Astaire Awards to Honor Choreographer Pat Birch and Dance Instructor Luigi
14 Apr 2014
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN
The 32nd Annual Fred and Adele Astaire Awards will honor five-time Tony Award nominee and two-time Emmy Award-winning choreographer Pat Birch with its Douglas Watt Lifetime Achievement Award June 2 at NYU's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.
The 7:30 PM ceremony will also honor legendary dancer and dance instructor Luigi with the Outstanding Achievement in the Preservation of Musical Theatre Award.
The nominees for this year's awards will be announced May 5. The Astaire Awards categories are Outstanding Male Dancer in a Broadway Show, Outstanding Female Dancer in a Broadway Show, Outstanding Choreographer for a Broadway Show, Outstanding Choreographer for Film and Outstanding Director for Dance Documentary.
The Astaire Awards, according to press notes, "is the only awards show to honor excellence in dance and choreography on Broadway and in film and were first started in 1982 by the late Fred Astaire and the late Douglas Watt (a critic and writer for the NY Daily News and The New Yorker, his 100th birthday would be this year)."
American choreographer and director Birch began her career as a dancer in Broadway musicals, including Brigadoon, Goldilocks and West Side Story, and as a soloist with Martha Graham and Agnes de Mille. She earned Tony Award nominations for her choreography of the original Broadway productions of Grease, Over Here!, Pacific Overtures, Music Is and Parade. Birch has directed and choreographed music videos for Cyndi Lauper, the Rolling Stones and Carly Simon and also choreographed numbers on "Saturday Night Live" for six years.
Born Eugene Louis Faccuito in Steubenville, OH, and nicknamed Luigi from Gene Kelly, as a dancer he appeared in over 40 films including "An American in Paris," "Annie Get Your Gun," "On the Town," "Singin' in the Rain," "The Band Wagon" and "White Christmas." The exercise routine he created for his own rehabilitation after a devastating accident became the world's first complete technique for learning jazz dance. His students have included Liza Minnelli, Ben Vereen, Tony Roberts and Susan Stroman.
Each year The Astaire Awards gives a special Adele Astaire Scholarship to a young, up-and-coming dancer, and the awards are presented each year by Patricia Watt (the daughter of Douglas Watt).
The Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at New York University is located at 566 LaGuardia Place. For more information and tickets, visit TheAstaireAwards.org.