Dancer/choreographer Michel Kouakou, a dance instructor at UCLA — yes, that would be the University of California, Los Angeles — with an whirling global background that began in his native Ivory Coast, has garnered the junior prize, the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Dance. This award, targeted at a next gen of immigrant artists, carries a $25,000 cash allocation.
In a nice touch that we love, the arts award (it rotates annually between genres — dance, visual arts, music, etc.) gets paired with a set of awards that recognize achievement in biomedical sciences. Yes, we love the coupling of the arts & sciences! Very progressive thinking, Vilceks!
- French-born Fanny Ara, traditional and modern flamenco performances and choreography;
- Vietnamese-born Thang Dao, performer and founder of the Thang Dao Dance Company;
- Italian-born Alice Gosti, a modern choreographer with a provocative piece Spaghetti Co.; and
- Swedish-born Pontus Lidberg, an interdisciplinary ballet choreographer and performer.
The Vilcek fortune stems from a biotech patent for anti-inflammatory drugs. Right on.
Congratulations all around~!
Photo, courtesy The Vilcek Foundation
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