PRESS RELEASE: Joan Myers Brown, Barbara Weisberger, and Sharon Gersten Luckman to be Honored by Dance/USA

March 4, 2013

Laura Henning
Phone: 202.833.1717

Washington, DC – Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance, announces its 2013 Honors Celebration Awardees:

Joan Myers Brown, the founder of The Philadelphia Dance Company also known as PHILADANCO! (1970) and The Philadelphia School of Dance Arts (1960) will receive the Dance/USA Honor. Ms. Brown has made significant contributions to the national and international arts communities. She has served a broad range of organizations, regionally and nationally, as a tireless advocate and spokesperson for dance and the Philadelphia community. Read more.

Barbara Weisberger, whose remarkable career in dance has been inextricably linked with the history of contemporary ballet in America, will receive the Ernie. Weisberger is the visionary leader, inspiring teacher, and founding artistic director of Pennsylvania Ballet, which she led from 1962-1982. Read more.

Sharon Gersten Luckman, long-standing executive director of the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation will receive the Trustees Award. Luckman has achieved an impressive record of program development; marketing, promotion and branding; fundraising; financial stability; and overall excellence in the field of arts management. Read more.

The awards will be given on Thurs., June 13, 2013 during the Dance/USA Honors Celebration, which is part of the Dance/USA Annual Conference being held June 12–15 in Philadelphia, PA.

“It is an honor for Dance/USA to salute three singular, spirited women. Their contributions to dance have created opportunity for countless dancers and audiences to celebrate and move the human spirit,” said Meg E. Booth, Chair, Dance/USA Board of Trustees.

“It is an honor to recognize these individuals who have contributed so much to the field of dance. They inspire us through their leadership, dedication, and innovation, which has been significant in moving our field forward,” said Dance/USA Executive Director, Amy Fitterer. Presented annually by the Dance/USA Board of Trustees, the Dance/USA Honor, Ernie, and Trustees awards are given to outstanding members of the national dance community. The Honor goes to an individual who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in the dance field through artistic excellence and/or force of vision. The Ernie, named for the late Ian (Ernie) Horvath, goes to an individual working “behind the scenes” in the dance field, who has significantly empowered artists and supported their creativity individually or as a community. And, the Trustees Award recognizes an outstanding professional whose work has special significance to the field.

Dance/USA is deeply grateful to DeWitt Stern Group for their support of the 2013 Dance/USA Honors Celebration.

About the Dance/USA 2013 Annual Conference
Dance/USA’s 2013 Annual Conference will take place in Philadelphia, PA from Wed., June 12–Sat., June 15, 2013. The conference is the country’s broadest gathering of dance professionals, including executive directors, artistic directors, company managers, choreographers, artists, presenters, agents, and others. This year’s conference includes more than 50 speakers who will conduct more than 20 educational sessions on a variety of highly relevant topics. Dance/USA is grateful to William Penn Foundation, Lead Funder, and American Harlequin Corporation and DeWitt Stern, Title Sponsors, for their support of the 2013 Annual Conference, as well as Host Partners the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and University of the Arts.

About Dance/USA
Dance/USA is the national service organization for the professional dance field. Established in 1982, Dance/USA serves a diverse national membership of over 490 dance groups working in the genres of aerial, ballet, contemporary, culturally-specific, hip-hop, ice, international, jazz, liturgical, single-choreographer, and tap, dance presenters, dance service organizations, dance agents, dance educators, independent dancers, freelance choreographers, students of arts administration and/or dance and business in service to dance, and individuals related to the field. Learn more about Dance/USA and our branch offices by visiting our website,

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