Tag Archives: UCLA

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.

 

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.

Breathing Circles

We began rehearsals this week with flutist extraordinaire Claire Chase to prepare for the West Coast premiere of Cerchio Tagliato dei Suoni (Cutting the Circle of Sounds). This is a rarely performed work for 104 flutes, four soloists situated at the four corners of the performance space and 100 migrating performers who continually move throughout the space, cutting into the circle of sound created by the soloists.

We gathered at the Hammer Museum Wednesday and Thursday night for public rehearsals where we were introduced to several very interesting breathing techniques that make this instrument play a very different role than one would usually expect from it.

It was fascinating and kind of physically dizzying actually. As Claire pointed out several times, we were doing breathwork tantamount to several yoga classes.

We all brought our own relationship to the flute, to performance and to music in general and it is a piece that creates space for that individuality to shine.

Tonight we move over to Schoenberg Hall and we’ll explore how to activate that space in this very purposeful manner.

Check out images from our rehearsals below and read Claire’s note for the program. We hope you’ll join us and become part of this circle of sound and breath we are creating.

I have always been fascinated by the emotional impact of a single, unpitched exhalation into the flute, a sound that, as we discovered during our thrilling public workshops at the Hammer Museum this week in which both flutists and non-flutists participated, anyone can make with exhilarating individuality, purpose and nuance. There is a kind of irrepressible poetry to this most quotidian of labors: the simple gesture of breathing in and out, trying precisely not to make a tone on the most lyrical of musical instruments. As I found myself engrossed in the sounds that this remarkable group of people, the youngest of them ten and the oldest in his seventies, were huffing and heaving and woooof-ing into these tiny metal tubes Wednesday night, I was reminded of Rumi’s wise words on flute-playing from nearly 800 years ago: We have fallen into the place/where everything is music.

 Salvatore Sciarrino’s sonic explorations of the flutist’s bow arm – our breath — have metabolized into slow-moving soundscapes, operas and immersive musical experiences that defy categorization. There are few composers since the 18th century who have done more to expand the expressive capacity of the flute than Sciarrino, whose compositional influences range from Perotin to Punk Rock.  Cutting the Circle of Sound, which takes its inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic spiraling architecture, is one of the composer’s most intrepid investigations into a few simple, barely audible sounds re-imagined en masse.

The composer describes the impulse of the work through the patterns of a particularly fearless, but supremely delicate migrating animal:

 “A wild butterfly crosses the space and seems to fly randomly, but she has a precise direction and she is at once moving of her own volition and not ever alone. There are no living beings that don’t move periodically…. In recent times we have seen that our species is very attracted to the opposite instinct, to home, to stability, to the absence of motion, to keep ourselves and our society in balance. An impossible balance. Impossible? Yes, life is mutation.”

 The hour-long piece has only been performed a handful of times, and it has never been documented as a complete performance, so our work this week has been equal parts inventing and inheriting a nascent oral tradition. I have been in constant contact via Skype and e-mail with Luisa Sello, the Italian flutist who premiered the work under Sciarrino’s supervision, and members of our dedicated migrating flute force have been online with one another, communicating between Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Brooklyn, sharing instructional videos, impressions, musings and ideas on breathing new life into humankind’s oldest musical instrument.

 I am grateful to The Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA for taking the leap to present the West Coast Premiere this afternoon; to the brilliant sound engineer and instrument-builder Levy Lorenzo whose idea it was to design LED lights that illuminate the migrating flutes; to Erin, Christine and Michael for their tireless work on the devilishly difficult solo parts; and most of all to my fellow fearless, migrating, metamorphosing flutists.

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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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Flutes, Flutes and More Flutes!

We are looking for 100 flutists of all shapes sizes and skill levels to comprise our “Flute Migranti” as part of master flutist and International Contemporary Ensemble co-founder Claire Chase’s April 4 appearance at CAP UCLA. She will be leading a special performance of Salvatore Sciarrino’s  “Cerchio Tagliato dei Suoni” (“Cutting the Circle of Sounds”) an immersive 60-minute work for 104 flutists: 4 soloists and 100 migranti, who move throughout the theater playing air sounds  and simple extended techniques. Participants in the migranti can be all ages (10 and older) and all levels, all you need is a flute and an enthusiasm for making new sounds on the instrument.

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This piece is aural theater and it has only been performed once in the U.S. Our presentation is the official West Coast premiere and it’s not soon to be repeated. Read more about this unique work and its 2012 presentation at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Positioned around an audience arranged in a square with an aisle cut through it, the soloists exchanged trills, hisses, sputters and violent bursts. Around 10 minutes into the 70-minute work a cadre of 100 additional flutists — “migranti,” Mr. Sciarrino designates them — marched through the aisle, playing breathy, hooded sounds at the cusp of audibility. These players, seasoned professionals and small children alike, circulated intermittently, some using intact instruments while others blew through head joints only.

I’m tickled at the thought of a heard of flutists floating through Schoenberg Hall. I have many memories of being part of herds of flute players in my life. And there’s this very incredible emotional high you get from being inside a sound, being part of an orchestra or conglomeration of people making music, making sounds.

I started playing the flute when I was 11 years old after experiencing an introduction to orchestral instruments in the weekly music class at my middle school. (This was in the 1980s, we had music class every week, we learned to sing and read music and play basic tunes on myriad instruments). I, like so many other musically inclined young girls, fell in love with the flute. It was beautiful to look at, beautiful sounds came out of it. I felt (and still feel) beautiful whenever I pick it up and make music with it.

As I traversed the years that followed, I discovered the flute appealed to a multitude of young musicians, many of them girls. Every audition, every competition, every music camp I attended for the next 15 years was punctuated by a sea of fellow flutists vying for a seat, a spot or a score. My private teacher would gather together all of her students every Christmas and institute a “flute choir,” and we would perform crowd-pleasing songs of the season at a busy shopping mall in Phoenix, Arizona. It was almost always an all-girl group of performers, even though at the time my only knowledge of a professional flutist in real life was James Galway, who I adored and wanted to see whenever he came to my city.

Counting myself among a sea of flutists was a big part of my artistic development. I eventually became good enough to find myself a soloist, or a featured performer, earning a scholarship to college in 1990 where I discovered an even greater sea of more-talented and more-dedicated flutists in the world than I was.

But I was young and content for my chosen instrument to become a hobby rather than a career. I still love to play. I look at music that I used to proficiently perform and enjoy and can pick out much of it, which makes me feel more nostalgic than chagrined at my deteriorated skill.

It’s a beautiful instrument and I still love making music with it and hearing others make music with it.

I’m very much looking forward to seeing Claire Chase perform and witnessing every possibility of this wonderful instrument in the hands of a contemporary master.

And of course I jumped at the chance to join the gathering of flutist that will be part of her performance.

If you play the flute, or used to play the flute and long for an opportunity to dust it off, please join me. It’s going to be a very special moment on the season.

Claire will lead two public workshops with the migranti to prepare for the performance.

Ideally participants would be available for all rehearsals, but we can be flexible with schedules.

Schedule:

Wednesday, April 1: 4-7 pm

Thursday, April 2: 4-7 pm  (April 1st and 2nd are at the Hammer Museum, free parking available)

Friday, April 3: 6-9 pm  (Rehearsal at UCLA’s Schoenberg Hall)

Saturday, April 4:  (1:30 rehearsal, 4:00 Performance at Schoenberg/UCLA)

For more info and to confirm participation, contact Meryl Friedman mlfriedman@arts.ucla.edu

 

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:

“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.

“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!

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.

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.