legs rebelled. DC Youth Ensemble combined African rhythms and military
marching in a punchy manner. The Culkin Irish Dancers melded tapping and
ballet into footwork that was like fine lace. The last dance number was
the Balcony pas de deux from Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet",
a MacMillanish mixture of yearning, catching, lifting and carrying; Runqiao
Du and Michele Jimenez rendered Mr. Webre's choreography seamlessly. She
looked a bit plump in her nightgown, yet deliciously pliant.
Highlights from the other arts included a reading to guitar accompaniment
by Dolores Kendrick, DC Poet Laureate and remarks about the necessity
of the arts by Leonard Slatkin, conductor of the National Symphony and
recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. There was lots of pop music
too, noise to my ears.
3, No. 3
January 19, 2005
©2005 by George Jackson
Sali Ann Kriegsman
Alexandra Tomalonis (Editor)
Kathrine Sorley Walker
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