2015 SAGE AWARDS | October 13, 2015


The SAGE Awards for Dance– An intimate evening with the Minnesota dance community.


How Does It Work?

How Does the SAGE Award Program Work?

What are the award categories?

Specific guidelines for each of the six SAGE Award categories:

The award categories are:

  • Outstanding Dance Performance
  • Outstanding Dance Performers
  • Outstanding Dance Ensemble
  • Outstanding Design
  • Outstanding Dance Educator
  • Special Citation

Awards for Outstanding Performance: 2 awards maximum
A show, a work or piece of choreography from the past season. An audience must be present at the performance. Interdisciplinary work can be considered. Award will go to the creator or creators of the performance.

Awards for Outstanding Performer: 2 awards maximum
A single dancer or dancers in an ensemble or a group from the past season. No limit to number of performers in a group. Again, an audience must be present at performance.

Awards for Outstanding Ensemble: 1 award maximum
A group of dancers in an ensemble from the past season. No minimum or maximum number of performers in a group. Again, an audience must be present at performance.

Outstanding Design Award: 2 awards maximum
This award goes to an artist (or group of artists) that created work in the areas of costume design, lighting design, music composition/sound design, set design, installation works, or film/video during the past season.

Outstanding Dance Educator: 1 award only
This award was added by request for the 06/07 panel. It awards one dance educator/teacher for their commitment and accomplishment in the field of dance education. This award can include efforts from past seasons or over a career.

Special Citation Award: 1 award only
This final award is available to anyone who has a strong connection to the field of dance in Minnesota. It is completely up to the panel’s discretion. The committee wanted to leave an award available to those who strongly support the field of dance in some way, but that don’t fall into the above categories. We discussed teachers, administrators, funders, patrons and many other options. This award also may include efforts or work from past seasons or over a longer period. We have started it off by naming the awards in honor of Sage Cowles.

Who can receive a Sage Award?

Guidelines for Sage Award consideration:
In order to qualify for any of the four Sage Award categories, a nominee must:

  • Fall within the current season, between September 1st and August 31st.
  • Be a Minnesota based artist or group, with Minnesota as their primary residence.
  • All members of the award panel and committee are eligible for consideration.
  • Any and all dance activities are considered. Dance is dance.

How are the Minnesota Sage Awards chosen?

The first year’s panel was created by suggestions from the planning committee. It was decided to include community member from many different dance arenas such as performers, dance makers, educators, writers, administrators & avid audience members. Since then, additional recommendations have been made by outgoing SAGE panelists. If you are interested in becoming a future panel member, please contact us at info (at) sageawards.org .

Panelists are required to attend 6 bi-monthly panel meetings. It is highly recommend that at least two panel members attend each performance if at all possible, so that a thoughtful and fair discussion can be assured. Performances are identified through the weekly Dance Newsletter (through dancemn.org), as well by panelists communicating with one another about upcoming shows.

Panelists are asked to keep programs from each performance attended throughout the season for reference during deliberations, as well as keep careful notes about each performance attended to maintain vital memories about performances. The final decisions are made in a longer meeting after the season has finished in early September. Stuart Pimsler and/or Dana Kassel attend all the meetings and act as a liason between the Sage Award committee guidelines and the panel of decision makers.

Panels consist of 12-14 dance community members in a given year and their identity remains concealed during the season, until the award ceremony.

Thank you to all panelists past and present for their passion and commitment to the program.

How do the panelists get tickets?

Arrangements are being made to make comp tickets available to a limited number of panelists for each performance. Venues that are generously providing comp tickets include: Bloomington Civic Theater, Bedlam Theater, Southern Theater, Walker Art Center, Ritz Theater, Sewell Ballet, Intermedia Arts, Guthrie Theater, Kinetic Kitchen, Christopher Watson Dance, the Lab, Capri Theater, MN Schubert Club, O’Shaughnessy Auditorium, Metropolitan Ballet, Bryant Lake Bowl, MN Fringe Festival, MN Opera and many others. Thank you to everyone who has helped make these arrangements possible.

How do the panelists decide what shows to see?

Information is provided during the season through the weekly Dance Artists Newsletter, as well from publicity and panel information sharing. To widen its reach and scope we ask panelists to tell their community members to send performance announcements for inclusion. They can send all text-only announcements to news@dancemn.org Announcements must be received by noon each Monday to be included in that Wednesday’s newsletter.

In addition, panelists are encourage to keep their eyes and ears open to other dance events – – and to spread the word via email to their fellow panel members about anything they find.

Advisory Committee

Throughout its history, the program has had informal advisors to the proceedings. Many advisors are past panelists and familiar with the details of the awards. In the past few years the panel became more formalized for funding reasons. The current advisors include:

  • Penelope Freeh, Dancer and Choreographer
  • Chris Holman, Dance Enthusiast and Choreographer
  • Megan Mayer, Dancer and Choreographer
  • Chris Schlichting, Dancer and Choreographer
  • Linda Shapiro, Dance Writer, Teacher & Choreographer
  • Michèle Steinwald, Independent Curator and Producer
  • Laurie Van Wieren, Director of 9 x 22 Dance Lab, Dancer & Choreographer