Dance/USA Awards

The Dance/USA Awards have been given to extraordinary leaders in the dance field, both artists and administrators, over the past thirty years. The awards are a long-standing tradition of Dance/USA beginning in 1986 with the first Honor Awards given to Anthony Tudor and Martha Graham and in 1990 with the first ‘Ernie’ Award given to Ian ‘Ernie’ Horvath. Over the years, outstanding leaders such as Arthur Mitchell, Paul Taylor, Alvin Ailey, Deborah Jowitt, Sam Miller, Katherine Dunham, and many more have been recognized for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the national dance field.

The Dance/USA Honor, 'Ernie', and Trustees Awards recognize an individual’s contributions to dance in America and acknowledges the roles they play in the national dance community. Nominations for Dance/USA's Honor and 'Ernie' awards are accepted from the entire dance field, and the final selection is made by the Dance/USA Board of Trustees. The Trustees Award is given at the discretion of the Dance/USA Board of Trustees to recognize an outstanding professional whose work has special significance to the field. The Dance/USA Awards are presented each year at the Opening Night Celebration during the Dance/USA Annual Conference. 

The 2017 Awards will be presented at the Opening Night Celebration on Wednesday, June 7, 2017. 

Dance/USA Honor

The Honor goes to an individual who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in the dance field by reason of artistic excellence and/or force of vision. 

1986  Anthony Tudor and Martha Graham 2006  Anna Halprin
1988  Robert Joffrey and Merce Cunningham 2008 Frederic Franklin
1990  Agnes de Mille, Paul Taylor and Alvin Ailey 2009  Tina Ramirez
1992  Katherine Dunham and Bella Lewitzky 2010  Carmen De Lavallade
1994  Alexandra Danilova and Charles Reinhart  2011  Lar Lubovitch 
1996  William Christensen and Donald McKayle 2012  Helgi Tomasson
1998  Judith Jamison and Bruce Marks 2013  Joan Myers Brown
2000  Jeraldyne Blunden and David R. White 2014  Liz Lerman
2002  Chuck Davis 2015  Trisha Brown
2004  Arthur Mitchell 2016  Jawole Willa Jo Zollar
 2017 Cleo Parker Robinson


Freed of London is proud to exclusively sponsor this year’s Dance/USA Honor Award presented to Cleo Parker Robinson.


Dance/USA ‘Ernie’

The 'Ernie' goes to an individual working “behind the scenes” within the infrastructure of the dance field, whose achievements have significantly empowered artists and supported their creativity individually or as a community.

1990  Ian ‘Ernie’ Horvath 2008  Anna Kisselgoff
1992  Richard E. LeBlond Jr. 2009  Sali Ann Kriegsman
1994  Martha Hill Davis and Bessie Schoenberg 2010  Richard J. Caples
1996  Barbara Horgan and Ivan Sygoda 2011  Verdery Roosevelt
1998  Deborah Jowitt 2012  Sam Miller
2000  Norton Owen and John R. Killacky 2013  Barbara Weisberger
2002  Cora Cahan 2014  D. David Brown
2004  Sage Cowles 2015  Linda Shelton
2006  Madeleine Nichols 2016  Ann Williams
2017 Gina Gibney

Dance/USA Trustees Award

The Trustees Award is given at the discretion of the Dance/USA Board of Trustees to recognize an outstanding professional whose work has special significance to the field.

2004  Alan M. Kriegsman  2012  C.C. Conner, Jr.
2007  Dr. Richard Gibbs  2013  Sharon Gersten Luckman
2008  Rena Shagan  2015  Raven Wilkinson
2011  Andrea Snyder  2016  Ella Baff

Dance/USA Champion Award

The Champion Award is given to any organization, business, foundation, or individual in the Annual Conference host city whose achievements, leadership, and support have sustained and/or significantly advanced dance in their home community.

2010  The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation
and the Meyer Foundation
2014  Dr. Robert and Katherine Goodale
2011  Pamela Crutchfield 2015  Toby Lerner Ansin
2012  Chris & Warren Hellman and Kary Schulman2016  Sarah & Dr. Ernest Butler
2017 Billie Mahoney
Photo by: Runway Productions LLC