The Mary Beth Treen Award is presented annually during the Performing Arts Exchange to a respected member of the performing arts presenting and touring community. The award is named for Mary Beth Treen, now retired from Mary Beth Treen Artists Management, for her contributions to the performing arts presenting and touring field. For many years, Mary Beth served as a mentor for students, artists, managers, and presenters engaged in the presentation of the performing arts.
2017 Mary Beth Treen Award Recipient
Rosemary Johnson, Executive Director, Alabama Dance Council
Rosemary W. Johnson is Executive Director of the Alabama Dance Council, a statewide dance service organization working in partnership with the Alabama State Council on the Arts. Johnson has a 25-year history as a performing arts presenter – 10 years as a multidisciplinary presenter and 15 years as a dance presenter and producer of the Alabama Dance Festival. She initiated presenting nationally- and internationally-renowned dance companies at the Festival, including Donald Byrd/The Group, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Philadanco, Rennie Harris Puremovement, River North Chicago, Bridgman Packer Dance, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Battleworks Dance Company, Merce Cunningham Dance Company as part of the Legacy Tour, Ron K. Brown/EVIDENCE, Brazz Dance Theatre, Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, and Koresh Dance Company. In 2015, Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion returned to the Alabama Dance Festival and conducted a tri-city residency focusing on civil rights issues in Montgomery, Selma, and Birmingham. The 2016 Festival featured Jessica Lang Dance and the 2017 Festival included a ten-day residency with CONTRA-TIEMPO Urban Latin Dance Theatre. The 2018 Festival will present Ballet Memphis in partnership with UAB’s Alys Stephens Center as the Alabama Dance Council launches a two-year celebration of Alabama’s Bicentennial as a state.
With support from Dance/USA’s Engaging Dance Audiences, Johnson is launching a Community Forum Series in 2018, exploring cultural perspectives in Alabama that will take place in Birmingham, Montgomery, and Atmore, and involve five guest and ten local artists. Guest artists will be Rosy Simas, Rosie Herrera, Wideman/Davis Dance, Dahlia Nayar, and Zoe Scofield. The Alabama Dance Council is one of twenty-one organizations to receive funding in Round Four of the EDA program. These artists will also be featured at the 2019 Alabama Dance Festival.
Through Johnson’s curatorial vision, the Alabama Dance Festival is now one of the most important programs provided by the Alabama Dance Council because it connects and unites the Alabama dance community, raises the visibility of dance, and builds and engages dance audiences. Dancers and choreographers from Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee can perform and show their work, take a diverse curriculum of classes offered by nationally renowned artists, and see the work of their peers and colleagues. The featured guest company’s residency connects Alabama dancers and dance audiences to the national scene with opportunities to see and work with some of today’s most influential choreographers and their dance companies. According to The Birmingham News, “The annual Alabama Dance Festival has hosted some of the nation’s finest modern dance companies…teaching style, movement and choreography and otherwise elevating the state of dance in the South.”