Lula Washington

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Harriet & Charles Luckman
Fine Arts Complex
Contact: Diane Turner
Phone: (323) 343-6616
Fax: (323) 343-6423

Date: Nov. 7, 1996

LULA WASHINGTON DANCE THEATRE
PERFORMS WEST COAST PREMIERE OF WHAT ABOUT WATTS
AT LUCKMAN THEATRE ON NOVEMBER 16 AND 17

World Premiere of Just-Us by Ron Brown, Donald McKayle's
Songs of the Disinherited and Washington's Jookin are also featured

Los Angeles, CA -- Luckman Theatre presents the west coast premiere of What About Watts, by the Lula Washington Dance Theatre and the world premiere of Just-Us by Ron Brown, on Saturday, November 16 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, November 17 at 4 p.m. What About Watts, inspired by the shooting death of Washington's 14-year-old nephew, calls attention to inner city violence and features music by the late Tupac Shakur. Just-Us is an all-male interpretive modern dance piece loosely dealing with issues facing males in the justice system and features music from the Kronos Quartet. Call TicketMaster for tickets or (323) 343-6610 for the Luckman box office or general information.

What About Watts (1996) is choreographed by Lula Washington and features hip hop, modern and jazz dance styles. It debuted at Lincoln Center in New York City this past September, receiving standing ovations and accolades from the critics. "Not afraid to depict the bitter truth, she filled her dance with portraits of addicts, criminals, youthful members of street gangs and adults trapped by despair...the performers were strong and Ms. Washington's convictions and artistic aspirations were admirable," wrote the New York Times. Young people have said the work is "fresh" and "real."

Ironically, the New York debut of What About Watts, featuring the gangsta rap music of Tupac Shakur, came shortly before he was shot and killed in Las Vegas.

"What About Watts addresses inner city violence and explores the lifestyles of today's youths. It looks at the issues and realities that face young people every day of their lives. We are also saying that art can help transform lives," says Washington. Washington's nephew was killed on the streets of South Central Los Angeles. What About Watts is a tribute to his death and a mirror of what the Lula Washington Dance Theatre is contributing to that community.

According to Erwin Washington, her husband and executive director of the Lula Washington Dance Theatre, they have raised more than $1 million to redevelop half a city block in South Central Los Angeles, bringing social alternatives and jobs to the inner city. "We plan to help turn around both the area and kids of the community by building a dance studio and community arts center with a variety of programs for youth. These include gymnastics, martial arts, theater, music and dance-- positive things to try and give them an alternative to the gangsta culture," he says.

Also on the program for both nights will be Songs of the Disinherited, a 1972 classic by celebrated choreographer Donald McKayle; Washington's rhythm and blues suite Jookin, which explores the Saturday night parties she attended as a teen-ager in Watts and which was inspired by Terry McMillan's book Waiting to Exhale; and the world premiere of Ron Brown's Just-Us. Brown, a former member of the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, is an instructor at UCLA and at the Lula Washington Dance Theatre.

In its 16th year, the Lula Washington Dance Theatre is one of Los Angeles' oldest continuously operating modern dance groups.

Luckman Theatre, part of the Harriet & Charles Luckman Fine Arts Complex, is located on the campus of Cal State L.A. at the Eastern Avenue exit of the San Bernardino (I-10) freeway near the interchange of the I-10 and I-710 (Long Beach) freeways.


WHO:
The Harriet & Charles Luckman Fine Arts Complex presents the Lula Washington Dance Theatre performing the west coast premiere of What About Watts and the world premiere of Ron Brown's Just-Us. Also on the program will be Songs of the Disinherited, a 1972 classic by celebrated choreographer Donald McKayle and Washington's rhythm and blues suite Jookin.

WHAT:
What About Watts, inspired by the shooting death of Lula's nephew, calls attention to inner city violence and features music by the late Tupac Shakur. The dance explores the lifestyles of the inner city and the reality of the streets. It made its world premiere at New York's Central Park Summerstage on July 12 and received accolades from the critics. Just-Us, an all-male interpretive modern dance piece, loosely deals with issues facing males in the justice system and features music from the Kronos Quartet.

WHEN:
Saturday, November 16 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, November 17 at 4 p.m.

WHERE:
Cal State L.A.'s Luckman Theatre, junction of I-10 (San Bernardino) and I-710 (Long Beach) freeways

TICKETS:
$30/$25 for general; $12 for students/seniors
Tickets--TicketMaster (213) 365-3500/(714) 740-7878
Luckman Box Office (323) 343-6600 (Wed.-Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.)

INFO:
General--Luckman Office (323) 343-6610

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