Andrew Nemr honored as Spirit of Windrider Award Recipient 2018
Article by John Priddy
“One of my definitions for “success” is that one accomplishes something only that one person can accomplish. Andrew Nemr is an original – a tap dancer who is last disciple of Gregory Hines, a TED Fellow and a pastor. This multifaceted artist, mentor and a communicator is an epitome of integrated creativity, an ideal model that represents the Spirit of Windrider Award at Sundance.”
– MAKO FUJIMURA, ARTIST AND DIRECTOR OF FULLER SEMINARY BREHM CENTER
The 2018 recipient of the Spirit of Windrider Award is Andrew Nemr, a master tap dancer, Ted Fellow and Pastor. The New York times calls Nemr a “master tapper,” but his expanded artistic skills are well known in his work as a storyteller, dynamic speaker, and stage performer. Nemr will be honored at the opening night festivities on January 22nd at the 14th annual Windrider Forum, taking place during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City Utah.
Andrew Nemr is considered one of the most diverse tap dance artists today. An international performer, choreographer, educator and speaker, Andrew has played with Grammy Award winning musicians across multiple genres, founded the tap dance company Cats Paying Dues, directs the Tap Dance Freedom education platform, and co-founded the Tap Legacy™ Foundation, Inc., along with his mentor Gregory Hines.
An avid speaker, Nemr combines the story of his journey and the craft of tap dance to speak on ideas of identity, community, faith, and love. He has presented his unique combination on Fellow’s Stage at TED Global, and at numerous TEDx events around the world.
Most recently, Nemr performed his “one man” show in New York to rave reviews, aptly titled, Rising to the Tap, a dance concert mixed with autobiographical solo storytelling, the tap virtuoso candidly reveals a unique American journey. With musically explosive footwork, Nemr shares episodes from his immigrant history — his family’s departure from Lebanon in 1976, adapting to life in New Jersey, his eventual mentorship under legends Savion Glover and Gregory Hines — and his struggles with loneliness, bullying, and cultural identity.
“I had the opportunity to spend time with Andrew while touring with Mako Fujimura in Japan, and it was there that I realized that his life story should be documented. Through his craft, Andrew bears witness to the power of principled conversation, seeing people of various backgrounds, dispositions and world views, as coming together, asking questions and seeking answers, to life’s most pressing questions. He is a most worthy and “windy” recipient of this year’s award.”
– John Priddy, CEO and Co-Founder of the Windrider Institute
In partnership with Windrider Productions and Mako Fujimura, Nemr’s life story will come to the screen in a documentary film, with award winning director Jon Cipiti and Peabody winning producers John and Ed Priddy leading the project, the documentary is scheduled for release in fall 2018.
The Sundance Film Festival has earned the reputation as a place that celebrates storytelling offering festivalgoers a first look at groundbreaking new voices in American independent film. In the words of President and Founder of the Sundance Institute, Robert Redford, “From the passion and chaos of creativity, independent filmmakers make decisions to harness that energy, break new ground and tell their stories . . . to show how art can engage, provoke, and connect people all over the world.”
For 10 days, each January, Park City becomes a global community that celebrates storytelling and storytellers. The Windrider Forum in Park City is an immersive experience for close to 300 students, faculty/staff and guests from fifteen undergraduate and graduate educational programs who are willing to listen to the stories of others in order to transform their own story. So, it seems only fitting that our 2018 recipient of the Spirit of Windrider award would be a storyteller like Andrew.
“There’s something very special about being recognized by an organization whose mission you also really believe in. I’m thrilled to be connected to Windrider and the great people on their team, and humbled by this award. May God be glorified.”
– Andrew Nemr, 2018 Windrider Spirit of Windrider Award Recipient