Quick background: The A.W.A.R.D. Show! is a dance competition that asks audiences to determine which contestant will ultimately receive a $10,000 grant. As event founder Neta Pulvermacher explains it, “By declaring out loud and upfront that audiences for The A.W.A.R.D. Show! are charged with the rights and the responsibility to make qualitative choices about what they see, the selection process becomes transparent and hopefully encourages honesty. Then the audience and artists can get on with the task of really looking at the work before them for what it is and to try and see it deeply,” (So... like American Idol, but fancy.)
The Seattle installment of The A.W.A.R.D. Show! is cosponsored by the respected arts org On the Boards, and featured the work of 12 choreographers over 3 nights. Results were announced yesterday, and it turns out that the best performance in Seattle last weekend was... from Portland. First place went to the locals in tEEth, a company that reliably produces emotionally gripping, provocative work. (The phrase "really freaky shit" also applies; remember their Works performance a few years ago? Or the photo shoot in the pig sty?) I emailed tEEth's co-artistic director Angelle Hebert to ask for her what it felt like to swoop in from out of town and seize victory from the grasping claws of 11 of Seattle's best choreographers.*
"It was especially great to see work from and connect with other regional artists," she replied."Going into the competition, we had no expectations... we tried to remain open to the experience and the outcome. Also, this process gave us the opportunity to perform in a prestigious, highly revered venue (On the Boards) while hopefully connecting with new audiences. Once we were voted to continue on to the final performance we started to feel as though we may have a chance at actually winning. Coming from Portland and only having a handful of folks in the audience there to support tEEth, we thought our chances were slim. When the announcement was made, we were surprised and of course, jumping for joy, totally ecstatic! it was a surreal, overwhelming moment."
I also asked what tEEth plans to do with their winnings: "The winnings will off first pay for the trip to Seattle. There were 7 of us traveling so 7 food stipends, artist fees, gas money, etc. The remaining will be put into a new work we are premiering in jan 2012 as well as touring funds for Home Made. " [Home Made is their current show; hit that link for video.]
If you missed its short run a couple months ago, tEEth will be performing an encore of Home Made in April, before taking it on the road again to humble the locals in Austin and Salt Late City. Congratulations!
*okay, I didn't ask it QUITE like that.