USC Kaufman alum Rachel Harris nominated for 2023 Bessie Award

May 31, 2023

Rachel Harris (BFA '20) | Photo by Cathryn Farnsworth

Rachel Harris (BFA ’20) has been nominated for a 2023 Bessie Award in the category of Outstanding Performer for her performance in Mr. Withers, a new work by David Parsons that premiered at The Joyce Theater in March 2023. 

Known colloquially as the Oscars of Dance, The Bessies are presented annually in New York City and recognize outstanding creative work in the field. Nominations are made by the Bessie Awards Selection Committee of dance industry professionals. Award categories include Outstanding Choreographer/Creator, Outstanding Performer, Outstanding Revival, Outstanding Sound Design or Music Composition, Outstanding Visual Design, and Outstanding Breakout Choreographer. 

Born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, Harris began training at Dance Productions and later attended the University of Southern California Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, where she received a BFA. She is currently pursuing a MA in Journalism for the Arts. She joined the internationally renowned Parsons Dance in 2020. 

Mr. Withers—the piece for which Harris received her nomination—is inspired by the emotionally driven songs by the legendary Billy Withers such as Ain’t No Sunshine and Lean On Me. This year’s Bessie Awards ceremony takes place on Friday, August 4, at 7:30 PM, at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park as part of Lincoln Center’s Summer for the City.