The Chita Rivera Awards: Formerly The Fred & Adele Astaire Awards Will Honor the Best in Dance and Choreography 2017 by Lisa Pacino
Fred & Adele Astaire Awards have been renamed to honor Broadway legend and two-time Tony Award winner Chita Rivera. The Chita Rivera Awards are to honor the best in dance and choreography. The nominations for The Chita Rivera Awards for Dance and Choreography will be announced on May 1, 2017 at The Friar’s Club in New York and the awards will be held on September 11, 2017 at the Hammerstein Ballroom, New York.
Chita Rivera, Black Stars of the Great White Way, Carnegie Hall, New York, June 23, 2014. Photograph Lisa Pacino.
The formerly named Fred & Adele Astaire Awards will be re-established as the Chita Rivera Awards for Dance and Choreography, the nonprofit American Dance Machine announced today. The awards will continue to honor the best of theatrical dance and choreography, both on Broadway and off, as well as film and television.
The Fred & Adele Astaire Awards were established in 1982, and formerly known as The Astaire Awards. The awards were established with the cooperation of Fred Astaire to honor him and his sister, Adele, who starred with her brother in ten Broadway musicals between 1917 and 1931.
“What a wonderful surprise it was when I heard about this award in my name,” said Chita Rivera. “It’s so important to encourage young dancers and choreographers…they are our future.”
Chita Rivera, Geoffrey Holder, and Obba Babatundé, Black Stars of the Great White Way, Carnegie Hall, New York, June 23, 2014. Photograph Lisa Pacino.
Two-time Tony Award winner Chita Rivera was born Dolores Conchita Figueroa del Rivero on January 23, 1933 in Washington, D.C. Her father was Puerto Rican, and her mother was of Scottish and Italian descent. She is an actress, dancer, and singer best known for her roles in musical theatre. She trained as a ballerina, from age 11, before receiving a scholarship to the American School of Ballet from legendary George Balanchine. Chita’s first appearance, age 17, was as a principal dancer in Call Me Madam. Her electric performance as Anita in the Broadway premiere of West Side Story in 1957 brought her stardom, which she repeated in London. Beginning her career in 1950, it now spans over 65 years. Rivera is the first Hispanic woman and the first Latino American to receive a Kennedy Center Honors Award, December 2002. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. Her numerous awards include two Tony Awards, two Drama Desk Awards, a Drama League Award, and a Theatre World Award – John Willis Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. Her career is highlighted by starring roles on Broadway and on tour in Bye Bye Birdie, The Rink winning the Tony Award, Chicago, Jerry’s Girls, Kiss of the Spider Woman winning the Tony Award, and the original Broadway casts of Guys and Dolls, Seventh Heaven, Mr. Wonderful, Born Yesterday, The Rose Tattoo, Threepenny Opera, Sweet Charity, Kiss Me Kate, Zorba, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, The Dancer’s Life, Nine, Can-Can with The Rockettes, and most recently The Visit. In In 2015, Great Performances aired their special Chita Rivera: A Lot of Livin’ To Do, a retrospective of her extraordinary life and career nationally on PBS. Chita’s most recent solo CD, 2009, is entitled And Now I Swing.
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