Ottawa, October 12, 2005 — The Canada Council for the Arts announced that Vancouver-based flamenco dancer Oscar Nieto is the winner of the Jacqueline Lemieux Prize. It is the first time that the award goes to a flamenco artist.
The Jacqueline Lemieux Prize, valued at $6,000, is awarded annually to the most deserving applicant in the Dance Section' Grants to Dance Professionals program. The prize is awarded in memory of Jacqueline Lemieux and her contribution to Canadian dance. Co-founder with her husband, Lawrence Gradus, of the Montreal dance company Entre-Six and of Québec Été Danse, a summer school in Lennoxville, Jacqueline Lemieux was a teacher, administrator and a member of the Canada Council for the Arts Advisory Panel. Recent winners of this Prize include Toronto dancer and choreographer Sarah Chase (2004); and Vancouver choreographer Joe Laughlin (2003). Click on this link to view the full list of past winners: Jacqueline Lemieux Prize - Full list of winners.
The prize will be presented to Oscar Nieto following his performance of Poemas de Alegria, presented by Mozaico Flamenco Dance Theatre, on the evening of Saturday, October 16 at Vancouver's Norman Rothstein Theatre. Mr. Nieto is the company's artistic director.
The winner of the Jacqueline Lemieux Prize is chosen by a peer assessment committee. The committee consisted of Esmeralda Enrique (Toronto), José Navas (Montreal) and Lynda Raino (Victoria, BC).
Oscar Nieto was selected in recognition of his long standing contribution to the art of flamenco in Canada. The selection committee said: "Oscar Nieto still puts the stage on fire when he performs! He has never ceased to innovate and challenge himself. Over the years, he has kept his foot on the pulse of flamenco development and also kept his students abreast of these new developments. As one of very few senior male flamenco dancers in this country, he is leaving an important legacy for flamenco dance across Canada."
Born in Texas and raised in Los Angeles; Oscar Nieto began dancing at the age of eight under the musical influences of Tex-Mex rock and pop, show tunes, musicals, jazz, Latin, Mexican and Spanish music and dance. He launched his professional career in Antonio Gades' production of El Amor Brujo at the Chicago Lyric Opera House in 1969, and has built his reputation as a dancer performing with the Jose Greco Company, Lola Montes, the Boston Flamenco Ballet, and Jose Antonio Ballet Siluetas (Madrid). Mr. Nieto worked with Ciro in New Orleans and Chicago. Furthermore he has choreographed for the Vancouver Opera, and most recently performed with his dance company Mozaico Flamenco Dance Theatre with the Vancouver Symphony.
Oscar Nieto has dedicated years to the study of the origins of flamenco, regional and classical Spanish dance forms. He is a fountain of knowledge from a cultural-historical standpoint. In 1998, Mr. Nieto received a Canada Council for the Arts grant to study the evolution of flamenco and Spanish dance in Spain. In 2004, he received a British Columbia Arts Council grant to remount Espiritu Sin Nombre (Spirit Without Name), a multi-media dance, music and art presentation that was based on a poem by Spanish writer and poet, Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer. Mr. Nieto is currently working on a documentary on the life of his mentor, Lola Montes. This year he received a Canada Council grant to assist him in the development of this documentary. In 2003 he was dubbed "a flamenco Fred Astaire" by the Los Angeles Times.
Oscar Nieto is one of North America' most acclaimed flamenco dancers, and divides his teaching year between Los Angeles and Vancouver. In addition to wearing several hats such as artistic director, choreographer, dancer, and singer, his latest passions are videography and the preservation of flamenco and Spanish dance. You can visit his web site at www.oscarnieto.com.
The Canada Council for the Arts, in addition to its principal role of promoting and fostering the arts in Canada, administers and awards nearly 100 prizes and fellowships in the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health sciences and engineering. Among these are the Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts, the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Awards, the Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prizes, the Governor General' Literary Awards, the Governor General' Awards in Visual and Media Arts and the Killam Prizes.
For more information about these prizes, including nomination procedures, contact Janet Riedel Pigott, Acting Director of Endowments and Prizes, at (613) 566-4414 or 1 800‑263‑5588, ext. 5041, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Danielle Sarault, Acting Endowments and Prizes Officer, at (613) 566-4414, or 1-800- 263-5588, ext. 4116, e-mail: email@example.com.
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