Upcoming Dance Season: UCLA

Photo by Laurent Ziegler

Finally! Sorry for the late posting, given that Akram Khan Dance Company (pictured above) opens tomorrow. So here we go…


  • Oct. 5-6: Akram Khan Dance Company
  • March 15-16, 2013: Ultima Vez
  • April 4-5, 7, 2013 (plus other dates to be announced): Trisha Brown Dance Company

The lowdown:

With the arrival of Kristy Edmunds as the new artistic and executive director of UCLA Live, the university’s seminal presenting organization has changed its name to the long and unwieldy Center for the Art of Performance (or CAP) at UCLA. That’s of less significance than is Edmunds’ commitment to dance. UCLA has had a long and important role bringing major  dance companies to Los Angeles, companies not suited to the Music Center (though even that has changed). UCLA’s   commitment to dance took a battering, in my opinion, under previous director David Sefton, who cared far more about theater — and just about everything else – than about dance. (My first professional modern dance concert was Martha Graham at Royce Hall, oh, more than 30 years ago.) I hope to post a conversation with Edmunds soon, but her past work indicates that dance will be, again, on equal footing with theater, music and spoken word.

Akram Khan Dance Company kicks off the season with “Vertical Road” (in Royce Hall), a “journey from gravity to grace” in which Khan explores spirituality, and the human condition. Khan was a child prodigy in the classical Indian dance form called Khatak, and he moved on to modern dance forms while in college. His duet with ballerina Sylvie Guillem was stunningly beautiful (presented at UCLA) and I was also impressed with his group work “Bahok,” which came to the Irvine Barclay Theatre in 2010. (Read my review here.)

Ultima Vez is a dance-theater company from Belgium that performs multi-media pieces by Wim Vandekeybus. The choreographer’s piece “Blush” was performed at UCLA in 2004, and I thought that one was a dud. The company will be touring a revival of his 1987 breakthrough work, “What the Body Does Not Remember” (at Royce), which won a Bessie Award from the New York dance audience.

The Trisha Brown engagement is a biggie, with its own title, “The Retrospective Project.” It includes new work, revivals, and site-specific dances, including her iconic 1971 work, “RoofPiece” (literally, a dance on different tops of buildings) and “Floor of the Forest,” an installation work that will be presented in the courtyard of the Hammer Museum. Dates and times (and required city permits) are still being worked on for “RoofPiece” and “Floor of the Forest,” so stay tuned as to exact performance times. Those two will be free.

Three other performances are planned: April 4 — “Astral Converted” (1991), with sculptural towers by Robert Rauschenberg and a John Cage score, outdoors at UCLA’s Sunset Canyon Recreation Center; April 5 — “I am going to toss my arms – if you catch them they’re yours,” (2011), “Set and Reset” (1983, 30th anniversary) and “Watermotor” (1978), Royce Hall; April 7 — “Les yeux et l’ame” (2011, an adaptation of “Trisha Brown’s Pygmalion” ), “Foray Foret,” (1990, includes music of a marching band playing outside the theater), and “Spanish Dance” (1973), performed in front of the curtain.

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