A Selective Guide to the Arts in Los Angeles

Artist, performer, choreographer and recent Doris Duke Artist Award recipient Ann Carlson has been in Westwood for the past year galvanizing 100 members of the UCLA staff and faculty and students from across the campus to create “Symphonic Body/UCLA.” This new rendition of a structure previously developed at Stanford University will have its world premiere on Saturday, Nov. 21, at 4 and 8 p.m. in venerable Royce Hall.

Drawing from a movement vocabulary based on each participant’s daily life and work routines, the director has amassed a unique and idiosyncratic assemblage of gestural portraits that she labels a “social sculpture.” The cast includes students, athletes, professors, drummers, designers, administrative staff from multiple departments, facilities workers, researchers, vice chancellors, coaches, librarians and more. Invited to perform by being mentioned in another participant’s answer to the question, “Who are some of the people at UCLA who inspire you?,” Carlson has observed each dancer at work, and together (the choreographer and the performer) they created phrases of movement that are specific to the individual. “Symphonic Body/UCLA” continues the dance maker’s ongoing exploration of untrained performers, movement and the everyday.

Carlson has been recognized by national awards, fellowships and residencies at places like Harvard, Stanford and UCLA, and has toured her work internationally since the 1980s. This eye-opening, envelope-pushing collaboration is described in promotional materials as “a window into the breadth of individual labor and activity that animates the university.”

This writer doesn’t think Royce Hall has ever seen anything like this.

—Benn Widdey, Culture Spot LA

Royce Hall is located at 340 Royce Drive, LA 90095. Tickets for “The Symphonic Body UCLA” are $15 for all UCLA students, faculty and staff and are available at cap.ucla.edu. Tickets for the general public are $19. For more information, visit https://cap.ucla.edu/calendar/details/symphonic_body.