Category Archives: MESSAGE FROM THE CENTER

Composing the Body:
Portrait of a Score

Deborah Hay, photo Sarah Granholm
Deborah Hay, photo by Sarah Granholm

In March of 2010, Deborah Hay performed her first solo in six years at Dancespace Project in New York City. This piece, No Time To Fly, became the foundation of a number of subsequent works. In early 2011, Bill Forsythe’s Motion Bank invited the performers Jeanine Durning, Juliette Mapp and Ros Warby to adapt this score — first as an individual solo and then into a new trio. This new piece, now called As Holy Sites Go was performed in 2012 at Motion Bank’s Frankfurt Lab.

Jeanine Durning and Ros Warby
Jeanine Durning and Ros Warby, As Holy Sites Go / duet

The trio adaptation of As Holy Sites Go, has been adapted yet again, but now as a duet, by two of the original performers, Ros and Jeanine. The digital score of the Motion Bank process, was set by Deborah on the twenty-one dancers of Cullberg Ballet in a new iteration called Figure A Sea. Both of these new works make up this weekend’s program.

Cullberg Ballet
Cullberg Ballet, Figure a Sea, photo by Urban Jörén

The process of this series of adaptations (which encompassed both live performance and digital transcription/performance), is documented on the Motion Bank website, and two of the resulting films are being shown on the large screens in front of the courtyard.

The evolution of this score, from the printed word though many modalities of performance and point of view is a sublime portrait of how bodies compose themselves. The written score of No Time To Fly reads like a prose poem, with interjections of notes, drawings, footnotes, instructions. It is a way of capturing space, and then presenting that space for others to capture, or re-capture, depending on your point of view. Deborah’s works have been described as being “more like rituals than concerts,” her scores give dancers an individual agency that is not as prevalent in more traditional choreography.

From No Time To Fly:
Note: My head is free to look down or away or to turn. It is not fixed.
Note: There is no repetition in live performance.
Note: I neither hurry nor linger.

Deborah’s scores are frequently framed in the form of “What if” questions, many of which are on display in the courtyard. Deborah wrote in 2014, “For as long as I can remember I struggled with whether the questions that are applied in the performance of my work be included in the program notes. My dances would not exist without them. The conflict about identifying the question in the program is that I do not want audiences to be looking for what might either satisfy or not satisfy their beliefs about what they are seeing.”

We also struggled with how much to reveal of the questions and the score before the lights dim and the dance begins. In the end, our wonder and fascination with the score and all it offers won the day. We couldn’t help but share some of it with you: not so that it would provide you with answers, but so that it might encourage you to consider your own questions.

this empty space
a song
an ocean
a figure moves
an ocean
the figure a sea
weaving her destiny
repeatedly
dh, 2012

From the Center: John Zorn Marathon

Unsigned editorial from the performance program notes. 

Artist vision. Undiluted. So reads the credo of Tzadik, visionary composer, arranger, producer, multi-instrumentalist and MacArthur Fellow John Zorn’s not-for-profit cooperative record label. Zorn’s impact on contemporary music worldwide is immeasurable. His vision is vital and relentlessly prolific. As we have worked with John Zorn over the course of almost two years to help realize his vision for this robust day of performance, his first time in Los Angeles in 25 years, we have borne witness to his deep sense of rigor and the profound persistence of his undiluted artist vision.

Zorn’s remarkably diverse aesthetic draws inspiration from art, literature, film, theater, philosophy, alchemy, and mysticism. For those of you here tonight who were also among the many intrepid explorers of Zorn’s artistic vision through the halls of the permanent
collections of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art earlier today, we thank you for joining us on this marathon. And we suspect you’re still vibrating with the incredible energy brought to that space by a group of truly commanding musicians—Kinan Idnawi, Mellissa Hughes, Kirsten Sollek, Jane Sheldon, Jack Quartet, Kenny Wollesen, Carol Emanuel, Chris Otto, Kevin Mcfarland, Dave Lombardo, William Winant, Nava Dunkelman and Zorn himself. Today’s musical progress through LACMA could not have happened without our friends Claire Kim, Jane Burrell and Mitch Glickman at LACMA.

It is an experience we will not soon forget. We are incredibly grateful to them, all the artists and everyone at LACMA for saying yes to making that experience happen. Everyone who steps into the hall tonight will keep the vibration going, into the wee small hours of tomorrow after Zorn’s eclectic midnight organ recital.

It has truly been a marathon, one that has gathered so much momentum as this epic moment in the art of performance drew near. Helping set the tone for tonight on the Royce Terrace are artists from our most immediate community, UCLA students and faculty who have been influenced by Zorn’s work. Our thanks also go to Ganavya Doraiswamy, Elizabeth Erickson, Hassan Estakhrian, Putu Hiranmayena, Aaron Hogan, Molly Jones, AJ Kluthm Elisabeth Le Guin, Steven Loza, Alex W. Rodriguez, Mehrenegar Rostami, Richard Savery, Otto Stuparitz, Andrea Vancura, Jordan Watson, Dave Wilson, who performed a series of improvisational duets, inspired by Zorn’s compositional techniques.

Today is for all of us. For everyone Zorn has influenced, inspired, thrilled or challenged—artists and music lovers, Zorn aficionados and newcomers to his work, collaborators and curiosity seekers.

Today is a beautiful example of what we make together as artists and audiences. Together, in this moment in time we become the permanent collection of this project. There will be no John Zorn Marathon album to re-visit, no poster or painting to hang on a wall. But there will be all of us. We are the keepers and caretakers of this incredible moment in the art of performance.

Thank you for being part of the permanent collection.

From the Center: ‘River of Fundament’ by Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler–Royce Hall April 25, 2015

Unsigned editorial from the performance program notes. 

Nearly seven years in the making, River of Fundament is Matthew Barney’s largest filmic undertaking since The Cremaster Cycle—an an elaborate contemporary opera of cinematic dimension.

Alluring, authentic and intense, it is a vast, multidimensional experience interspersed with remarkable live performances.
The multidimensional scope of Barney’s work in River of Fundament is truly epic and vast. His longstanding collaboration with composer Jonathan Bepler is alive in the structure and operatic pacing of the work, and Bepler’s score is extraordinary.

In the extensive advance planning to present River of Fundament at the Center, we discussed at length the requirements associated with Barney/ Bepler’s vision for the work. Put succinctly, it was envisioned to be held within the architecture of a “grand concert venue” and in this presentation, Royce Hall itself plays a role in the framing of Barney’s original intent. Royce Hall technical and production staff have made major adjustments to the soundscape in order to balance the acoustic properties of Royce with the rich and refined composition of Bepler. These details aren’t visually apparent – but will certainly be in the aural experience, the effort of which warrants mention.

In an era of downloadable clips, and repeated loops and various points of digital points of reference, we are honored to be able to present River of Fundament as it was meant to be experienced – live, large, an epic in its entirety, surrounded by the refined acoustics that simply cannot be achieved without this grand
architecture.

We are also proud to collaborate with fellow artsinstitutions
around the presentation of this work, starting with the Manchester International Arts Festival where it had its World Premiere—UCLA
Hammer Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

This week the Hammer Museum presented the entire Cremaster Cycle, giving local Barney aficionados a chance to view that seminal work in anticipation of this West Coast premiere. The Hammer also hosted a discussion between Barney, Bepler and Kenneth Reinhard, UCLA associate professor of English and Comparative Lit.

In September MOCA opens the eponymous exhibition, Matthew Barney: River of Fundament, featuring 14 large-scale sculptures weighing up to 25 tons, drawings, photographs, and vitrines
that were inspired by or made in conjunction with the film. The exhibition will be presented at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Little Tokyo, from September 13 through January 18, 2016.

Matthew Barney is one of the most influential artists of his generation, and our multi-institutional collaboration is a testament to Barney’s relevance and vision, while marking the collegial esprit du corps there is among all of us in Los Angeles.

Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA makes Royce Hall the creative home for many performing artists from here and around the world. So too for the audiences who have dubbed us their ‘living room’ for live performance. Feel free to ‘move in’ for this unforgettable night – a journey in in many ways – and thank you for being here.

From the Center: Leonard Nimoy’s ‘Vincent’–Little Theater April 17-19, 2015

Unsigned editorial from the performance program notes. 

This July marks the 125th anniversary of Vincent Van Gogh’s death. In the intervening century-plus, the images he created in his life have become an indelible part of popular culture.

Vincent Van Gogh was just 37 when he died. His years as a working artist were largely made possible by the unflagging emotional and financial support of his brother, Theo. Sadly, early 2016 will also mark the 125th anniversary of Theo Van Gogh’s death as well. He died just six months after his brother.

Together they left behind an important and powerful legacy in the art world, Vincent through his works and Theo, as not only a patron of his sibling, but as an art dealer who helped shepherd the early careers of such Van Gogh contemporaries as Monet and Degas.

Vincent is a work of performance laden with memory and great storytelling potential that can be extracted from the art of archiving. The telling of this tale is made possible thanks to the careful preservation of hundreds of letters sent between these two devoted brothers.

Vincent also carries within it an inherent inspiration for gratitude. As we experience this story, we can be grateful for the incredible works Vincent Van Gogh brought into the world, images that continue to pervade our culture. We are grateful for Theo Van Gogh, for his passionate support of artists and belief in their contributions to society.

We are grateful to Jean-Michele Richaud, the extraordinary artist who so lovingly performs this intimate work of theater here and continues to share it worldwide.

As this performance celebrates a great artist as well as a great supporter of the arts, we are also given pause to remember and give thanks for the remarkable man who was inspired to write this work of theater.

Leonard Nimoy was not only a great artist of his time, but a passionate supporter of fellow artists and artistic endeavor.

He is dearly missed and dearly beloved.

How fortunate we all are that he left so much of himself behind for us and future generations to experience, from his films and photography to his words of poetry and the words we will hear on stage today. Nimoy himself ensured that an archive of his passions and vision will live long and prosper.

Thank you for joining us.

From the Center: Ethel ‘Documerica’–Schoenberg Hall April 17, 2015

Unsigned editorial from the performance program notes. 

Thank you for joining us as we welcome ETHEL back to the program. If you’ve experienced this masterful quartet before, you know well just how buoyant and electrifying they are in live performance. This very special multimedia project allowed the members of ETHEL to apply their keen artistic sensibilities to a major photographic undertaking of the people, places and landscapes that comprise this country.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

At first blush it might not seem so significant to think that there is a massive collection of images documenting daily life in the U.S. After all, here in 2015, we are confronted daily by, or making our own contributions to, myriad social media applications that allow us to share any and all photographic details of our independent experiences. Most of us walk around holding in our hands the ability to snap a high-quality photograph of anything that moves us– ourselves, our meals, people and sights around us. We can even immediately and sophisticatedly edit, stylize and share that image fairly broadly.

But from 1972-1977, this was decidedly not the case, and therefore the 15,000 images now available to view from the EPA’s Documerica project, if you take pause to consider how nascent the digital world was then, is utterly fascinating. Don’t be surprised if you leave here feeling inspired to peruse the entire archive. (Which you can do at Flickr.com)

Investigating these images and selecting ones that resonated was the driving force behind each composer’s approach to their segment on tonight’s program. Their highly individual and creative responses to the imagery they encountered has resulted in new layers of poignancy and buoyancy around each shot.

Combined with the creative editing and technologies employed in this unique performance project and animated further by ETHEL’s incredible stage presence, it makes for an unforgettable program of sight and sound.

Sit back and enjoy.

From the Center: Claire Chase-Schoenberg Hall–April 4, 2015

Unsigned editorial from the performance program notes.

The flute is not an instrument that often gets to be a rock star. It is lyrical and pleasing and integral to so many wonderful traditional melodies and memories in the art of performance.

But, in the hands of one Claire Chase, the flute gets to be a rock star, mostly by virtue of being held in the hands of one.

Claire is not only a masterful and energetic performer, she is a tireless champion of all the possibilities inherent in contemporary instrumental music. She has been with us this past week, working with the cadre of volunteer flutists who have migrated here to perform with us tonight. She is an inspiring leader full of verve and enthusiasm, ready to unlock the potential and creativity of all who perform and collaborate with her.

We’re very proud to have her with us, and especially for the West Coast Premiere of Cutting the Circle of Sounds. You’ll read more in the coming pages about this unique work. Claire and her team have come up with new creative performance elements for our presentation of this extremely rare composition, which has usually been performed in open-air or gallery spaces. In keeping with the heritage of the work, we were also proud to partner with our sister organization the Hammer Museum, where tonight’s migrating flutists gathered to learn the elements of the piece and practice the unique and liberating non-tonal techniques that make it so special.

Claire has said of Density, her solo work in part two of this afternoon’s program, that it is a work that unleashes the spirit of the flute. We think, every time Claire takes the stage anywhere in any configuration, in front of any kind of audience, she plays her own very important part in that unleashing of the flute’s spirit.

Thank you for joining us on this glorious spring holiday weekend. Enjoy the performance.

From the Center: Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company & SITI Company: ‘A Rite’–Royce Hall March 6-7, 2015

Unsigned editorial from the performance program notes. 

What is this feeling?

More than 100 years ago as Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring hit the Paris stage in a powerful explosion of never-before heard sounds and movement audiences found themselves asking this question. The Rite of Spring was provoking, it caused riots, it instigated critique and dialogue, and while the movement vocabulary of Vaslav Nijinsky and avant-garde compositional approach of Stravinsky confronted audiences at the time, the music is largely considered to be one of the most important works of the 20th century.

In honor of this iconic work at its 2013 centennial, two vital American artists and their companies dove headfirst into the feelings instigated by The Rite of Spring over the course of its revolutionary start and evolutionary influence.

SITI Company, as led by Anne Bogart, and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, are both known and revered for their sense of curiosity, for their collaborative spirit and commitment to cultural exchange. Working on A Rite provided a chance for two unique and like-minded artistic communities to work together and explore the potential of one another in service of artists who came before and cracked open profound new possibilities in the confluence of music, theater and dance.

And explore they did, for more than a year, with Jones constantly advocating for the performers and creators to embrace the visceral sensation of the source work, to “get the music into our bones,” while Bogart was driven by the cerebral, theoretical and historical and sociological ramifications of The Rite of Spring.

What you are about to experience tonight is a remarkable feat in the art of performance. This weekend’s two performances are among the final times these two extraordinary companies will share the stage together, sharing with us the profound results of the rites they collectively brought to life in service of art, of sensation, of inspiration, of converging themes, ideas and creative modalities.

We are proud to honor that collaboration here on this stage and in your company.

From the Center: Pilc Moutin Hoenig–Schoenberg Hall–March 6, 2015

Unsigned editorial from the evening’s program notes. 

The incredible musicians we are about to enjoy tonight began their day with a special performance and discussion for 500 Los Angeles middle- and high-school aged students as part of the Center’s Design for Sharing arts-education program.

It’s fitting that part of this trio’s current tour along California’s coast includes a shared moment with a young audience. Each member of this nearly perfect trio is a master player. And each member is also an educator—imparting the real world knowledge of what it takes to be a successful musician (both technically and practically) onto the next generation of jazz players.

By leading ensemble workshops as a group, holding classes on harmony and interpretation as well as taking part in individual tutorials (such as Hoenig’s amazing work with melodic drumming), all while maintaining a rigorous tour schedule and leading their own bands and endeavors—Pilc Moutin Hoenig are the embodiment of what it means to be part of today’s vital jazz community. They are truly ambassadors of the form, sharing an improvisational spirit and exceptional talent with avid learners, with one another, and thankfully, with we eager listeners.

Tonight these three master players take the stage with no set lists, no arrangements, no rules and no expectations other than transportive excellence and a pure love of playing together, about which Pilc once told the Ottowa Citizen:Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

“When I started playing with those guys, from the first moment you feel like you are not on the planet Earth anymore. You feel like suddenly you are carried to another place, and in that other place you do not exist anymore as a human being. Music takes over. Music takes you, Music takes the other guys, Francois and Ari, and does with you what it wants. And the only thing you have to do is obey, obey the music. That to me is an exceptional experience because it doesn’t happen that often. But with those guys, I have to say it happens pretty much every time we play together. Which to me is still quite a thing.”

It is indeed quite a thing to let music take you over. We’re glad you’re here to be part of it with us tonight.

From the Center: Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion Royce Hall Feb 12-13, 2015

Unsigned editorial from the evening’s program notes.

Inspiration comes in many forms. As often as it seemingly arrives unbidden or unexpected it also can thoughtfully manifest from a deep well of understanding, of artistry, of commitment to craft and integrity of purpose.

You’ll read more in these pages about Kyle Abraham’s profound inspiration for the two new works we are extremely proud to debut in Los Angeles this weekend. Working with Kyle has been inspirational. We greet him here at an incredibly potent point in his arc as an artist and collaborative visionary. His voice is strong and true and sings out phrases and ideas that deserve to be remembered, pondered, spoken, sung, writ large and flung into the world in motion.

Abraham is indeed in motion. And we are all fortunate to be moving alongside him, to be able to grasp this moment in which we can align ourselves with his ideas and inspirations and instigations and ongoing evolution. In particular this weekend’s performance of The Watershed is a creative achievement. Kyle says the piece has continued to change and evolve since its premiere in New York this past September. And now, here in Los Angeles, it has come to its fullest expression. He’s pleased and excited, and so are we.

And hopefully, so are you.

Tonight is about motion and emotion. About taking an idea and setting it on a course of expression. About bringing ourselves to a space of understanding and experience and setting ourselves on a (potentially new) course of thought. It’s a powerful thing to thoughtfully rally around issues that evoke emotions similar to the times when Max Roach was writing his seminal “Freedom Now” suite. Those issues and emotions are obviously still with us today. The art of performance unleashes a certain kind of articulation that allows us to simultaneously embody these emotions and also
to free them to weave new spells on our psyche, our culture and our dreams for a better world.

Thank you for being in motion with us tonight. Thank you for dreaming with us.

Thank you for helping us welcome Kyle Abraham and Abraham.In.Motion.

Frank Warren: PostSecret Live” Weds. Jan. 23, 2015-Royce Hall

(Unsigned editorial from the performance program notes)

In the last decade, PostSecret Project founder Frank Warren has received more than a million postcards. That is a staggering amount of secrets to imagine that one human is willing to assume compassionate responsibilty for. It is also a staggering example of the capacity for empathy we all possess.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

The secrets have come from around the world, each bearing a secret the anonymous senders might otherwise never voice.

Hopes, fears, confessions, regrets, dreams, all captured on 4×6 cards that come pouring into Frank’s mailbox, and his home, every day.
Tonight, we’ll get to see some of the postcards that didn’t end up on the PostSecret website or in one of Frank’s books. But we haven’t all gathered here just to pull back the curtain on the lives of strangers. Frank will share what all those secrets have taught him about the unseen dramas unfolding all around us, and how they can help us be more compassionate.

We all feel the need to conceal parts of ourselves. Whatever our individual secrets may be, we each make daily decisions about what to share and what to hide, which doors to open and which to keep locked.

Here at the Center, we believe in opening doors. We believe in creating a space where we can share an experience, and be reminded that our own most personal truth can be recognized in the unlikeliest of places. Each time an artist takes the stage, it’s an invitation to make a connection. PostSecret reminds us that the act of sharing a secret, on an anonymous postcard or in front of a crowd, is just another kind of invitation to connect, another door being thrown open.

Inspired by PostSecret, we’ve been collecting anonymous answers to the question, What’s the Boldest Thing You’ve Ever Done? Hundreds of cards were dropped into collection boxes across campus over the last few months. They are on display tonight in the lobby. Some, no doubt, carry secrets. All of them help us to see someone else’s life through their own eyes.

We hope you’ll share your boldest moment, public or private, by submitting your own card before you leave tonight.

We’re honored to have Frank Warren here, and to share this evening of insight and discovery with you. Thanks for being here, and for bringing your curiosity and your compassion.

We hope you leave with a new door open.