Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Fred and Adele Astaire Awards

On May 15th, the annual Fred and Adele Astaire Awards, presented for excellence in stage and film dance achievement, were handed out in New York City.

These awards began in 1982 as simply the Astaire Awards, to "recognize outstanding achievement in dance on Broadway each season." Since then, they've expanded to recognize dance achievement on film, too.

After seeing this year's announcement of winners, my friend Jon wondered if there were a complete list of all the winners since 1982 compiled somewhere. Although both of us have done our best to locate such a list, we have come up empty, I'm afraid. By searching for each year's press release individually and noting what history was mentioned in those press releases, I have compiled a sort-of list, semi-accurate, with holes and weird overlappings. Oh, well. This is what I got:

1982: Ann Miller, Best Female Dancer for “Sugar Babies”
Don Correia, Best Male Dancer for “Little Me”
Michael Bennett, Best Choreographer for “A Chorus Line”??

1983: Natalia Makarova, Best Female Dancer for “On Your Toes”
Charles 'Honi' Coles, Best Male Dancer for “My One and Only”
George Balanchine, Best Choreographer for “On Your Toes”

1984: Hinton Battle, Best Male Dancer for “The Tap Dance Kid”
Danny Daniels, Best Choreographer for “The Tap Dance Kid”

1985: Jerome Robbins, Lifetime Achievement

1986: Debbie Allen, Best Female Dancer for “Sweet Charity”
Gregg Burge, Best Male Dancer for “Song and Dance”
Peter Martins, Best Choreographer for “Song and Dance”
Bob Fosse, Best Choreographer for “Sweet Charity” and “Big Deal” ??

1987: Robert Lindsay, Best Male Dancer for “Me and My Girl”
Hanya Holm, Special Award for Contribution to Modern Dance and the Broadway Stage

1988: Herbert Rawlings, Best Dancer for “Dreamgirls”
Michael Smuin, Best Choregrapher for “Anything Goes”

1989: No awards given?

1990: Yvonne Marceau and Pierre Dulaine, Special Award for Contribution to the Broadway Stage for “Grand Hotel”
Robert Lambert, Best Male Dancer for “Gypsy”
Tommy Tune, Best Choreographer for “Grand Hotel”

1991: Gregg Burge, Stanley Wayne Mathis and Kevin Ramsey, for “Oh, Kay!”
Tommy Tune, Best Choreographer for “The Will Rogers Follies”

1992: Gregory Hines, Best Male Dancer for “Jelly’s Last Jam”
Christopher Chadman, Best Choreographer for “Guys and Dolls”

1993: Chita Rivera, Best Female Dancer for “Kiss of the Spider Woman”
Wayne Cilento, Best Choreographer for “The Who’s ‘Tommy’”

1994: Margaret Illmann, Best Female Dancer for “The Red Shoes”
Scott Wise, Best Male Dancer for “Damn Yankees”
Lar Lubovitch, Best Choreographer for “The Red Shoes”

1995: Charlotte d’Ambouse, Best Female Dancer for “Damn Yankees”
Susan Stroman, Best Choreographer for “Show Boat”

1996: Donna McKechnie, Best Female Dancer for “State Fair”
Savion Glover, Best Male Dancer for “Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk”
Savion Glover, Best Choreographer for “Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk”

1997: Bebe Neuwirth and Ann Reinking, Best Female Dancers for “Chicago”
Ann Reinking, Best Choreographer for “Chicago”

1998: Kit Kat Klub Boys and Girls, Best Dancers for “Cabaret”
Garth Fagan, Best Choreographer for “The Lion King”
Graciela Daniele, Best Choreographer for “Ragtime”

1999: Adam Cooper, Best Male Dancer for “Swan Lake”
Patricia Birch, Best Choreographer for “Parade”
Matthew Bourne, Special Award for “Swan Lake”

2000: Deborah Yates, Best Female Dancer for “Contact”
Clyde Alves, Best Male Dancer for “The Music Man”
Susan Stroman, Best Choreographer for “Contact” and “The Music Man”

2001: Kate Levering, Best Female Dancer for “42nd Street”
Michael Arnold, Best Male Dancer for “42nd Street”
Susan Stroman, Best Choreographer for “The Producers”
Donald Saddler, Lifetime Achievement

2002: Sutton Foster, Best Female Dancer for “Thoroughly Modern Millie”
Justin Bohon, Best Male Dancer for “Oklahoma!”
Susan Stroman, Best Choreographer for “Oklahoma!”

2003: Elizabeth Parkinson, Best Female Dancer for “Movin’ Out”
John Selya, Best Male Dancer for “Movin’ Out”
Twyla Tharp, Best Choreographer for “Movin’ Out”
Chita Rivera, Lifetime Achievement

2004: Donna Murphy, Best Female Dancer for “Wonderful Town”
Hugh Jackman, Best Male Dancer for “The Boy from Oz”
Kathleen Marshall, Best Choreographer for “Wonderful Town”

2005: Norbert Leo Butz, Best Male Dancer for “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”
Charlotte D’Amboise, Special Award for “invaluable contribution to Broadway dance during the 2004-05 season"

2006 and 2007: no awards given?

2008: Karen Olivo, Best Female Dancer for “In the Heights”
Spencer Liff, Best Male Dancer for “Cry Baby”
Rob Ashford, Best Broadway Choreographer for “Cry Baby”
Dave Scott, Hi-Hat and Jamal Sims, Best Film Choreography for “Step Up 2: The Streets”
Tommy Tune, Douglas Watt Lifetime Achievement Award

2009: Pia Glenn, Best Female Dancer for “You’re Welcome, America: A Final Night with George W. Bush”
David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish, Best Male Dancers for “Billy Elliot”
Peter Darling, Best Broadway Choreographer for “Billy Elliot”
Longines Fernandes, Best Film Choreographer for “Slumdog Millionaire”
Stanley Donen, Douglas Watt Lifetime Achievement Award

2010: Nicole Chantal de Weever and the Female Ensemble of “Fela” for Best Female Dancers
Charlie Neshyba-Hodges, Best Male Dancer for “Come Fly Away”
Bill T. Jones, Best Broadway Choreographer for “Fela”
Marguerite Derricks, Best Choreographer of a Fictional Film for “Fame”
Adam Del Deo and James D. Stern, Best Directors of a Documentary Dance Film for “Every Little Step”
Kenny Ortega, Douglas Watt Lifetime Achievement Award

2011: Sutton Foster, Best Female Dancer for “Anything Goes”
Norbert Leo Butz, Best Male Dancer for “Catch Me If You Can”
Susan Strohman, Best Broadway Choreographer for “The Scottsboro Boys”
Graeme Murphy and Janet Vernon, Best Film Choreographers for "Mao's Last Dancer"
Jacques d’Amboise, Douglas Watt Lifetime Achievement Award

Yes, I'm aware that my list is strange in spots, like giving an award to Michael Bennett for “A Chorus Line” in 1982. But if not then, when? I’m also missing the female in 84, male, female and choreographer in 85, I have an extra choreographer in 86, no choreographer or female in 87, no female in 88, nobody in 89, no female in 92, no males in 93 or 95 (plus I have Charlotte d’Amboise and Scott Wise in different years for the same show), and then the issue of 2006 and 2007, when apparently no awards were given out. I found an article in 2008 that said there had been no awards for three years, but since the 05 stuff seems pretty clear, I think it was just two.

So there’s what I found with my internet searches and cross-referencing hither and yon and whatever else I could get my hands on. Neither nor seems to have any kind of historical listing and no one responded to my email request for more information. I'm hoping there is someone else out there looking for this exact same thing who will see my sad, holey list and decide to take this on as a project. Fred and Adele Astaire deserve better! And so do the recipients of these awards over the years.


  1. That's heroic work, Julie! I know how much cross-referencing and link-to-linking it must have taken to come up with this. And isn't it strange that in an age when we, with some reason, expect archives like this to be easily available online, there's next to nothing for the F&AAAs?

    I'm trying to think of anyone I know "in the biz" who might know somebody who knows somebody, etc., but I know mostly arranger and conductor types. Clyde Alves once sat on the floor so I could have his chair, but I can hardly presume on that acquaintance (he definitely deserved his award, though).

    There are many interesting things to contemplate in the list of winners over the years, aren't there?

  2. Wow! I wonder if you could put in a request at the Astaire Awards website for a complete list/history...and then help them write it!!

  3. I emailed them to ask about a complete list. No response! Not any!

  4. I linked this to facebook, hoping that one of my musician friends there might know something.