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FSU Alum Nominated For The Bessie Awards

The College of Fine Arts and School of Dance would like to congratulate alumni Lela Aisha Jones, Yeman Brown, Maria Bauman, Nia Love, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar for their nominations and participation in the 2017 Bessie Awards.

The Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC), a dance residency site housed within FSU’s School of Dance, which hosts nationally significant artists in residencies throughout the school year, would also like to extend congratulations to several former resident artists recognized in this year’s Bessie Award nominations.

About the Nominees

Lela Aisha Brown

Lela Aisha Brown. Photo by Scott Shaw.

Alum Lela Aisha Jones is nominated for Outstanding Emerging Choreographer. Lela graduated from the FSU School of Dance with her MFA in 2004. She has since founded FlyGround, a multi-initiative platform that houses collaborative creative projects.

Alums Maria Bauman and Nia Love are involved in the ensemble of The Skeleton Architecture or Future of Our Worlds by Eva Yaa Asantewaa. The ensemble is nominated for the Outstanding Performer Award. Maria graduated from the School of Dance with a BFA in 2002, and Nia graduated from the School of Dance with an MFA in 1992.

Alum and Faculty Jawole Willa Jo Zollar is nominated for her choreography contribution to A 24-Decade History of Popular Music by Taylor Mac. Zollar was among the team nominated in the Outstanding Music Composition/Sound Design category for this work. Zollar has earned an MFA from the School of Dance and is currently the Nancy Smith Fichter Professor of Dance and Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor at Florida State University.

MANCC Artist Nora Chipaumire, who has been supported in three MANCC residencies, is currently nominated in two Bessie categories, Outstanding Production and Outstanding Visual Design, for her most recent work, Portrait of myself as my f-a-t-h-e-r, which was developed, in part, at MANCC. The work has toured widely through the US and internationally. Performing and touring in with Chipaumire is FSU School of Dance alum, Shamar Watt (BFA 2015), a professional relationship that continues after a student assistantship was granted during Chipaumire’s 2015 MANCC residency.

Alum Yeman Brown (BFA 2013) is nominated in the category of Outstanding Performer for his role in Reggie Wilson’s Citizen, a work that was developed in a MANCC residency. Brown began his tenure with Wilson as an FSU student during a residency in 2013. Since graduation, Brown has been a part of Wilson’s Fist and Heel Performance Group and has gone on to tour in several of Wilson’s works. Both Watt and Brown have returned to FSU in subsequent MANCC residencies.

About The Bessies

Produced in partnership with Dance/NYC, the NY Dance and Performance Awards have saluted outstanding and groundbreaking creative work by independent dance artists in NYC for over 30 years. Known as “The Bessie” in honor of revered dance teacher Bessie Schonberg, 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, 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.

The 33rd Annual Bessie Awards will be held on Monday, October 9, 2017, at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.