You Make Me Compete

The A.W.A.R.D. Show! challenges 12 Philly choreographers to outshine their colleagues.

by Lauren F. Friedman for City Paper
Published: Sep 9, 2009

“Hey, what do you guys think of this blood?”

Zornitsa Stoyanova, a Philadelphia-based choreographer who directs the feverishly experimental Here[begin] Dance Co., is soliciting feedback from four already-sweaty dancers for her newest, goriest and most theatrical work to date. Late on a Wednesday night, in a quiet corner of South Kensington, the unpaid dancers prepare to run through the 15-minute piece just one more time. The fake blood — and everything else — has to be just right because the stakes are unusually high.

Side by Side is Stoyanova’s entry into The A.W.A.R.D. Show! 2009, a dance competition in this year’s Live Arts Festival that has sparked both controversy and excitement in Philadelphia’s tight-knit dance community. Twelve choreographers will present short pieces, the audience members will vote for their favorites and a moderator will lead everyone in a post-show discussion. The grand prize — underwritten by Boeing — is $10,000 to develop a new work. Two finalists will take home $1,000 each.

“I have very mixed feelings about The A.W.A.R.D. Show!,” says Stoyanova. “It’s such a great idea to get non-dance audiences interested in dance — but I also think it’s kind of wrong.”

Stoyanova is not alone in her ambivalence about the value of inviting audiences to vote on what will almost surely be nuance and complex contemporary dance works.
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Full article you are read at City Paper’s web site.

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