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Lauren Putty White receives 2013 Ellen Forman Memorial Award


Lauren Putty White has been named the winner of the 2013-2014 Ellen Forman Memorial Award. The award consists of a $2,000 cash prize and production costs for setting a work on the dance company at Drexel University during the 2013-2014 academic year.

The Ellen Forman Memorial Award supports Philadelphia-area choreographers by giving them the opportunity to set a work on Drexel University’s Dance Ensemble as part of the Drexel Dance Program. Award decisions are made by the EFMA Advisory Committee. Since its establishment in 1991, the Fund has granted 18 awards. The Ellen Forman Memorial Fund, a component fund administered by The Philadelphia Foundation, also has endowed a dance studio in Ms. Forman’s name at Drexel University; Drexel is a co-sponsor of this award.

Lauren Putty White is fast becoming an important regional artist. After receiving her BFA from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia in 2005, she made her professional choreography debut at the 2005 Elan Awards in New York, where she restaged her senior piece “The Third Layer.” She continued to perform with Washington Reflections, Urban Bush Woman II, Parsons Dance Company and the Opera Company of Philadelphia. During these years, she received the Individual Artist Fellowship Grant in Baltimore, MD.  In April 2010 Lauren premiered her piece “Hide” with the Ballet X company in Philadelphia. Her work “Sleeping in Wonderland” was selected as part of the Regional Dance America showcase in Pittsburgh in 2011. Currently, Lauren is a company member with the Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco) and continues to perform with her own company, Putty Dance Project.

The Ellen Forman Memorial Fund was established by friends and colleagues under the auspices of The Philadelphia Foundation in memory of Ellen Forman, a dancer and choreographer, who died before her time in 1990 at the age of 45. Ms. Forman co-founded the South Street Dance Company, one of Philadelphia’s first professional modern dance companies. This ground-breaking company received support from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Pew Memorial Trust and William Penn Foundation. For over a decade, SSDC presented new works in Philadelphia. As part of her belief in education and outreach to students, Ellen created a workshop program combining dance, theatre and visual arts in conjunction with Young Audiences.  Among many accomplishments, she is known for her production of a series of annual concerts called Body/Language which were staged at the Painted Bride Arts Center, and for her tribute to Isadora Duncan, an exemplification of her love of both the movement and the music.

The Philadelphia Foundation is Southeastern Pennsylvania’s leading center for community philanthropic engagement. For more than 90 years, the Foundation has been committed to improving the quality of life  in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties. As a public charity community foundation, it manages more than 800 charitable funds, maximizing the strategic impact of charitable contributions. It supports the intentions of individual, family, business and organizational donors who have established permanent charitable funds to help the region meet the challenges of changing times. The Foundation invests and administers these funds and awards the distributions — about $20 million a year to nearly 1,000 area organizations – as grants and scholarships.  The Foundation’s work is overseen by a volunteer board of leading citizens and run by professionals with expertise in the region’s needs.

- Steven Weisz

Founder & Editor
While not a dancer himself, Weisz’s love for the arts and dance started as a child growing up in New York City. With parents, who were strong supporters of the arts and part of a community with an incredible array of notable artists in music, dance, theater and fine arts, Weisz’s access and affinity for the performing arts took root. Upon attending college in Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania in the mid 70’s, Weisz started performing as a puppeteer, magician, juggler and fire eater as a means of supplementing his income. This soon grew in to what became Rainbow Promotions Inc., one of the largest entertainment and special events producers in the region. It was here that he began to promote and book dance for major events throughout the city. Many of the dancers he worked with in the early days of his company are now major choreographers in Philadelphia. At the same time, Weisz’s interest in computers and the early developments of what is now known as the Internet, led him to also start another company, Delaware Valley On Line, which became one of the first regional ISPs. It was this combination of event production, internet development and event marketing that led him to examine the use of the internet as a means to promote the arts. Dance continued to be a major interest for Weisz and in 2005 he founded PhiladelphiaDANCE.org as a major online resource to promote dance in the city. It was soon after that the Dance Journal was also founded as a way to provide an outlet for writing on a range of topics that encompass the ever growing and emerging dance community in the region. Weisz continues to run both PhiladelphiaDANCE and The Dance Journal on purely a voluntary basis with no income derived from any of his projects. He is also the Artistic Director of Graffito Works, a unique platform for dancers and performing artists to create site-specific work and to make it readily accessible to the public.

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