Dance Magazine Award Goes to Pacific Northwest Ballet's Russell and Stowell, Tap Star Glover, and City Ballet's Boal

By Gladstone, Valerie | Dance Magazine, April 1996 | Go to article overview
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Dance Magazine Award Goes to Pacific Northwest Ballet's Russell and Stowell, Tap Star Glover, and City Ballet's Boal


Gladstone, Valerie, Dance Magazine


NEW YORK CITY--The Dance Magazine Award, an institution in the dance world since 1954, this year goes to Francia Russell, Kent Stowell, Savion Glover and Peter Boal, Dance Magazine editor in chief Richard Philp announced. The awards will be presented April 15 at the Asia Society in New York City.

For over thirty years, Russell, one of the first ballet masters chosen by George Balanchine to stage his works, has traveled the globe ensuring that they are performed as he made them. As coartistic director with husband Stowell of Pacific Northwest Ballet since 1977, she brought the Balanchine tradition to the Northwest and combined it with a superb school and an eclectic repertory to create a first-class dance company. Stowell also produces distinguished choreographic work for PNB. As New Yorker writer John Lahr described it in the October 30, 1995 issue of the magazine, Glover's mission is "to put tap back into a contemporary black context." In doing so, Glover has revitalized one of the world's most joyous art forms. With his exquisite line and sensitive portrayals, Peter Boal gives each ballet he dances an extra intensity and beauty.

The Dance Magazine Award honors significant contributions to dance during distinguished careers. Dance Magazine editors and correspondents from around the world submit nominations. This year's recipients were chosen from among seventy nominees by a panel chaired by Dance Magazine senior editor Clive Barnes and including Philp, senior editors John Gruen, Doris Hering, and Marilyn Hunt, contributing editor Hilary Ostlere, and New York City critic Robert Greskovic.

SAVION GLOVER

At the incredibly young age of twenty-two, Savion Glover is already a veteran who has made his mark on contemporary dance. Few individuals of any age could so brilliantly both master a genre and rejuvenate it. Hailed as the future of tap at age eleven when he appeared on Broadway in The Tap Dance Kid and later in the revue Black and Blue, Glover went on to impress audiences in the 1992 Broadway smash Jelly's Last Jam, bringing to his role a poignancy that demonstrated he could act as well as dance. In his late teens, he was a regular guest on the television program Sesame Street.

Given all the accolades, Glover could have rested on his laurels for a while. Instead, last fall he took on the challenge of choreographing, with Public Theater artistic director George Wolfe, a history of black America through hip-hop and tap. The result, Bring in `Da Noise; Bring in `Da Funk was one of the season's biggest hits. At press time, the show was scheduled to move to Broadway in April.

Glover became involved in the arts growing up in Newark, New Jersey. Yvette Glover, his mother and manager, started him on percussion lessons at age four. By the time he was seven, realizing his true talent was dance, she enrolled him in tap classes.

If anyone has been worried that tap would fade, they can stop worrying now. Glover has made sure, with his spectacular technique and choreographic skill, that audiences will be hearing "da noise" for a long time to come.

FRANCIA RUSSELL AND KENT STOWELL

In 1977 Francia Russell and Kent Stowell brought their New York City Ballet training and European dance and administrative experience to Seattle. At that time the fledgling Pacific Northwest Ballet had neither a strong identity nor first-rate dancers. Lured by the opportunity to make it into a excellent ballet company, Russell and Stowell left their positions as directors of Frankfurt Ballet to take on the challenge. Besides adding ten new works to the repertoire and staging five classic ballets, Stowell has kept track of the finances. Russell reorganized the school, modeling it on the School of American Ballet. The two rapidly improved the quality of performance and the breadth of the repertoire.

By the 1980s, subscriptions had doubled and performances sold out on a regular basis. Grants had been secured and the books balanced.

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