This is the second year the Sugar Space for the Arts presents its Audiences Award Artists show, kind of. Last year’s inaugural event, however, was identified by a different name, The A.W.A.R.D. Show! But, for all practical purposes, the two amount to nearly the same thing.
For one, both events are modeled after a series started in New York, aimed at creating a lab-type environment within a performance space where the choreographers, dancers and audience can all converse and comment on the creative process. In both instances, five up-and-coming choreographers are chosen to participate after an open call for proposals. The lucky few who made the cut this year are Juan Aldape and Molly Beardmore- Heller, Graham Brown, Monica Campbell, Chelsea Ellis, and Rachael Shaw/R Squared Dance.
Where the new title for the event comes in is the fun part, and is only understood after the actual performance. Beginning with a moderated discussion between the choreographers, the audience and a panel of professional artists culled from different artistic disciplines, the five contestants will be voted on by all parties based upon the POEM criteria (potential, originality, execution and merit).
The winner will not only be given a full weekend slot in Sugar Space’s following performance season, he or she also will receive an unrestricted creation/production grant of $1,000 to fill it. Fittingly, that grant money will come directly from ticket sales for the Audiences Award Artists event, which wasn’t the case for The A.W.A.R.D. Show!—hence the name change.