Northwest Dance Project’s Franco Nieto wins 2012 Princess Grace Award!



Northwest Dance Project is proud and honored to announce that another of our company members, Franco Nieto, has won the most prestigious and coveted award in dance, the Princess Grace Award (company member Andrea Parson won in 2010). The award is given to only up to six outstanding dancers a year who are training and dancing with the country’s best dance companies and institutions.

“I can’t believe this, it’s amazing. When they told me I won, I started shaking with disbelief. I never imagined winning anything like this, it’s such an honor. And the best was telling my dad — I was so overwhelmed telling him the news, uncontrollable tears ran down my face and I was unable to catch my breath. He had to say to me, ‘calm down, breathe, Franco. I’m proud of you and you totally deserve it.’ That meant the world to me.” Nieto says. “I don’t think it’s really hit me how special and important this is.”

“THIS IS HUGE,” notes Northwest Dance Project Artistic Director, Sarah Slipper, “there really isn’t a more selective, competitive or prestigious award for a dancer. Not only does it honor Franco’s amazing story (turning from football to dance as a teen, made even more poignant that his dad was his football coach!), talents, dedication and drive as a dancer, it also speaks to the high level of training and artistic creation we have established at Northwest Dance Project. For a small company like ours to have TWO Princess Grace Award winners is unheard of — I’m very proud.” Previous winners have come from such renowned companies such as American Ballet Theatre, Juilliard, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, Merce Cunningham Dance, Pacific Northwest Ballet, New York City Ballet, etc.

Franco and Sarah will travel to New York City for the elegant Princess Grace Awards Gala, held October 22, 2012, in the presence of Princess Caroline and other royalty and stars, where Franco will receive his award and a special medal marking his accomplishment. Franco will also receive a generous fellowship from the Princess Grace Foundation to support his salary for the coming season with the Northwest Dance Project.

More info on the Princess Grace Foundation:

Franco Nieto – 2012 Princess Grace Award Winner

Franco Nieto was born and raised in Vancouver, Washington. Franco was an athlete playing football for seven years before making his choice to dance. Franco began his training at Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, and Columbia Dance, later studying under Tracey Durbin as a student and an assistant in Portland. Franco graduated from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with a B.F.A. in Jazz in 2009. Franco has danced original roles in Northwest Dance Project works by Didy Veldman, James Canfield, Sarah Slipper, Patrick Delcroix, Luca Veggetti, Pedro Dias, Maurice Causey, Wen Wei Wang, Andrea Miller, Noam Gagnon, Loni Landon, Tracey Durbin, Lauren Edson, and more.



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