2023 Ovation Award Recipient: Elbert Watson

Virginia Arts Festival presented its 2023 Ovation Award to an artist who has had an extraordinary impact on the region for more than 50 years: former Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater principal dancer, choreographer, and beloved educator Elbert Watson. The award was presented to Mr. Watson in a ceremony on Saturday, April 29 at the Slover Library in Norfolk. 

“Elbert Watson has served as an inspiration, a guide, and a mentor for young people in the Hampton Roads region for decades,” said Virginia Arts Festival Perry Artistic Director Robert W. Cross. “A brilliant dancer who toured internationally for years, he returned home to create and lead one of the most vibrant arts education programs not just in the region, but anywhere—and is still building a legacy that has influenced generations.”