29th Annual Fred & Adele Astaire Awards Honoring Excellence in Dance on Stage & in Film at Skirball Center for The Performing Arts at NYU

Legendary Dancer & Choreographer Jacques D’amboise to Receive Douglas Watt Lifetime Achievement Award May 15


Awards Gala to Benefit Dance Education  


The Fred and Adele Astaire Awards the only awards to recognize excellence in dance and choreography on Broadway and in film will take place May 15,2011 at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at New York University, 566 LaGuardia Place) New York City 10019. The gala evening will begin with a VIP cocktail reception at 6pm with the Awards Presentation and Show at 7:30pm. Once again the Awards Gala will benefit Dance Education.  Hosted by Bebe Neuwirth and Lee Roy Reams, the evening is presented by Patricia Watt, Producer of the awards, Ava Astaire and The Douglas Watt Family Fund for the Performing Arts. This year’s Douglas Watt Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to legendary dancer, choreographer and founder of the National Dance Institute Jacques D’amboise whose career spans the worlds of theater, dance, television and film. Awards will also be given to honor the best dancers and choreographers on Broadway & in film. Tony Award Winners Len Cariou and Brian Stokes Mitchell will co-present the award to Mr. D’amboise.


The late Douglas Watt founded The Astaire Awards with Fred Astaire. His longtime leadership inspired the prize. He spent nearly 6 decades as a Broadway theatre critic for The Daily News and The New Yorker. Watt was instrumental in convincing producer Cheryl Crawford to bring the New Jersey revival of PORGY AND BESS to Broadway in 1941, helping to solidify the show's landmark place in history. Watt was one of the founders of the Drama Desk Awards and served on the nominating committee for both the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Awards. Watt died at the age of 95 on September 29, 2009 Nominees for excellence in dance & choreography on Broadway will be made on April 26th at a special reception at the Firebird Russian Restaurant on Theater Row in the heart of the Theater District hosted by Patricia Watt, Carolyn & Ronald Buchter.


2011 Fred & Adele Astaire Awards on May 15 presented by Ava Astaire and the Douglas Watt Family Fund for the Performing Arts benefit dance education in public schools serving autistic and disabled children and The National Dance Alliance which provides scholarships to colleges and dance institutions to promising young dancers.


Executive Producer: Patricia Watt; Co-Producer: Joe Lanteri, National DanceAlliance;

Associate Producer, Bronwen Carson.  Director is Joe Lanteri. Honorary Chairs are Judith Jamison and Wendy Federman Awards. Gala Co-Chairs are Carolyn Kendall Buchter, Cassandra Seidenfeld Lyster and Bruce Michael. Benefit Co- Chairs are   Sara Kaplan Johnson, and Jamie Watkins

Gala Committee includes Jennifer Bank, Raymond Cappodano, Joyce Chasen, Ursula Deljian, Victoria Detiger, Missy Echeverria, Elyse Emmer, Wendy Federman, Terri Gold, Regina Kravitz, Jacqueline Marks, Alix Michel, Coryn Nadeau, Melinda Paltrow, Nancy Pearson, Scott Perrin, Scarlett Pildes, Randi Rahm, Kat Schaffer, Jennifer Taylor and Andrew Wargo

Honorary Committee includes Mr. and Mrs. Richard Adler, Jean Claude Baker, Bob Balaban, Marisa Berenson, Anna Bergman, Patricia Birch, Marge Champion, Arlene Dahl, Jacques D'Amboise, Gracielle Danielle, Eve Ensler, Jules Fisher, Mario Fratti, Mitzi Gaynor, Savion Glover, Joel Grey, Anne Jackson, Susan Jaffee, Arthur Laurents, Rob Marshall, Donna McKechnie, Joey McKneely, Jerry Mitchell, Bebe Neuwirth, Phyllis Newman, Marsha Norman, Robert Osbourne, Jane Powell and Dick Moore ,Harold Prince, Rex Reed, Ann Reinking, Donald Saddler, Liz Smith, Richard Thomas, Sergio Trujillo, Karen Ziemba, Eli Wallach.   

This year’s Awards will take place at SkirballCenterfor the Performing Arts at NYU on May 15. The JackH.SkirballCenterfor the Performing Arts is the premier venue for the presentation of cultural and performing arts events for New YorkUniversityand lower Manhattan. Led by executive producer Jay Oliva (President Emeritus, NYU) and senior director Michael Harrington, the programs of SkirballCenterreflect NYU’s mission as an international center of scholarship, defined by excellence and innovation and shaped by an intellectually rich and diverse environment. A vital aspect of the Center’s mission is to build young adult audiences for the future of live performance. www.skirballcenter.nyu.edu


VIP Prime Seating includes 6:00 pm VIP Red Carpet Cocktail Party; Prime Seating at Performance & Post Awards Show VIP Party with Nominees, Recipients and Performers $425.


General Seating (Two Tiers – all have unobstructed views) $150 & $75


Early Order VIP Prime Seating Discount – Available only through April 30.

20% Discount for groups of 10 or more $340 per ticket

Groups of 2-9 10% off $382.50 per ticket.


For more information or advance ticket purchase for one of the entertainment industry’s most electrifying evenings, the 2011 Fred & Adele Astaire Awards on May 15 at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at New York University please visit www.theastaireawards.org


About Jacques D’amboise


Recognized as one of the finest classical dancers of our time, Jacques D’amboise now leads the field of arts education with a model program that exposes thousands of school children to the magic and discipline of dance. In 1976, while still a principal dancer with New York City Ballet, Mr. d’Amboise founded National Dance Institute in the belief that the arts have a unique power to engage and motivate individuals towards excellence.


His contributions in arts education have earned him numerous awards and honors including: The Dutch Treat Club Gold Metal for Lifetime Achievement; The American Academy of Arts & Sciences (2007); The Children’s Champion Award, Child Magazine (2007); The Mayor’s Award for Arts & Culture (2004); Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at St. Joseph College (2003); The James Keller Youth Award, The Christophers (2002); The Arison Award (2002); People First Honoree, People Magazine (2002); Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at Franklin Pierce College (2002); The Heinz Award (2001); Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts at the University of the South (2001); Town Hall Friend of the Arts Award (2000); Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts at the Juilliard School (2000); The Dance Magazine Award (1999); The National Medal of Arts (1998); NCEA St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award (1996); The Kennedy Center Honors (1995); The National Caring Award, The Caring Institute (1995); The Museum of the City of New York - $24 Award; The Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1993); a 1990 MacArthur Fellowship: The Capezio Award (1990); The First Annual Producers Circle Award for public service (1989); The Paul Robeson Award for excellence in the field of the humanities (1988); The Governor’s Award for outstanding contributions to the arts and culture of New York State (1986); Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts - Boston College (1986); Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts - Monmouth University (1984); Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts - Bates College (1978); Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts - Saint Peter’s College (1978); Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts - College of New Rochelle (1976); and The Nancy Hank Fellowship - Duke University. Mr. d’Amboise is also an Honorary Big Brother.

He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin’, a 1984 PBS documentary film about his work with NDI, won an Academy Award, six Emmy Awards, the Peabody Award, the Golden Cine Award, and the National Education Association Award for the advancement of learning through broadcasting. He has also served as a full professor and Dean of Dance for two years at SUNY Purchase, and for eleven years as visiting professor at theCollege ofCreative Studies,University ofCalifornia atSanta Barbara.  

Mr. D’amboise began his ballet training with Madam Seda in Washington Heights, New York. Within a year, at the age of 8, he continued his studies at the Schoolof American Balletwith George Balanchine, Anatola Oboukhoff and Pierre Vladimiroff. At age 12 he performed with Ballet Society, the immediate predecessor to New York City Ballet. Three years later, barely 15, he joined New York City Ballet and the following year made his European debut at London’s Covent Garden. As Balanchine’s protégé, Mr. d’Amboise had more works choreographed specifically for him by The Ballet Master than any other dancer, including the ballets: Stars and Stripes, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Episodes, Figures in the Carpet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Jewels, Raymonda Variations, Meditation, and Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet. Mr. d’Amboise is most remembered for his portrayal of what critics called “the definitive Apollo.” As a choreographer, Mr. d’Amboise’s credits include almost twenty works commissioned for the New York City Ballet.

Mr. D’amboise has written and directed for theater, film, and television, including the musicals Roberta, Lady in the Dark, Peter Pan, Thurber Carnival, The Shooting of Dan McGrew with Galt McDermott, and the films Event of the Year and Fifth Position.

As a performer, Mr. D’amboise has appeared on Broadway in the musical Shin Bone Alley, the precursor production to the musical Cats. He has appeared in films including Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Carousel, The Best Things In Life Are Free, Watching Ballet, the movie version of Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Offbeat.

In 1983, Mr. D’amboise co-authored Teaching the Magic of Dance with Hope Cooke, featuring photographs by Carolyn George. Mr. d’Amboise is currently at work on a memoir to be published by Alfred A. Knopf. His wife, the late Carolyn George, was a dancer, teacher, choreographer, and photographer. Together, they had four children—George, Christopher, and twin daughters Charlotte and Catherine.

Mr. d’Amboise’ work in dance education has taken him all over the world—from the extremes of Yakutsk, Siberia, to the Danakil Desert in Ethiopia, from 13,000 feet below sea level at the Dead Sea to the mountains of Nepal, and from the dryness of the Atacama Desert in Chile to rainforests on the island of Kauai in the Hawaiian Chain. Over the last 30 years, NDI programs inNew York Cityand its affiliates, both nationally and internationally, have reached and influenced over 2 million children.



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