The Dance/USA Awards have been given to extraordinary leaders in the dance field, both artists and administrators, over the past thirty years. The awards are a long-standing tradition of Dance/USA beginning in 1986 with the first Honor Awards given to Antony Tudor and Martha Graham and in 1990 with the first ‘Ernie’ Award given to Ian ‘Ernie’ Horvath. Over the years, outstanding leaders such as Arthur Mitchell, Paul Taylor, Alvin Ailey, Deborah Jowitt, Sam Miller, Katherine Dunham, and many more have been recognized for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the national dance field.
The Dance/USA Honor, ‘Ernie’, and Trustees Awards recognize an individual’s contributions to dance in America and acknowledges the roles they play in the national dance community. Nominations for Dance/USA’s Honor and ‘Ernie’ awards are accepted from the entire dance field, and the final selection is made by the Dance/USA Board of Trustees. The Trustees Award is given at the discretion of the Dance/USA Board of Trustees to recognize an outstanding professional whose work has special significance to the field.