Culture Flash

Competing choreographers cash in as comics stand up to joke for big money

Ballet Austin's New American Talent/Dance has parceled out the cash to the three choreographers in the third go-round of the biennial national competition for makers of dance. Jurors Alicia Adams of the Kennedy Center, Julie Nakagawa of DanceWorks Chicago, and Paul Vasterling of Nashville Ballet awarded Houston choreographer Dominic Walsh and New York-based Nelly van Bommel $6,000 apiece for their respective dances and $3,000 to San Franciscan KT Nelson for hers. In addition, texting audience members voted Walsh's "The Whistling" their favorite work at six performances, earning him another $3,000, plus $500 more for being the overall audience fave. Van Bommel's "Fanfarnèta" was the top vote-getter twice, winning her another $1,000, and Nelson's "When Love Is Hard" won the audience prize once for $500. For more information, visit

• The Funniest Person in Austin contest began last week for the 25th time, with the largest field ever – 127 contestants – competing for the coveted annual stand-up prize. Nine preliminary rounds will whittle that number down to 36 jokesters, who will punch(line) it out in three semifinal rounds May 9-11. Then, the funniest 12 survivors will face off in the finals on Monday, May 17. The grand prize is no laughing matter: $2,500, plus a year's membership to Lifetime Fitness. (A comic at a gym? There's a joke in there somewhere.) And second and third place net a cool $1,000 and $500, respectively. Plus, there's $100 awarded in each round for the "joke of the night." What's more, host Cap City Comedy Club is using this milestone FPIA to lend a hand to two organizations that make a serious difference in our community: Austin Children's Shelter and Capital Area Food Bank. One dollar of every ticket sold will go to the children's shelter, while $1 of designated drink sales will benefit the food bank, and if you bring two cans of food to donate, your family and friends will get in free. FPIA rounds are taped and may be seen on Rooftop Comedy, Prelim rounds continue through May 4, Mondays and Tuesdays, 8pm, at Cap City Comedy Club, 8120 Research #100. For more information, call 467-2333 or visit

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New American Talent / Dance, Funniest Person in Austin, Ballet Austin, Cap City Comedy Club, Dominic Walsh, Nelly van Bommel, KT Nelson

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