Tag Archives: dance

Support Design for Sharing

DFS

The Design for Sharing program at CAP UCLA has transformed the lives of over half a million Los Angeles students and their teachers since it was founded 47 years ago in 1969. To give you an idea of what Design for Sharing means to the students and teachers of LA, here are their own words:

I had lots of fun because we got to build a violin. Thank you for letting us go to your school. I loved it when we got to learn about the instruments around the world.
– Amy, Catskill Avenue Elementary School

When I finish high school, I am going to UCLA, and I am joining the dance program. I was planning to quit dance and start swimming, but seeing you guys I decided to carry on with my passion for dance. Thank you for inspiring me and encouraging me to keep dancing!
– Destiny, Southeast Middle School

I really enjoyed the creativeness and originality of the play. This performance showed me that anything is possible and that everyone has the right to share their story and be themselves. […] Never stop doing what you love.
– Tess, San Pedro High School

What an immensely powerful performance and a valuable experience for students to be on a college campus: many students said things like, “Can’t you see yourself being a college student now?” THANK YOU!
– The 8th Grade Faculty, Camino Nuevo Middle School

Ruminations on Creative Coding Lab

Linearity plus Travel Intensity plus Center of Mass plus Gaze equals…

Motion.

Movement.
Specifically…
bodies
in
motion.
in solo improvisation
enacting a written score
responding to visual prompts
navigating an aural landscape
mirroring another body
translating ordinary movements into 3D sculptures.

The final day of our Choreographic Coding Lab: CCL 5 was in many ways about capturing motion.

Motion.  /ˈmōSH(ə)n/ noun. The action or process of moving or being moved.

On Saturday afternoon, about 60 colleagues, friends, and observers moved through the EDA gallery space in the UCLA Broad Arts Center in an informal showing of projects, ideas, hypotheses, investigations and whimsy.  How does the body move – how does the structure of motion capture the intent of the one who is moving?   How does an audience or observer, interpret that intent?  In this final day of the CCL, movement was projected on screens, walls and floors, bodies caught by a thermal camera, a digital paint brush, or a series of lines and dots transmitted via sensors.  MōSH(ə)n.  We are captivated by it. We can’t look away.

One of the participants, also a gymnast, attached some simple Go-Pros and sensor devices to her ankles and wrists.  Jumping on a trampoline, her splits, scissors, rolls and tumbles were rendered digitally on a screen – capturing her flight though space.  We watched a complex web of dots and lines in constant motion, and it was totally clear what she had been doing, how she had been moving.  Her intent was to capture the memory of her movement, so that when she can no longer move that way, a record exists.  “I wanted proof,” she said, “proof that I could do it.  I wanted to see what my body feels.”

Motion. The action or process of moving or being moved.

It was such a thrilling experience to be a part of this week, to watch ideas take shape, change, and assume a different shape. It felt like things were being made, sparks were definitely flying.  As the day came to an end and the projectors were turned off, and the laptops were closed and the extension chords were rolled and the ladders were struck, the EDA space – our home base for the week – regained its old shape. Empty and quiet, but ready for the next wave of motion.

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Gesture = Dance: Ann Carlson @ Creative Coding Labs

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Ann Carlson, our intrepid artist in residence and the creator of The Symphonic Body UCLA, joined the participants of the Fifth Creative Coding Labs on Wednesday to talk about her aesthetic, share insight into her approach to movement and explore what she calls “the movement of the movement.” Ann is the architect of a unique dance performance under construction that will be performed by workers from this campus on Nov. 21 in Royce Hall. (Check out videos of the progress of this piece here).

For Ann, the word “gesture” is synonymous with the word “dance.” Much of her work, The Symphonic Body in particular is focused on accumulation and inspiration, on “the aesthetic of the everyday.”

“The movement of the movement is taking a functional gesture of utility and moving it to something more abstract, metaphorical or ripe with symbolism,” she said.

Carlson talked about triggers in her conceptual development as an artist (hearkening back to moments that snapped her attention away from her childhood traditional ballet training). She talked about dismantling conceptions that surround what a dancer should look like and false constructs of what dance language should be comprised of.  She talked about movement as both a memory trigger and memory preserver.

CCL participants got a minimalist sneak peek at The Symphonic Body, with two performers rehearsing segments of the ever-evolving performance work in front of a rapt audience who seemed fascinated not only by the intricate and unique social structure of the project, but by the potential for emotion and self discovery that can be triggered by having an artist observe a person’s everyday movement and physical gesture and then collaborate with that person to manifest a highly personalized and idiosyncratic movement vocabulary based on it. This is what The Symphonic Body is all about.

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It’s interesting to watch Ann’s own gestures as well as they rehearse and create, to witness the gestural language she has developed that will allow her conduct the movement and score the physical symphony.

Her projects and presence seemed to energize the room and play on themes that had already started creeping in to this experimental space.

We’ve been working on this project with Ann for the better part of a year and have been enmeshed in the very UCLA-specific nature of this work, so it was also quite fun to see shades of Symphonic Body in a piece Ann created almost 20 years ago, titled Sloss, Kerr, Rosenberg & Moore. For this, she shadowed four young lawyers in their daily work lives, then created a dance piece based on their movements, rooting their feet to the floor.

Here’s a look at an early performance in the mid 1980s

 

And the lawyers are still performing it. Here’s a 2007 interpretation of the piece.

“You can dance doing anything,” Ann said, quoting a lecture from Murray Louis that had inspired her as a child.

You can even dance while being a lawyer….

Who knew?

Photos by Calista Lyon

The ‘Artist-Centric’ Motivation

Around here we often use the phrase “artist-centric.”

We are an artist-centric organization.

What exactly does that mean?

There are a couple of things happening this week and in the near future that I think help to shed light on just what that phrase means, with two polar-opposite artist-centric commitments from the Center serving as great examples of the phrase.

First, starting today, is the Fifth Choreographic Coding Lab from Motion Bank, a project that grew out of work with the William Forsythe Company four years ago. It is a gathering of disparate artists/creators, some dancers, some choreographers, some video and graphic designers, some coders, some who dabble in multiples of these things.

Every day this week they will come together in the Experimental Digital Arts Space on the first floor of the Eli and Edythe Broad Arts Center, UCLA.

This gathering represents one extreme end of the artist-centric continuum. These individuals are here simply to collaborate, to explore, to dream, to understand and to inspire each other. There is no projected outcome. There is no performance pressure. Something tangible might come of it,  or even multiple things—some new technology or piece of visual art or movement vocabulary. Or not.  The point is not the end result, the point is creating and harboring a space where artistically inclined individuals can, without restriction or pressure, endeavor to build and traverse rabbit holes of possibility.

We had a casual meet-and-greet with the participants last night. There are a few former UCLA students involved, a few students from other design schools in the city, two coders and video artists from Seattle. Everyone I talked to admitted they were excitedly entering the project with few preconceived notions or thoughts on what will transpire. All are curious and open to whatever comes.

Here’s a quick snapshot of them all sharing space together today:

Bringing Motion Bank to campus has been a work in progress over the course of a year. And as Kristy Edmunds, artistic and executive director of CAP UCLA said last night, the Labs actually do have the potential to have a lasting impact on an art form—dance.

I spoke with Scott DelaHunta, one of the Motion Bank founders who said this will likely be the last Coding Lab for a while as the Motion Bank researchers step back to assess all they have learned and derived from this and previous gatherings. So it is a special thing to be involved in. It also marks our first official collaboration with the incredible Design Media Arts program at UCLA. We have been eager for some time to work with students and faculty in this unique program and Design Media Arts professor Casey Reas is one of the leaders of the Coding Lab.

The Labs have an open door policy. Members of the public can drop in throughout the week from 10 am to 5 pm. Days are loosely structured for maximum creativity but begin with a sort of roundtable discussion with all participants sharing a thought, idea or possible working project. But who knows?

On Saturday all will gather at 4 p.m. to share some final thoughts,  showcase any presentations or new material, and in general just celebrate the art of making.

On the other end of the artist-centric spectrum is our ongoing commitment to a master artist and solo performer—Canadian puppeteer and theater maker Ronnie Burkett.

I vividly recall,  in some of our earliest meetings with Kristy after taking her post here as our leader in 2011, she expressed a desire to greatly increase the visibility of Ronnie in the U.S. He is a beloved and well known creator and performer in his home country and other parts of the world, especially Australia, where Kristy spent four years as curator/director of the Melbourne International Arts Festival. But, he is (was) less known here in the states.

In the 2013-2014 season we gave Ronnie his L.A. debut, with his masterfully dark narrative work Penny Plain. His performances here were met with enthusiastic response from the local theater community, comprised of arts lovers many of whom had never experienced his work, and the local puppetry community, which, we discovered quickly was already rife with avid Ronnie Burkett fans.

The following season, we were all very excited to have Ronnie back on the program, this time for a longer run and with a wildly different work of theater–the raucous and tender variety show titled The Daisy Theatre, created and again performed by a solo Burkett, (with a little help from a few audience members). It is equal parts witty and wicked, naughty and nostalgic and it could only have sprung from Burkett’s mind. The Center is a co-commissioner of The Daisy Theatre and as such we have an ongoing commitment to its success.

The same week The Daisy Theater opened at the Actor’s Gang space in Culver City, artists Willem Dafoe and Mikhail Baryshnikov were in rehearsal for another theater work The Old Woman, which would take place here in Royce Hall over the weekend, concurrent with The Daisy Theatre’s nearby engagement. We took this as an opportunity to introduce Mikhail Baryshnikov to Burkett’s work and to the artist himself.

Kristy Edmunds snapped this Instagram shot of Ronnie showing the performing-arts legend how to move one of the show’s most important and poignant character’s–Schnitzel.

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We are very proud this season to collaborate with the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York City as they become home to the New York debut of The Daisy Theatre. Performances open Sept. 30 and run through October 10. Kristy Edmunds will be on hand for opening night to cheer on one of our favorite artists. If you have friends or family in the city, tell them to head to BAC and catch this show. They won’t regret it.

BAC is the realization of a long-held vision by artistic director Mikhail Baryshnikov, who sought to build an arts center in New York City that would serve as a gathering place for artists from all disciplines. BAC’s opening in 2005 heralded the launch of this mission, establishing a thriving creative space for artists from around the world.

This is an important moment in Ronnie’s life as a performer. We’re thrilled and more than a little envious of the New York audiences who will have so many chances to experience The Daisy Theatre.

So, from the experimental confines of a campus collective to the high-concept solo masterwork performed against the glittering lights of the city that never sleeps–we take a moment to revel in our artist-centric nature.

 

 

 

 

Choose Your Own Arts Adventure!

You are in control of your own season experience!
You are in control of your own season experience!

Our sincere thanks go out to everyone who has already subscribed to our upcoming season. We’re currently working on seating order for subscribers and your tickets will be in the mail soon! We are looking forward to a packed calendar of inspiring, provocative and exciting performers from around the world, and it is always great to know we have a cadre of committed arts lovers readying themselves for the season along with us.

Subscriptions to our pre-curated series of Theater, Spoken Word, Jazz, Roots & World, Global Music, Dance, and our special four-night package celebrating Belgian contemporary company Rosas ended last week. But, you can still subscribe to the 2015-2016 season with a self-programmed Create-Your-Own series of five or more events. In fact, you can order a Create-Your-Own series at any point during the season, gathering any five or more upcoming performances.

This choose-your-own-arts-adventure option has by far become our most-popular subscription method over the last several years. It makes sense. As a social media savvy society, we are increasingly able to curate our own experiences with information, pop culture and entertainment. It seems natural that arts lovers would gravitate toward desiring a series of events that will specifically enhance their individual interests. And our programming is eclectic enough that we know you are also likely to be exploring and engaging with new artists and experiences as you build those personalized series.

There are people who might ask– why subscribe to CAP UCLA or to any performing arts program at all?  Why not just buy tickets as the shows approach? We know subscribing to a series in advance definitely entails a certain amount of pre-planning on your personal calendar, self-education/research into artists as well as an initial financial investment—all of which might seem daunting.

But, if you’ve never purchased a subscription to a performing arts program before, consider some of the benefits. For us, and likely for many other organizations, the only discounts on ticket prices happen during the subscription window. For example, our series subscribers (anyone who purchases our pre-curated selections) save 15% off list prices. For our Create-Your-Own option, you save 10%. This adds up to a great deal per ticket, one you won’t get otherwise.

And, ticket fees, which no one loves, but are inevitable and necessary, are lower on a subscription package because you pay one fee for five performances, rather than doling out fees on five or more different purchases throughout the year.

At CAP UCLA subscribing is also your best way to get the best seats in the house. Our venues are not large–Royce Hall is an 1,800 seat theater, Freud Playouse just 500 seats. Prime seats go to first to our returning subscribers who are also philanthropic members of CAP UCLA, then to our repeat series subscribers. By the time individual tickets go on sale every year, there is very limited access to seats front-and-center in any of our venues. So if you’re the kind who loves to see the sweat on a dancer’s brow, or catch every nuance of an actor’s facial expression, or see fingers fly across a keyboard or guitar string, subscribing is your best bet to get that experience.

For us, subscribers are the foundation of success for any given performance. We are proud of the artists we present and we bring them to Los Angeles because we truly believe that there are people here who should witness them. The subscribers who sign on now to be here for a performance up to a year from now, we know are going to bring the kind of energy to this place that will lift us all up.

For those of you who subscribe year after year, we see you. We feel you and we thank you. For those of you who are new subscribers this year, we can’t wait to see what you bring to the program. And for those of you who pick up tickets as the season progresses, we are so appreciative of the support and energy you add to the whole process as the curtain call draws near.

Individual tickets go on sale June 26 at full price. If you see several things you like on our upcoming season, consider taking a chance and Create-Your-Own series now or at any moment before a performance begins.

Regardless of how you get here though, know that we’re extremely happy when you arrive.

Here’s a peek into my arts-addled mind. This is the series I would create if I wasn’t essentially already subscribed to every single performance.

Miranda July: New Society-Because I like earnestly rendered awkwardness and I like  community togetherness and this “social experiment” is poised to provide both.

Kid Koala’s Nufonia Must Fall–While I am an electronic music lover, I’m not super familiar with his DJ work, but I find this combination of electronic sounds, live string instruments and graphics very intriguing. Plus I have a huge soft spot for sweet-looking animated robots.

Taylor Mac’s 24-Decade History of Popular Music: The 20th Century Abridged.–Because I also have a huge soft spot for men in drag.  (Avid re-watcher of Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Rocky Horror Picture Show right here).  I caught Taylor in a performance at the Hammer earlier this year and not only is he incredibly glam, but surprisingly tender and with truly legit vocal chops. Can’t wait to see him bedazzle Royce Hall.

Akram Khan and Israel Galvan: Torobaka-I fell in love with Akram Khan’s work when we presented Vertical Road a couple of years ago. It was the same year he created this beautiful piece for the London Olympics opening ceremony, which the U.S. cut out of its broadcast in favor of a Ryan Seacrest interview. I’ve watched this segment many times since then and am looking very much forward to seeing Khan perform in what seems like it will be a very powerful physical dialogue between two dancers and two forms.

An Evening with Anoushka Shankar–I love the sitar and had many chances living in L.A. to see her glorious father perform live, none of which I took. I am remedying that mistake with the next generation.

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the 2015-2016 Season

The process of planning for and later presenting live performances is a remarkable encounter with careening variables. However refined a season schedule might be or however long we have planned with artists and colleagues for each project – we are ever aware that in an instant, things can change on a dime (and frequently do). Multifarious daily adventures become months and then a year, and a new season is born!

Since our work at the Center parallels life at large, it also offers us abundant recognition of how interdependent we are in creating the conditions for great artistry to arrive and thrive on our stages. That is a potential and vitality that includes you – our patrons, members, supporters, subscribers, audiences, students and visiting cultural omnivores. Without your interest, involvement and support, none of this would happen. Thank you.

As you have come to expect from Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, the 2015-2016 season reflects a diverse and highly considered program of contemporary performances.

One particular intention within our programming focus this season is the massive contribution of women in all of the art forms that our mission envelops.

Our Words & Ideas series is chock full of powerful, maverick and generous voices – from the literary genius of Ursula K. Le Guin, to the disarmingly brilliant cultural commentary of cartoonist Roz Chast. Miranda July returns to the Center for a top-secret experience, and we will hear from Moscow-based Russian feminist punk protest group Pussy Riot.

We also present a retrospective survey of one of the world’s most admired and influential choreographers Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker and her company Rosas. The world premiere of a major commissioned work by Ann Carlson, entitled The Symphonic Body UCLA features 100 performers culled from the workers on this campus. It is unlike anything you have experienced before. And, we present the world premiere of new work from L.A.’s beloved Latin-Urban collective CONTRA-TIEMPO under the direction of Ana Maria Alvarez.

Anne Bogart and SITI Company return to the season in a new collaborative work with Julia Wolfe and Bang on a Can All-Stars. And we’ve linked arms with our colleagues at Center Theater Group to welcome Young Jean Lee back to L.A. Her newest theater piece titled STRAIGHT WHITE MEN opens just in time for the holiday season. To start the season’s theater offerings, CAP UCLA is proud to present Desdemona, written by Toni Morrison and Rokia Traoré. Directed by the singular Peter Sellars, this thoughtful work is a re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Othello, as told from the female characters’ perspectives.

In music, Cassandra Wilson performs her disarming Billie Holiday tribute and Regina Carter takes the stage in collaboration with Sam Amidon, in a celebration of her own Southern roots. We will also host Anoushka Shankar, Noura Mint Seymali, Lucinda Williams, as well as Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho in an intimate concert featuring UCLA’s one-and-only Gloria Cheng—just to name a few. We love men too! A generous and formidable contingent of men join us as well.

Thank you for finding us, for supporting what we do, and for coming along as we host some truly unforgettable performances this season.

Here’s just a snapshot of what’s in store.  You can also click through the online 2015-2016 program guide.

From the Center: Delfos Danza Contemporanea–Royce Hall April 14, 2015

Unsigned editorial from the performance program notes. 

The Body is Beautiful. Get Used to It.

For one final time in the 2014-2015 we will rally around this idea as the impeccable dancers from Delfos Danza Contemporanea take the stage. Tonight they invite us to examine the masks we wear when looking at one another, at the world or even at ourselves.
Art in all its possibilities, permutations and reverberations can varyingly strip away a disguise, reveal new or forgotten truths, or grant us with a perfect costume that somehow serves the same purpose.

The body itself can be both a disguise and an unveiling, as it glides and stretches into new shapes, new possibilities.

The performers we welcome here tonight are unmasked and open, willing to share themselves, the beauty of their individual bodies, the stories and ideas and heritage embedded into each line, each syllable of movement. Cuando los Disfraces se Cuelgan (When the Disguises Are Hung Up) is a reflection on appearances, the loss and rediscovery of the self, told through a performance that combines multimedia and dance. You’ll find the lyrical aesthetic marked by intense physicality.

Delfos is one of the leading companies in Latin America, and one of the artistic imperatives of all involved is to see their vision as Mexicans transcend the local and connect with the universal from a humanist, ethical, political and social standpoint.

They are led by two incredible co-artistic directors Claudia Lavista and Víctor Manuel Ruiz who are committed to the ongoing exploration of possibility and purpose that is inherent in dance forms.

We count ourselves fortunate to have them with us tonight.
Thank you for being here.

 

A Little Versa Style Hits Royce Hall

Today, Versa Style Dance visited the Royce Rehearsal Room for a series of Design for Sharing workshops with fifth and sixth graders. Their work is an infectiously energetic blend of hip-hop, latin and afro-latin styles.  The company aims to elevate social dances–the moves spotted on street corners and quinceneras, on dance floors and school yards–of Los Angeles, counteracting the many misrepresentations and misconceptions of hip-hop and popular dances in the process.

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They covered a lot of ground.  There was salsa dance and popping and locking. There was a quick primer on ’90s hiphop and today’s internet-fueled hits likeThe Nene and The Whip (don’t worry, we didn’t know about those either–we’re still trying to learn the dougie).  There was a Soul Train tribute that had everyone dancing in their seats. No matter what they were doing, it was impossible to watch this young company, practically buzzing with enthusiasm, without a smile.

When Versa Style shares their work with student audiences, they also share a message of hard work, pride in your community, dedication to an art form, and the value of education. Many of the dancers are the first in their families to go to college.  Some are the first to finish high school. One of those was Ernesto, who started after-school dance classes with VersaStyle’s cofounder Jackie Lopez when he was just 12.  He graduates from UCLA’s World Arts and Culture department in June with a minor in Arts Education.  Our kids thought that was almost as impressive as his moves.

There were some pretty important take-homes for the 11 and 12 year olds in the audience today.  But for us, and for the company,  this morning was all about joy.  Joy in movement, joy in sharing, joy in inspiring and supporting a new generation of artists. Joy in bringing our whole selves when we do the things we love, on stage and off.

More shots below of the joy in full effect. All photos by Phinn Sriployrung.

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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.

“Movement” 2015

The Royce Terrace turned into a dance club on Friday, February 13 to launch CAP UCLA’s first Movement event—a party to bring art enthusiasts together to celebrate the artists and performances that inspire us.

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Following the Los Angeles premiere of Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion’s “When The Wolves Came In” guests partied with the company under the disco ball and danced to beats fueled by KCRW’s Garth Trinidad.

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A special shout-out goes to new CAP UCLA member Karin Okada who got the party started. Karin was the first guest to participate in the interactive dance video. Video of revelers dancing were projected on to the Royce Hall Building, which non-dancers got to enjoy while taking advantage of snacks and the cash bar. We’re very happy to provide  CAP UCLA members complimentary drink vouchers and members’ priority line at the bar for events like this.

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And, we’re very grateful for the CAP UCLA members and collaborators who made this party possible. Thank you Sasha & Bill Anwalt, Stu Bloomberg, Fariba Ghaffari, Deborah Irmas, Diane Kessler, Renee Luskin, Ginny Mancini, Julie Miyoshi, Edie & Robert Parker, Kathleen & John Quisenberry, Anne-Marie Spataru, Jennifer Simchowitz, DeeDee Dorskind & Brad Tabach-Bank and Patty Wilson.

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Check out more photos from Movement 2015 and both Kyle Abraham performances here. There’s more to come!