With a shining bright smile, a short blonde 9-year-old boy named Luke Spring opened the evening with an impressive tap dance number, riling up the crowd like a smokey cabaret lounge cheering on a young prodigy.
For 30 years, the Fred and Adele Astaire Awards have been honoring the dancers and choreographers that have gone over looked by mainstream recognition.
As producer and welcoming speaker and Patricia Watt puts it, "We're here in the middle of awards season and dancers have yet to be recognized. Well, we're here to change all that."
The show was held at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at New York University and was directed by NYC Dance Alliance founder, Joe Lanteri, and was full of touching speakers and astounding performances from Fosse and Newsies.
Overarching the theatrical evening was the presentation of the Douglas Watt Lifetime Achievement Award, won by Liza Minnelli. Between swiftly elegant dance numbers, friends such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Joe Morton, Tony Danza, and Chita Rivera praised the talents and friendship of Ms. Minnelli, who in return was so enamored, walked right toward the audience, threw up her arms and smiled, "I feel more alive onstage than anywhere else because I'm with you."
The inspiring display of stunning talent and rich history was a benefit for the Douglas Watt Family Fund for the Performing Arts’ Dance & Movement Therapy Program for autistic children.
Photo Credit: Patrick McMullan/TheAstaireAwards.org