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Hortons favor modern works

Times Staff Writer

The work of dancer-choreographer Loretta Livingston dominated the list of winners at the 13th annual Lester Horton Dance Awards, held Sunday at the Aratani/Japan America Theatre in downtown L.A.

Presented in May at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, Livingston’s “Leaving (Evidence)” -- a full-evening ensemble piece that dramatized and celebrated the impermanence of dance -- won awards in four major categories.

The achievements of Laura Gorenstein Miller’s Helios Dance Theater and Rosanna Gamson/World Wide won two awards each.

Named after a locally based modern dance pioneer, the Horton Awards honor excellence in the Southern California dance community and are voted by the membership, and in some cases the board, of the Dance Resource Center, a service organization.

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Once again, modern dance eclipsed every other idiom at the Hortons and, in particular, the Southland’s many excellent world-dance companies received scant recognition.

Until 2002, the Horton Awards divided nominees into Western and non-Western categories, with awards for each. But leaders of the local world-dance community reportedly asked that they be lumped in with everyone else, so the previous awards structure was abolished. The result, this year as last, suggests that the nominators and voting membership focus on contemporary work to the exclusion of nearly everyone and everything else.

The list of winners:

Choreography, long form: Loretta Livingston, “Leaving (Evidence)”

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Choreography, short form: Patrick Damon Rago, “Four Inches to the Left”

Performance, company: Loretta Livingston and Dancers, “Leaving (Evidence)”

Performance, small ensemble: Maria Gillespie and Stephan Nicoli, “The Quickening” (Helios)

Performance, male: Johnny Tu, “Two Views (an urban ocean has 29 eyes)” (Gamson)

Performance, female: Loretta Livingston, “Leaving (Evidence)”

Music: Robin Cox, “Leaving (Evidence)”

Set design: Lucas Reiner, “The Quickening”

Costume design: Anna Djanbazian, “What Is Inside Every Woman”

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Lighting design: Eileen Cooley, “Guran”

Revival, reconstruction, restaging: Rosanna Gamson, “Again Not Again”

Production of a festival or series: the Ford Amphitheatre summer dance series, produced by the L.A. County Arts Commission, Laura Zucker, executive director

Lifetime achievement: Simone Forti

Teaching: Douglas Nielsen

Furthering the visibility of dance: Debbie Allen

Innovation: Hassan Christopher

Service to the field: Danielle Brazell

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