Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Gotta Dance! The 2010 Astaire Award Winners

It is so easy to get swept up in Tony-mania this time of year.  But there are some terrific awards given out each year that don't nearly get enough recognition.  One of those is the Astaire Awards, given for outstanding dancing and choreography on Broadway and on film.

Named for Fred and Adele Astaire, the brother-sister dance team that starred on Broadway in 10 musicals from 1917 - 1931.  Fred, of course, went on to considerable acclaim in film with dance partner Ginger Rogers.

This year marked the 28th annual presentation of the awards.  The honorees are:

Best Male Dancer:  Charlie Neshyba-Hodges (Come Fly Away)

Best Female Dancer: Nicole Chantal de Weever and the Fela! Female Ensemble (Hettie Vyrine Barnhill, Lauren de Veaux, Elasea Douglas, Rujeko Dumbutshena, Catherine Foster, Shaneeka Harrell, Chanon Judson, Shakira Marshall, Afi McClendon, Jill Vallery, Iris Wilson, Aimee Graham Wodobode) (Fela!)

Best Choreographer: Bill T. Jones (Fela!)

Among the other stage nominees were the male ensemble of Memphis, John Selya and Keith Roberts, Neshyba-Hodges' Come Fly Away co-stars.  Other female nominees included Karine Plantadit, Laura Mead and Holley Farmer, all of Come Fly Away, and Savannah Wise for her work in Ragtime.  Jones bested fellow nominees: Twyla Tharp (Come Fly Away), Sergio Trujillo (Memphis), Marcia Milgrom Dodge (Ragtime) and Steven Hoggett (American Idiot).

In the film categories, honorees were:

Best Choreographer (Fictional Film):  Marguerite Derricks for Fame
Best Direction (Documentary Film):  Adam Del Deo and James D. Stern for Every Little Step

Derricks has choreographed on Broadway; her work on film was chosen over that of Rob Marshall (Nine).

Several months ago, I reviewed Every Little Step, which you can see here.  The film tells the story of the making of the original stage show A Chorus Line, as well as the most recent Broadway revival.  If you haven't seen this film yet, it is definitely important and a very good, balanced nicely between the backstage drama and the workings of New York shows.

Congratulations to all of the honorees and nominees!  Having seen most of these performances, I can't imagine a tighter competition.

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