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HomeDCNT Honors
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Honoring Dedication...

Dance Council of North Texas Honors
Reception . Awards . Performance . Silent Auction

August 31, 2014 . 2PM .
Dallas City Performance Hall
Each year, the Dance Council of North Texas celebrates the accomplishments of individuals for their lifetime contribution; artistic and educational achievement; and service to the community. The awards are named for four talented and prestigious names in the dance community of North Texas: Mary McLarry Bywaters (founder of Dance Council) award for lifetime achievement to dance, Natalie Skelton (Founder of Dance Council) award for artistic excellence, Mary Warner (Initial Board Member of DCTV) award for outstanding service to dance, Larry White (Premier Dance Educator at SMU) dance educator award, and the Texas Tap Legend award. The afternoon recognizes excellence of education, performance, and community support for dance in Texas. 
Tickets available through beginning August 1

The date and venue aren’t the only changes attendees will notice this year.
DCNT is also pleased to announce the renaming of the Texas Tap Legend Award in honor of Buster Cooper,
who passed away in March at the age of 90. A Dallas tap icon, Cooper will be honored
with the final Texas Tap Legend award.
2014 Dance Council Honors Recipients

Nita Braun ~ Mary Bywaters Award for Lifetime Achievement to Dance
Nita Braun was dedicated to the art of teaching and inspiring all she knew to love the art of dance. Her teaching career spanned nearly 35 years, 25 of which were spent running Nita Braun’s Talent Workshop in Farmers Branch, TX. Braun’s passion for dance also extended beyond her studio. Bubbling with energy and enthusiasm, for many years she served as a Secretary and a Vice President of the Dallas Dance Council, working to expand dance in Dallas through education, outreach, and performance. Dr. Rosann Cox commented on “her commitment and dedication to the art of teaching that was reflected in her resolute pursuit of excellence tempered by her compassion and guidance.” Former colleague, Jo Ann Robertson remembers Nita’s infectious laugh and warm smile. “She was the great encourager.” Married for 56 years to Philip Henry Braun, a chemical engineer and World War II veteran, they raised four children - Cathie, Mary, Lisa, and Griff. Mary and Griff had successful New York dance careers, she as assistant director and dance captain with the Rockettes and he as a solo ballet dancer with nationally recognized companies. Nita Braun passed away in January, 2012 at the age of 85.

Dylis Croman ~ Natalie Skelton Award for Artistic Excellence

Dallas native Dylis Croman is best known  for her success on Broadway in shows, including Sweet Charity, Fosse, A Chorus Line, Applause, Oklahoma! and her role as Roxie Hart in Chicago. Known for her sassy style and strong technique, Dylis has had a successful 14 year career performing in concert dance and Broadway productions. A quintessential ballerina, Croman danced with the renowned Eliot Feld’s FeldBallets/NY (now Ballet Tech Company) before becoming Ann Reinking’s assistant and eventually a Fosse aficionado and legacy keeper. In 1995 wkjjhen a student at Booker T. Washington HSPVA, she received the Presidential Scholar in the Arts for Jazz Dance from President Bill Clinton. Her TV credits include “Guiding Light” and PBS ‘Great Performances: Dance in America.” She is an occasional guest artist with contemporary choreographer Ron de Jesus’s RDJ Dance Company based in Chicago. This year Croman was the guest star for DCNT’s Dance Planet 18 festival where she both taught and performed.

Beth Wortley ~ Larry White Dance Educator Award

Beth Wortley is Chair of the Performing Arts Department and Director of the Dance program at The Hockaday School, Dallas, TX. She has been teaching at the school for more than twenty-five years. Growing up in Dallas, Beth Wortley studied classical ballet, jazz dance and modern dance. She earned a BFA in Theater from University of Texas at Austin and a MFA in dance from Southern Methodist University. After serving as Artistic Director of Ballet of Dallas, Beth headed to Boston where she taught at Tufts University and Boston University. Christie Sullivan, former student and educator knows that she “owes her career in dance to Beth.” And Alex Karigan finds her “poise, dependability and creativity inspiring.” Beth also inaugurated the liturgical dance activities at First United Methodist Church in Dallas. She has choreographed countless musicals for local theaters and high schools throughout the area including the Rotunda Theater.

Suzie Jary ~ Mary Warner Award for Outstanding Service to Dance

Suzie Jary is recognized nationally as a specialist in the issues facing performing and creative artists. As a LCSW, TEP, a licensed Clinical Social Worker and Trainer, she has been providing psychotherapy and counseling in the areas of addiction, mental health, grief and loss and career development. She is full time faculty at Weatherford College, Weatherford, TX. Jary has spoken internationally and domestically about artists' career development and career transition issues. She is a Client Services Consultant for Career Transition for Dancers, a not-for-profit organization.  Retired modern dancer, Elizabeth Van Fleck, calls Suzie “a vital link to hope before, during and after transitions for countless dancers.”  
Suzie studied at the Margo Dean School of Ballet and is a charter dancer in Dean’s Ballet Concerto. Jary’s dance career took her to Broadway in musical theater to perform in New York, on National Tours and across Europe.

Joe Cutaia & Ann Briggs-Cutaia ~ Buster Cooper Texas Tap Legend

Ann and Joe Cutaia co-own and direct The Chaplin Cotillions, LLC and travel extensively conducting etiquette and ballroom classes for students. For several years they have been key members of the DCNT Tap Committee and are dedicated to creating an outstanding National Tap Dance Day Festival.
Joe Cutaia trained with Buster Cooper and has studied in Dallas, New York and Chicago. His professional experiences include the Broadway touring companies of Little Me, George M, Unsinkable Molly Brown, Brigadoon and Hello Dolly. Cutaia has worked with the Film Labs at Las Colinas, Lou Diamond Phillips, DSM Musical Theatre School, and the Dallas Children’s Theatre and has been a featured dancer in industrial productions and television commercials. Besides chairing the DCNT National Tap Dance Day celebration committee, he is co-choreographer of the DCNT Hoofin’ Crew. Ann and he were selected to attend the final taping of Dancing with Stars representing Dallas.
Ann Briggs-Cutaia studied dance with Texie Waterman and Buster Cooper among others. She earned a BFA in dance from Southern Methodist University and a MS in Counseling and Development from Texas Woman’s University. Her professional career includes Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, various commercials, television shows and movies in the United States and Japan. A successful teacher and dance team director, Ann owned the Ann Briggs Showworks and her studio, The Dance Lab (Allen). Briggs-Cutaia previously taught at L.D. Bell and Allen High Schools (in Hurst and Allen) and Margie’s School of Dance (Mesquite). Ann is also very involved in the production of the annual DCNT National Tap Dance Day Festival at the State Fair Music Hall.

Buster Cooper ~ Texas Tap Legend

Beginning dance lessons at age 10, Buster Cooper launched his professional career at age 17. He attended a dance teacher’s workshop in Chicago and was asked to stand in for Fred Kelly, Gene’s brother.  After serving in WW II, Cooper performed around Chicago and in New York. He moved to Dallas to direct one of Fred Astaire’s dance studios. The next year he opened his studio where for the next 52 years The Buster Cooper School of Dance was the school for tap dance training. Buster never stopped teaching, even until the last year of his life. He inspired DCNT’s National Tap Dance Celebrations and danced at the annual group shim sham-athon.  Buster’s career included choreographing challenging quick tempo routines and shows in Las Vegas, Broadway and for the Seattle World’s Fair. Former student, Tracy Jordan, director of the DS M High School Musical Theatre Awards, remarked, “I have rarely encountered tap choreography that was as challenging as Buster’s.”  Buster passed away in March, 2104.

Click here to read the 2014 DC Honoree Press Release
Past recipients include such luminaries as Nathalie Krassovska, Tom Adams, Ben Stevenson,
Patsy Swayze, Ann Williams, Anita N. Martinez and Veletta Forsythe-Lill.
See more award recipients in the Honors Awards Hall of Fame.

Would you like to nominate someone? Click here.
Deadline: Spring 2015


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