Answers4Dancers is celebrating Dan Watt's Chita Rivera Award for his touching documentary film.
We promised to share the inside story of Dan Watt’s Chita Rivera Award win for 'Everybody Dance' which won for Outstanding Direction of a Documentary Release. .
I went to see Chita Rivera when I was 16-years old at the Palace Theatre in Cleveland. After the show, I went to the stage door because I wanted to ask her if she had any advice for someone who just started dancing a year prior.
Chita was so gracious and gave me her time and answered my question - She said:
‘Try to be in dance class every day - Keep your eyes open and always be learning (I didn’t know what that meant at the time but it made sense years later) - Be observant of life’s lessons - and then she said, Take the next job and the next job and the next job and then the next job, and one day you will look up and have a career.’
That happened to me that night at the Chita Rivera Awards - a full circle moment, 40 years later and I could share this story with everyone in the theatre and thank her personally for giving a new dancer some of her time. I hope others take Chita’s advice because it worked for me!! And I ended the story with hashtag LISTEN TO CHITA ??
We asked if there were any other highlights from that evening? Dan shared these details with us:
Derek Hough came out and joined host Jared Grimes to announce the nominees in my category. What an honor to have such an accomplished dancer, producer, and director give me my award.
Bebe Neuwirth watched my film when it first came out and sent me a very lovely note about it. When I was coming off stage, she greeted me with a hug and huge congratulations. She was backstage getting ready to present and was so excited for me that she came to the stage to congratulate ME - a bit surreal.
Chita and I chatted at the reception following but I’m gonna keep those words close to my heart for now.
Then we asked Dan if he had any final thoughts?
If my film can educate, enlighten, or raise awareness about the importance of inclusion for someone, and that arts education benefits everyone, then I’ve done my job.
You have indeed done your job and more, Dan when you created a film with such a powerful message and the ability to reach deep into the hearts of dancers and lovers of dance. Thank you for this gift, Dan Watt!