Crazy Smooth awarded Banff Centre Choreography Award

Street dancers rehearse on stage

August 11, 2020, Banff, AB – Ottawa and Montreal-based choreographer Crazy Smooth has been enthusiastically selected by an esteemed panel of jurors to receive Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity’s 2020 Clifford E. Lee Choreography Award. Crazy Smooth, one of Canada’s top street dancers, has been instrumental in preserving and growing this art form around the world. He is Founder and Artistic Director of Bboyizm, an award-winning street dance company.

We are proud to recognize the work of Crazy Smooth with the Clifford E. Lee Choreography Award. This is a strong statement of support for hip-hop within the community of contemporary dance in Canada. With his current project, In My Body, Banff Centre also has the potential to support and celebrate the artistry of his intergenerational cast of dancers. We are looking forward to having this visionary dance company on our campus as health and gathering restrictions allow.

Janice Price, Banff Centre President and CEO

As recipient of this award, Crazy Smooth will receive a cash prize of $14,000 CAD along with two residencies at Banff Centre to develop and launch a national tour of In My Body. A new full-length work, In My Body is an intensely athletic investigation of the evolution of self and the effects of aging on street dancers.

Upon receiving the exciting news that I was chosen as the 2020 recipient of the Clifford E. Lee Choreography Award, I was transported back to the days that I would attend contemporary dance programs at the National Arts Centre (Ottawa) and think “street dance has a place on this stage”. What I believed then, I know now.

The recognition that comes with this honour is as much humbling as it is gratifying, for both myself and my community. With the additional support from this award, I will be able to expand my creative team and my creative process to more fully realize the best version of my vision for In My Body. I look forward to sharing it with audiences in Banff and beyond. A heartfelt thank you to the jury for entrusting me with this role. Dance to express, not to impress!

Crazy Smooth

Presented by Banff Centre, the Clifford E. Lee Choreography Award was established in 1978 by the Clifford E. Lee Foundation to encourage the development of Canadian choreographers. The Award is adjudicated every two years by a panel of jurors. This year’s competition included 18 outstanding nominations from across Canada. On the selection committee for the 2020 Award were:

Andrea Peña – Artistic Director of Andrea Peña & Artists and 2018 recipient of the Clifford E. Lee Choreography Award
Alejandro Ronceria – founding director of the Indigenous Dance program at Banff Centre, and director of its Intercultural Indigenous Choreographers Creation Lab
Ilter Ibrahimof – Artistic Director of Fall for Dance North
Nathan Medd, Managing Director of Performing Arts at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

Celebrating the recognition of Crazy Smooth’s extensive artistic journey, and the history of b-boy practices within the Canadian dance landscape, is an honour.

Andrea Peña

In addition to Peña, past recipients of the Clifford E. Lee Choreography Award include: Allen Kaeja, Andrew Giday, Bengt Jörgen, Benjamin Hatcher, Christopher House, Constantine Patsalis, Crystal Pite, D.A. Hoskins, David Earle, Donald Sales, Edward Hillyer, Gabrielle Lamb, Gaetan Gingras, Gioconda Barbuto, Heather Myer, Howard Richard, Jennifer Mascall, Joe Laughlin, Judith Marcuse, Lola MacLaughlin, Mark Godden, Martine Epoque, Mauryne Allan, Michael Downing, Peter Quanz, Randy Glynn, Renald Rabu, Robert Glumbek, Robert Stephen, Sabrina Matthews, Shaun Hounsell, Simone Orlando, Stephanie Ballard, and Wen Wei Wang.

Crazy Smooth will bring the company of In My Body to Banff Centre to advance the project when Banff Centre can healthfully reopen to in-person activity following all health and gathering guidelines. In My Body is a co-production of The CanDance Network Creation Fund, Brian Webb Dance Company, Yukon Arts Centre, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, dance Immersion and Canadian Stage, supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Street Dancers pose on stage