In May, Debbie Allen will join an exclusive group of American dance greats, joining courageous names like Carmen de Lavallade, Bill T. Jones, Twyla Tharp, Michail Baryshnikov, Ginger Rogers, Alvin Ailey and Gene Kelly as the Kennedy Center Honoree.
The annual awards for those who have made outstanding cultural contributions through the performing arts have postponed the December 2020 celebration due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Kennedy Center Honors are now working on plans for an adjusted series of virtual honors for the week of May 17th. The possibility of small personal events on the Kennedy Center campus will be examined as security protocols evolve.
The 43rd group of winners includes Allen, the singer-songwriter and activist Joan Baez, the country-singer-songwriter Garth Brooks, the violinist Midori and the actor Dick Van Dyke.
Anyone who also took home a 2020 dance magazine award is perhaps best known for her portrayal of dance teacher Lydia Grant in “Fame” on television. Her decades-long career spans stage and screen as a performer, choreographer, director and producer. Today she inspires and promotes young artists through her Los Angeles-based Debbie Allen Dance Academy.
Although Van Dyke, now 95, is best known for his comedic acting, he’s also known for his iconic dance roles such as Albert Peterson on Broadway and film versions of Bye Bye Birdie, and as the lovable chimney sweep Bert in Disney’s 1964 hit Mary Poppins . He often sang and danced on television alongside Mary Tyler Moore on his popular “Dick Van Dyke Show”.
Details of virtual programming in May to celebrate these winners will be posted on the Kennedy Center website at a later date.