Throughout these past months, USC Kaufman School of Dance students and faculty have continued to do extraordinary work, creating and presenting new dance pieces and continuing to serve the local community through dance education.
Kaufman Connections goes online
This academic year, a record number of USC Kaufman BFA students, also known as “teaching artists,” participated in Kaufman Connections, the school’s community engagement initiative. With most public schools across LA County closed for in-person instruction, Kaufman Connections provided an important way for kids at 32nd Street Elementary to stay connected with their classmates and be physically active, all while learning hip hop from Kaufman teaching artists.
The semester culminated in the Fall 2020 Virtual Hip-Hop Dance Celebration. The event took place on Dec. 9, 2020 and featured students and their teachers from all participating classrooms at 32nd Street. The celebration included a class video montage, a live family workshop and a freestyle dance party led by Professor Bong and USC Kaufman teaching artists. A number of 32nd Street students’ family members, USC Kaufman staff and representatives from several program funders also joined the fun. In all, over 220 participants were able to partake in the festivities.
See this video of Kaufman scholarship recipient Bella Allen, (Class of ’22) talking about her experience as a teaching artist.
32nd Street Elementary School students perform at the Glorya Kaufman International Dance Center courtyard in April 2019 | Photo by Gina Clyne
A/Part to/Gather Dance Festival
As part of the fall semester’s culmination, USC Kaufman students and faculty presented A/Part To/Gather, Kaufman’s first virtual dance festival. This two-week celebration which took place November 1-13 included presentations of student and faculty choreography, and student dance films and projects. The festival had over one thousand views online from all over the world.The cornerstone of the festival, the New Works piece, featured USC Kaufman students performing new choreography by Artist in Residence and former Alvin Ailey dancer, Hope Boykin
, faculty member E. Moncell Durden
, guest artist Francesca Harper
and faculty member Saleemah E. Knight
. The New Works performance was presented as an artistic compilation video with some of the choreographers bringing in filmmakers to help put their piece together.
The shift from practicing and thinking about performing in a theater and proscenium stage to adapting dance for the screen have pushed Kaufman artists to explore different dimensions of performance. The online festival showcased the incredible versatility of talent among Kaufman students as they not only performed and choreographed but at times, edited, art directed and even filmed their work.
Artwork for the A/Part To/Gather Dance Festival | Photo by Rose Eichenbaum