UCI gets two experts for dancers

UC Irvine will present an informal showing of choreography by Alonzo LINES Ballet and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago on Friday and Saturday at the university's Claire Trevor Theatre.

During the companies' UCI residency, LINES artistic director Alonzo King created a new piece pairing Hubbard Street and LINES dancers.

After the sneak-peak showing at UCI, the piece will have its official premiere next February in Berkeley.

"LINES Hubbard is really a special event in that it is really bringing together two major choreographers and they're creating a work here," dance department Chairwoman Lisa Naugle said in a phone interview.

"We've always had guests and they've stayed for periods of time, and they've always choreographed on our students. This is the first time we've had two dance companies together working and creating in our studios."

In late August, dancers from the two companies taught two weeklong intensive dance workshops on campus.

During the workshops, UCI students and community dancers ages 13 to 28 were given the opportunity to hone their talent and further their careers.

The dance department, which emphasizes its diversity, has always had guest artists in residence from the United States and other countries, such as Belgium, France, Spain, Ghana, China and Korea, Naugle said.

In effect, the Artist in Residence program has given students the opportunity to explore their talents and other cultures, as well as network with different choreographers in the dance world.

"It's been great because, in many ways, the students not only interact with those artists when they are on campus, but they develop relationships," Naugle said. "So, when they graduate they can also seek those people out and they often become friends.

"So, it's exciting for us and for the field itself. We're just increasing the dialogue and the things that are happening within the creative realm."

Last year, Naugle went back to the drawing board and started looking at different models, processes and opportunities for residencies.

"I was sharing with [LINES-Hubbard summer program director] Jodie Gates some ideas about a residency program where people [guest artists] would have more opportunities for interaction with the students," Naugle said. "We'd have more options than [guest artists] just coming and choreographing or just coming and teaching."

An earlier version incorrectly referred to Jodie Gates as the Artist in Residence program director.

Naugle and Gates decided to expand the program by adding more in-depth interactions between the guests, students, faculty and the local community.

Future options include incorporating guest artists of different ages, exchanging faculty and students with international universities, and working with European institutions.

The department is arranging a residency supported by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation's Visiting Israeli Artist Program.

This year, the program will bring nine Israeli artists to select North American colleges and universities, including UCI, for residencies. As a result, audiences and students get a chance to engage with contemporary Israeli culture.

"One of our students had an interest in increasing the influence of Israeli choreographers on the campus," Naugle said. "Israeli choreographers are very, very interesting and there is a lot of very good contemporary work going on. And I was interested in that as well."

Last February, Naugle began talks with the foundation regarding a partnership with UCI for the residency of Idan Sharabi — one of Israel's young, leading choreographers.

A Juilliard graduate, Sharabi has danced with the renowned Batsheva Dance Company and the Nederlands Dans Theater. Last year, his works were performed in seven countries.

Sharabi will teach at UCI for eight weeks during the spring quarter.

"This will be our first artist from them [Schusterman] and we are really excited about it," Naugle said.

"This fulfills kind of this dream that I've had for the guest artist in residency program that is to be a deep immersion with our students for several weeks." she said. "My dream has always been that it would be for a quarter at a time, or maybe an artist residence for a year."

In the meantime, Naugle is feeling out budget, housing and cultural issues while tying up lose ends.

"We're thinking about expanding it to have some opportunities for the students to work with Idan in New York," Naugle said. "So, there are some new things we are exploring and I'll know more about it in a couple of months."


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If You Go

What: Alonzo LINES Ballet and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Informal Showing

When: 7 p.m. Friday and at 6 p.m. Saturday

Extra: Q&A; directly following each showing, with artistic directors Alonzo King (LINES Ballet) and Glenn Edgerton (Hubbard Street Dance Chicago)

Where: UCI's Claire Trevor Theatre, 4002 Mesa Road Irvine, Building No. 711

Cost: General admission is $25 and $11 for students.

Information: http://www.arts.uci.edu/tickets

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