About the Award
In 1996, Toronto dance critic Paula Citron inaugurated a prize to recognize the accomplishments of independent choreographers. She chose as the annual recipient, an artist participating in the fFIDA International Dance Festival because the event was the largest gathering of its kind in Canada. The chosen artist was given a cheque equal to his or her fFIDA entrance fee.
With the demise of fFIDA in 2007, the award went into hiatus. In 2009, choreographer Malgorzata Nowacka curated an evening called Fresh Blood that featured emerging choreographers. Ms. Citron was asked to resurrect the Paula Citron Dance Award, and the winner, chosen by Ms. Citron. received a monetary prize.
In the same mode, Ms. Citron also funded the Paula Citron Dance Award for Best Choreography for the Camera as chosen by the jury at the Moving Pictures Festival of Dance on Film and Video. Alas, that festival is no longer in existence either.
Ms. Citron always preferred the word “recipient”, rather than “winner” because these award were not about the first among equals. Rather than separating out “the best” dance piece in an egalitarian festival, Ms. Citron’s very subjective criteria was to choose a work that compels attention for any number of reasons—an impressive first choreography, highly sophisticated craftsmanship, difficult or unusual subject matter, innovative dance vocabulary, and so on.
The object of the Paula Citron Dance Awards was, is and perhaps will be, to congratulate an independent choreographer on his or her artistry in a world where recognition for the “indie” is few and far between. Ms. Citron also hoped that the award would act as an encouragement for the choreographer to carry on in the lonely, and often difficult, pursuit of his or her craft.
Ms. Citron is willing to bring either of these awards back to life should any opportunity present itself.