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If there is one gap in a three-day [engagement] with a dance company or theater ensemble that three days can make or break an entire tour. There's a lot of commitment and multiple years of discussion that go into these things -- then visas, protocol, homeland security -- and the resources to get the visas in position." Knowing that UCLA has had a performing arts live presenting program for close to 80 years, Edmunds said, "When you look at that, you have to look across multiple decades and chapters and eras that have committed to exploring the practices of live performance."There's probably chapters in which historically speaking, it was one of the only things standing.
Articulate and near zealous when it comes to the arts, Edmunds put into play her years-long relationships with some of the world's greatest artists, including theater/opera director Robert Wilson, composer Philip Glass and performance artist Laurie Anderson, by instituting long-term residences, as well as shorter term fellowships at UCLA.In September, Licia Perea, who was recently appointed Bootleg's director of dance, presented the third annual Blak Tina Festival, celebrating Black and Latina choreographers. And, last June, the Lester Horton Awards, a celebration of Southern California's dance community presented by the Dance Resource Center, took place at the equity waiver-sized space.No stranger to awards herself, Edmunds, 50, who was born in a small town in Washington state, was the first visiting scholar at Philadelphia's Pew Center for Arts & Heritage this year.Hopefully," he added with a laugh, "it's not just a shotgun apartment, but there's some resonance." REDCAT's annual New Original Works (NOW) Festival and ongoing Studio series, the latter featuring informal new performance works and works-in-progress, have also benefited local artists.Murphy said his criteria for mounting such works are similar to those he applies to imported work. "Are they doing another version of what they've always done or are they going to take the opportunity to create a new way of telling a story or a new form -- to do something that goes deeper." Most of us do go to the theater to experience a form of heightened reality, as well as to be impacted emotionally.Her abiding love for dance has also been evident in programming: In 2013, Edmunds gave the groundbreaking choreographer, Trisha Brown, now 79, a retrospective, including presenting, "Man Walking Down the Side of a Building." The director recently explained that programming decisions don't necessarily occur in single projects or in single artists.
"One of the things I look at from the institution itself, a criteria for us -- meaning the Center -- is: Do we have adequate resources to support the work as it was intended to be experienced by a public -- which is not as easy as it sounds -- the ability to find avenues of context and connection to diverse publics from the students to academic scholar areas, to the general public; and are we able to build bridges and connections across different kinds of people?
"It [was] an in-depth survey in key arcs in this hugely significant choreographer's practice.
To me it's like opening multiple nights and multiple projects to an audience being in-residence." Edmunds understands her responsibilities -- to audiences, board members and the institution itself.
I try and look at those projects which are very robust and how they land here and how I can hold that work well here." Edmunds pointed out that everything seen on stage has an impact on culture.
"When I am looking at work and different artists and companies and bands and theater makers, there's not a fixed criterion line.
"We're looking to support companies that don't have spaces and for work that is bold and daring," explained Hanna.