New York City contemporary choreographer Pam Tanowitz is honored with a 2020 Doris Duke Artist Award. The coveted honor comes with a $275,000 grant, of which $250,000 is unrestricted and $25,000 is designed to encourage savings for retirement.

Tanowitz said:  “As a choreographer, I’m most driven by the people I collaborate with in the studio, and because I like to work with a large team, I’ve always prioritized them before myself for the sake of the work. With this unique support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, I will no longer have to choose. For the first time, I will be able to invest in my own well-being worry free and continue to prioritize my collaborators.”

Pam Tanowitz is a celebrated contemporary choreographer and collaborator known for her unflinchingly post-modern treatment of classical dance vocabulary. In 2000, she founded Pam Tanowitz Dance (PTD) to explore dance-making with a consistent community of dancers and has been manipulating and abstracting formal dance structures to draw upon the virtuosic skills of the PTD dancers ever since. Pam Tanowitz Dance was selected by The New York Times Best of Dance series in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019. Her 2018 creation of “Four Quartets,” inspired by T.S. Eliot’s literary masterpiece and set to music by Kaija Saariaho, was called “the greatest creation of dance theater so far this century” by The New York Times. They also referred to her 2017 dance, “New Work for Goldberg Variations,” created in collaboration with pianist Simone Dinnerstein, as a “rare achievement.” Tanowitz’s most recent work and first commission for the Royal Ballet, “Everyone Keeps Me,” was lauded by The Guardian, which noted that her “delicate, calm choreography” was filled with “inventiveness that constantly surprises.”

In January 2019, Tanowitz was named the first-ever choreographer in residence at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College. She has additionally been recognized with many awards and prizes, including the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, the Juried Bessie Award, an Outstanding Production Bessie Award, a Foundation for Contemporary Arts award, the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, a City Center Choreography Fellowship and the Baryshnikov Arts Center Cage Cunningham Fellowship. She holds degrees from The Ohio State University and Sarah Lawrence College, and is currently a visiting guest artist at Rutgers University.

About the Doris Duke Artist Awards

The Doris Duke Artist Awards invest in exemplary individual artists in contemporary dance, jazz, theater and related interdisciplinary work who have demonstrated their artistic vitality and commitment to their field. The award is not a lifetime achievement award. Instead, it is a deep investment in the potential of dedicated performing artists, empowering them through the freedom of unrestricted support to take creative risks, explore new ideas and pay for important professional and personal needs not typically funded by project-related grants. Each Doris Duke Artist receives an award of $275,000. A total of $250,000 of the prize is completely unrestricted, and $25,000 is dedicated to encouraging retirement savings.

As one of many ways the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is increasing its support to individual artists in response to the impacts of Covid-19 on the performing arts sector, the foundation is expanding the number of artists receiving Doris Duke Artist Awards to a total of eight for 2020, up from six the previous year – resulting in a collective $2.2 million investment in this year’s award winners. While the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation initially conceived the Doris Duke Artists Awards as part of a larger $50 million special initiative that finished in 2017, recognition of the program’s importance in helping artists thrive spurred the foundation to cement a place for the flexible awards in its core strategy to support the performing arts. With the 2020 class, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation will have awarded nearly $33.5 million to 122 noteworthy artists through the Doris Duke Artist Awards since May 2012.