Thursday Feb 16th, 2017
“Dance is key to culture, empathy and memory.” – Kristy Edmunds
On Wednesday, February 8, almost 100 artists, educators, arts leaders, students and journalists gathered at UCLA’s DeCafe in Perloff Hall to hear renowned choreographer Jonah Bokaer, multi-disciplinary artist Daniel Arsham (1999 YoungArts Winner in Visual Arts) and Executive and Artistic Director of CAP UCLA, Kristy Edmunds, talk about collaboration and creative choices at the first YoungArts Salon in Los Angeles. This conversation—a prelude to the much anticipated West Coast debut of Bokaer and Arsham’s Rules of The Game performance—delved deeper into their working relationship, as well as their respective artistic practices.
Arsham, who was introduced to the world of dance by Merce Cunningham, described how the late legend’s process championed an independent relationship between the set and choreography. Cunningham would delineate the space that Arsham should plan for, and the dancers would have their own areas, both separate and sovereign of his set design. With Bokaer, a former principal with Cunningham’s company, the reverse is true. More specifically, for Rules Of The Game, the creative process was intensely collaborative with composer David Campbell, producer Pharrell, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, who recorded the score.
While the performance’s premiere on Friday, February 10 illuminated many of the topics discussed earlier during the week at the YoungArts Salon, a near-packed house at UCLA’s Royce Hall revealed elements and influences that could not be articulated through words alone. Several California locals noted how Bokaer’s choreography appeared to reference the Bay Area’s “hyphy” sub-culture, while others focused on the interplay—and occasional dissonance—between the dancers, props and projections.
Four-time Grammy nominated producer/artist MeLo-X brought the CAP UCLA and YoungArts “Movement” after-party to another level, replete with a 360-degree immersive video experience—similar to virtual reality—simulating a Rules Of The Game rehearsal experience with the dancers. In taking a step back from this exciting program, Edmunds’ words, “Dance is key to culture, empathy, and memory” ring true as the thread that connected so many people from various walks of life throughout the week.