About The Bessies

Produced in partnership with Dance/NYC, the NY Dance and Performance Awards, The Bessies have saluted outstanding and groundbreaking creative work by independent dance artists in NYC for 33 years. Known as “The Bessie” in honor of revered dance teacher Bessie Schönberg, the awards were established in 1983 by David White at Dance Theater Workshop. They recognize exceptional work in choreography, performance, music composition and visual design.

A Selection Committee comprised of artists, presenters, producers, designers and writers choose nominees. All those working in the dance field are invited to join the NY Dance and Performance League—members participate in annual discussions on the direction of the awards and nominate members to serve on the Selection Committee.



Q: How do I join The Bessie League?
A: The Bessie League meets annually in the spring for roundtable discussions, suggests new Selection Committee members, and has first crack at ceremony tickets each year. 
We would love to hear what is important to you, to address the state of dance in the city and listen to your suggestions on how The Bessies might better serve the artists creating it. To Join the Bessie League, which is just a $10 annual dues, please contribute here and send a note to Heather that you have joined. We look forward to meeting with you!

Q: How can I advocate for work to be considered by the Bessies Selection Committee?
A: You can send invitations and press releases to the committee directly, members are listed here.

Q: How do I nominate someone, or myself, to serve on the Bessies Selection Committee?
A: Selection Committee members are nominated by The Bessie League. To join The Bessie League, please see above question. Bessie League members, please submit your nomination here for potential Selection Committee candidates.

Q: Who can I contact if I have other questions or comments about The Bessies?
A: Reach out to us anytime at heather@bessies.org. We would love to hear from you!

Q: Where can I find an archive of past Bessie Award recipients?
A: Click here to see past Bessie Award recipients from 1984 through present


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