French choreographer wins lifetime award at ADF

Jul. 13, 2014 @ 01:12 PM

French choreographer Angelin Preljocaj became the 33rd recipient of the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement in a ceremony on Friday at Durham Performing Arts Center. The ceremony took place before the U.S. premiere of the choreographer’s “Empty moves (part 1, part 11, part 111)” at the American Dance Festival.

Linda Shelton, executive director and a trustee of The Joyce Theater Foundation, presented the award after reading a tribute:

“Anjelin Preljocaj’s imaginative choreography has captivated audiences with its intensely physical movement and quiet narrative. Original and insightful, his stunning works dance through real and fantastical worlds. Angelin Preljocaj’s dedication to an authentic and rigorous approach to each work has established him as one of the most daring and instinctual choreographers.”

The award comes with a statuette and $50,000.

In his short acceptance speach, Preljocaj thanked Shelton for being the first to invite his company to perform in New York, at The Joyce Theater in 1997. He also thanked ADF director Jodee Nimerichter for presenting his company at ADF this season. And, he acknowledged former ADF director Charles Reinhart’s encouragement when, as a young man, Preljocaj performed with Dominique Bagouet’s French company at ADF in the early 1980s. Preljocaj would go on to establish his own company in 1984.

He said he felt honored to be among the other Scripps/ADF recipients.

“All these people were heroes to me.  (He named recipient Merce Cunningham as his mentor.) So, it is very moving to me to be on this list,” Preljocaj said.

Martha Graham received the first Scripps/ADF Award in 1981.

“Thank you everybody – and my mother,” Preljocaj added.