Celebrating Dance: Shernita Anderson and James Whiteside Bring Glamour to the 2017 Bessies

 In Dd Exclusive, Uncategorized

It is the start of fall and the smell of pumpkin pie spice as well as dance award season is in the air. The 33rd Annual NY Dance and Performance Bessie Awards happens this Monday night at NYU Skirball Center. But if you are not able to attend, this year you can watch the ceremony live streamed on their Facebook page. The evening will include performances by Bessie Award-winning choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar in an excerpt from her 1987 solo Bitter Tongue, the Trisha Brown Dance Company in an excerpt from Groove and Countermove(2000), with a score by jazz composer Dave Douglas, and a musical tribute to Baba Chuck Davis, performed byAbdel Salaam and Forces of Nature. We chatted remotely with the show’s hosts, performance artist and entertainer Shernita Anderson and American Ballet Theater’s James Whiteside, about how they will be shaking up a night the revered night of dance.

{ DIYdancer }, Candice Thompson: Have you ever hosted an awards show before?


Photo credit: Andre L Perry.

Shernita Anderson: I have not.

James Whiteside: I’ve only ever hosted the Oscars.

CT: Do you have a Bessies or celebrity host that you look to for inspiration? I was lucky enough to attend the Tony’s when Hugh Jackman tap-danced while hosting and it was so fun, so I guess if I were in your position I would channel a vaudeville Wolverine….

James Whiteside by @balletzaida_preview

Photo credit @BalletZaida


SA: I’ve never attended the Bessies so I’ll be looking to God for my inspiration!

JW: I’d like to be a little bit Cher from her variety show, a little Tina Fey, and a little Dave Letterman.

CT: Have you two met before?

JW: We haven’t met but we have meetings scheduled before the Bessies.

SA: I’m sure there will be opportunity for organic improvisation.

CT: Without spoiling any surprises, what can audience members look forward to from you?

SA:  They can look forward to us looking good, feeling good and passing that energy along to them.

JW: Expect the unexpected. There will be surprises!

CT: Wait, but most importantly, what will you wear?

JW: I’m working with Stylist Keith “Smoov” Mcpherson for my Bessie Award look. I’ll definitely be in a dress. My wardrobe process for this event consists of me sending millions of ideas over to Keith and he refines and narrows it all down for me.

JW: I’ll be wearing everything from garbage to glamour. I’m hoping to have more costume changes than Cher.

Be sure to catch the celebration all of these new moves and movers, either in person or online, 10/9 at 7:30 p.m.

Click here for tickets.
Click here to livestream.
Click here for the full list of nominees.

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