For two days, dance lovers will stand up and cheer as the dance world honors some of its own at two events, the New York Dance and Performance Awards, better known as “The Bessies” (Oct. 15), where Souleymane Badolo will be honored as a recipient of the Juried Bessie Award; and “Stars of the 21st Century” (Oct. 18), where, among a cast of many “stars,” Alicia Graf Mack, Jamar Roberts and Desmond Richardson will be honored.

The 2012 ceremony for the Bessies will be held for the second year at the legendary Apollo Theater on Monday, Oct. 15. Established in 1983 by David White of Dance Theater Workshop (DTW), the mission of the Bessies has always been to “honor the treasured dancer and teacher Bessie Schonberg” and to “acknowledge outstanding creative work by independent artists in the fields of dance and related performance in New York City.”

In only its second year, the Juried Bessie Award, which goes to “an artist who the jury believes is investigating some of the more interesting and exciting ideas happening in dance in New York City,” will be presented to Souleymane Badolo. The selection panel is made up of Lar Lubovitch, Yvonne Rainer and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar.

As a recipient, Badolo will be able to tour his work to regional theaters in the coming year through this partnership with the Bessies. A dancer and choreographer, Badolo is a native of Burkina Faso who began his dance career at DAMA and founded his dance company, Kongo Ba Teria, in Burkina Faso in 1993. Known for his contemporary interpretations of traditional African dance, Badolo has toured throughout Africa, Europe and North America. He has presented works as part of DTW’s Studio Series, Harlem Stage’s E-Moves Series and Danspace. “I am so very honored and excited to be this year’s recipient of the Juried Bessie Award,” Badolo said.

The evening of the awards ceremony will be filled with anticipation of who else will receive a Bessie from a list of impressive nominees, including Jason Samuels Smith, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards and Omagbitse Omagbemi, and categories such as emerging choreographer, performer, sound design and outstanding production of a work that stretches the boundaries of a traditional or culturally specific form.

This event is truly a reunion of sorts for dancers and dance lovers. For more information, visit

The international list of luminaries who will be featured at the “Stars of the 21st Century” performance on Thursday, Oct. 18, at David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center include Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Alicia Graf Mack and Jamar Roberts; Bolshoi Ballet’s Svetlana Zakharova, Olga Smirnova and Semyon Chudin; Complexions Contemporary Ballet’s Desmond Richardson; the Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet’s Maria Shirinkina and Vladimir Shklyarov; National Opera and Ballet of Ukraine’s Katerina Chebykina and Denis Matvienko; the Royal Ballet’s Sarah Lamb and Erik Underwood; Staatsballett Berlin’s Elisa Cabrera, Nadijda Saidakova, Vladimir Malakhov and Mikhail Kaniskin; and the Vienna State Opera Ballet’s Olga Esina and Eno Peci.

Billed as an evening of new and extraordinary veteran dance talents from around the world, the event also promises the New York debuts of Ukraine’s Katerina Chebykina, the Mariinsky’s Maria Shirinkina, Vienna State Opera Ballet’s Olga Esina, plus the final New York performance of Staatsballett Berlin’s Vladimir Malakhov.

The show’s producer, Solomon Tencer, says, “For the discriminating New York audiences, our gala will present diamonds, rubies and emeralds, each and every dancer a fantastic jewel.”

For more information, call 212-496-0600 or visit