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The Eighth Annual Clive Barnes Awards at The Walter Reade Theater
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The Eighth Annual Clive Barnes Awards at The Walter Reade Theater

- Special Events: Offstage with the Dancers

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The Clive Barnes Foundation
(The Clive Barnes Foundation Website)

The Eighth Annual Clive Barnes Awards
For Young Talents in Dance & Theatre

Press: Richard Kornberg & Associates

The Walter Reade Theater
(The Walter Reade Theater Film Page)
Lincoln Center

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
January 8, 2018

It was worth coming out in the winter freeze this afternoon for this very special event. The Eighth Annual Clive Barnes Awards is a must-see, as The Clive Barnes Foundation honors rising stars and generously assists all the finalists, who are emerging artists in theatre and dance. I still miss seeing Clive Barnes at the theatre and the ballet; he was always a loyal devotee, a critic extraordinaire, and an ebullient presence on talk shows and in the press. His wife, Valerie Taylor-Barnes, President of the Board of Directors of The Clive Barnes Foundation, spoke at today’s Awards event at The Walter Reade Theater. Ms. Taylor-Barnes briefly described the dance and theatre careers of today’s honorees. She was ever so generous in her praise and encouragement.

The three nominees for the Theatre Awards were Grace Van Patten, who currently appears in the Netflix series, “The Meyrowitz Stories”, Evan Ruggiero, a tap dancer and entertainer, who overcame the challenges of bone cancer, and Elana Wang, who will star this year in the LA production of Allegiance. The grand prize winner of $5,000 from the Barnes Foundation was Mr. Ruggiero. Both Ms. Van Patten and Ms. Wang won cash prizes, as well. The $5,000 grand prize Dance Award was given to Gemma Bond, the only dance nominee and a rising choreographer and Corps dancer with American Ballet Theatre.

Michael Riedel, a Broadway critic for the New York Post and author of the book, "Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway", was once again the Master of Ceremonies. He was engaging and entertaining, introducing today’s Presenters and the Foundation’s goals and achievements. He also regaled the crowd with anecdotes about Mr. Barnes, telling of his arrival at The New York Times from London in the 60’s. Mr. Riedel said Mr. Barnes would have been 90 years old today, a very robust, generous, formidable critic. His press seats were only in his name, as he was known for his expertise and clout, his current news outlet being of less importance. We were also told that Mr. Barnes was an early advocate of Harold Pinter and a late advocate of the aging Edward Albee. He publicly supported the professional talents of both. As a writer, Mr. Barnes was dedicated to clarity and communication, thinking of his working-class father as the one who must comprehend his reviews.

The Presenter for the Theatre Award was a New York favorite, Robert Fairchild, who recently retired as a Principal dancer with New York City Ballet. Mr. Fairchild is a rising star himself on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and London stages. He invited Evan Ruggiero to the stage for his acceptance of the grand prize. Mr. Ruggiero was thrilled and spoke glowingly of his gratitude. Mr. Ruggiero was a star of the Off-Broadway show, Bastard Jones. Film clips of his shows were shown for the crowd, as the Walter Reade is designed as a movie theater. Mr. Ruggiero’s fellow cast members and family members were cheering from the audience. Film clips of Ms. Wang’s and Ms. Van Patten’s work in the theatre were also well received.

David Hallberg, Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre, presented the Dance Award to the solo nominee, Gemma Bond. Ms. Bond’s choreographies were represented in filmed performances, including one featuring Intermezzo Ballet Company. Isabella Boylston, also a Principal with Ballet Theatre and a close colleague of Ms. Bond, spoke highly of working with her friend and of Ms. Bond’s extraordinary skills. In the “One Year Later” segment of the program, Khris Davis, the 2016 Theatre Award Winner, who received a rave review on these pages for his starring roles in The Royale and Sweat, gratefully thanked Ms. Taylor-Barnes for her career-enhancing generosity. Indiana Woodward, a Soloist with City Ballet and the 2016 Dance Award Winner, also spoke glowingly of the impact Ms. Taylor-Barnes made on her career. Closing remarks, from Mr. Riedel and Ms. Taylor-Barnes, led to a lovely reception for all.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at