As the year ends and we prepare to return to live performance in the spring, we asked some of our patrons to help us look back on our last live presentation at Royce Hall, Toshi Reagon’s Parable Of The Sower. Thank you to all who filled out the survey!
Based on Octavia Butler’s popular novel, the much-anticipated concert opera piece that Reagon worked on as an artist in residence with CAP UCLA during 2018-19 was presented to a sold out crowd on March 7, 2020. The survey respondents said they were excited and there was an ‘exhilarating great energy’ in the hall.
The show, a testament to the power of performance, has been referenced positively by several Angelenos as the last live show they saw before the pandemic shutdown. And the Los Angeles Times declared it a ‘lavish, powerful work’ and that ‘there is a genuine power to the Reagons’ “Sower.”’
Our patrons said:
“I love live performance, and Ms. Reagon’s work that night was no exception. And then – poof – the pandemic hit and we haven’t been to a live performance since.”
“I’m glad that my last live show was such a good one.”
“Incredibly happy to remember this as ‘the last public gathering I attended before [the pandemic began].’”
Now we’ll ask you, what is your favorite part of being in a theater? Share your memories with us on social by using #CAPUCLA. And save the date for our spring announcement on January 11th.
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
It’s Welcome Week on campus. Freshmen are moving in to their dorms, professors are returning to their offices, and the marching band is rehearsing every afternoon. In just a few short days, UCLA classes will be back session, and Design for Sharing’s free K-12 programs will be officially underway, too.
Down here in the Center’s offices in the basement of Royce Hall, we’ve spent the last month getting ready to welcome a brand-new crop of students from public schools across our city. It’s a thrill to watch our inbox fill up with RSVPs for our free Demonstration Performances, and hear what teachers and kids are most excited about.
There is a lot of great art to look forward to this year, as always, but this fall we’re also looking back on how far we’ve come. For the last 45 years, Design for Sharing has brought a world of creativity and inspiration to public school students in Los Angeles. More than half a million students have experienced performances in Royce Hall or participated in a hands-on arts activity with DFS.
Check out this photo, from one of our early years (circa 1973, guessing from the hairdos).
The striking thing about this shot is the familiarity of it, the timelessness. It would be easy to recreate this scene out on the quad before a Demonstration Performance, even now. The very first season of Demonstration Performances featured chamber music, ballet and Shakespeare. It was just five performances, and brought around 3,000 students to Royce Hall.
Today, Design for Sharing performances and workshops attract close to 15,000 students a year for a diverse line up of world music, contemporary dance, and innovative theater.
We present artists and art forms that were practically unimagined 45 years ago. We’ve seen trails blazed and envelopes pushed, and we’ve shared it all with eager young minds. We’ve been surprised, an often moved, by how students connect with ideas that are not just new to them, but new to everyone. And still, there’s a sense of continuity. The smiles, the uncertainty, the excitement and curiosity—we still see all of that at every event we host (and the UCLA students still lounge under the portico arches).
It’s still a little bit magical.
Over the years, we’ve had to evolve, not just artistically but logistically, too. We’re not just providing free performances any more: we’re subsidizing buses. Transportation seems like such a boring, utilitarian thing when we’re talking about sharing inspiring art, but for most of our schools, it’s actually the least attainable item on their special activity budget. So, it’s become a larger and larger portion of our budget. We’re aiming to offer 200 free buses this season!
You can help us celebrate our 45th year, and help us expand our legacy of generosity by adding $4.50 to any CAP UCLA ticket purchase. There is an automatic option to make this gift when you buy CAP UCLA performance tickets online, or you can add it to any phone order placed at the UCLA Central Ticket office.
The cost of a DFS Demonstration Performance in Royce Hall—where kids often take their first seats in a professional performance space, have their first interaction with professional artists and get their first glimpse at a college campus—averages less than $20 per student, including bus transportation to UCLA.
A lot has changed since our visionary founders started us on this journey back in 1969, but our core mission remains: we continue to make world-class performances available to young audiences; we continue to welcome thousands of students to our beautiful campus each year, and we will always be excited when a bus load of kids get to see something wonderful and new.
Our next year of sharing the arts begins on September 25, with DakhaBrakha. More than a thousand students will experience this group from the Ukraine. They’ll see instruments and hear sounds and songs they’ve never encountered before.
You can check out the rest of our events here. We hope you’ll join us–everyone’s welcome.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.