Guest Blog by Mike the Poet: Dance Door Opens for Compagnie Käfig

Above the eastern steps of The Music Center, directly across from Grand Park is one of the most iconic sculptures of both Downtown Los Angeles and the city itself. “Dance Door,” is the bronze frame and doorway sculpture originally created by the celebrated late sculptor Robert Graham in 1978. As writer Michael Several wrote in 1998, “The work consists of three sections: small fragments of dancing figures appear in relief in the bottom half; larger fragments of dancers in relief in the next quarter; and a cutout frieze of silhouetted dancing figures on the top.” This elegant artwork frames City Hall on the eastern horizon and has been the site of countless photos for over a generation of Angelenos.

“Dance Door,” is a meaningful sculpture for many reasons. The most obvious is that its’ beauty pays tribute to the many dance events that The Music Center hosts every year. The work was so successful that it also led to Graham creating many more sculptures throughout the city including his “Olympic Gateway” piece at the Memorial Coliseum for the 1984 Olympics and his “Source Figure,” sculpture above the Bunker Hill Steps next to the Library Tower. Graham has also created equally significant works that remain standing in New York City and Washington D.C.

“Dance Door,” was commissioned by the late Frederick Weisman, who was one of the America’s best known art collectors, for installation near his swimming pool at his Beverly Hills home. Weisman donated the monumental sculpture to The Music Center in 1982 where it still stands, greeting pedestrians walking up the steps to enjoy another Music Center production.

On Friday June 17th through Sunday June 19th, Dance Door will be open for three ticketed performances of one of the most dynamic dancing events to ever appear in Los Angeles: Compagnie Käfig.

Choreographed by Artistic Director Mourad Merzouki, this event features the confluence of Hip-Hop, Capoeira, Samba, electronic music and Bossa Nova.  Performed by an all-male cast of 10 Brazilian dancers, the show will fuse martial arts, street dance, acrobatic skills and high energy into an interdisciplinary show that transcends tradition and usual expectations.

Merzouki founded his company in 1996 and the French choreographer has won international acclaim because his Dance Company presents performances that unite South American, European and North American movement into an aesthetic vocabulary that utilizes Hip-Hop and dance culture to bring worlds together and make sociopolitical statements that can be felt on the visceral level.

Walk through “Dance Door,” to witness a new world of movement with Compagnie Käfig.

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Mike Sonksen aka Mike the Poet is a 3rd-generation Los Angeles native that grew up in the LA underground. After graduating from high school shortly after the 1992 Rodney King Rebellion, Mike started at UCLA in the fall of 1992 and from this time he has spent thousands of hours attending Hip-Hop events, performing spoken word poetry and writing record reviews for a wide range of magazines and websites.

Summer is Here

We’re calling it – with the first Dance DTLA event this Friday night (Dance Downtown: Bollywood), Los Angeles is officially in summer mode!

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Back for the 12th year, The Music Center’s Dance DTLA kicks off THIS Friday night, June 3! Head downtown for an evening of dancing under the stars on most Friday nights from June-September, 2016. Plus, grab some yummy specials for your picnic basket at Grand Central Market’s extended Summer Nights hours and hop on the free Downtown Concierge Shuttle over to The Music Center!

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New Favorite Los Angeles Couple

Our new favorite Los Angeles couple is a pair of ducks that has been frequenting The Music Center campus this week.

Most recently they came out of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion parking lot elevator and strolled on the plaza…

Only to become understandably intrigued by the upcoming production of American Ballet Theatre’s Firebird.

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Minds made up, they waddled over to the box office to get their tickets for the show in July, proving that the arts are, indeed, for everyone!

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Some bonus shots below:

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This Weekend at The Music Center: Valentine’s Day Edition

Happy Hump Day, everyone! Here is an early This Weekend at The Music Center for those of you who are in need of some last-minute Valentine’s Day plans.

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Friday

Start the weekend off right with Center Theatre Group’s The Mystery of Love & Sex at the Mark Taper Forum. The play offers an explosive look at romance, race and our connections to each other in a world full of tangled and complicated differences. Or if you’re in a mood for theater that tickles the funny bone, catch An Act of God starring Emmy Award® winner Sean Hayes at the Ahmanson.

At Walt Disney Concert Hall, the LA Phil is setting the mood with their CITY OF LIGHT: A Century of Music from Paris series. On Friday, come to CITY OF LIGHT: Mother Goose, with Installation or catch the world premier of The Wooster Group: The Room by Harold Pinter over at REDCAT.

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Saturday & Sunday (Valentine’s Day!)

All of the shows from Friday have additional performances through the weekend so check the links above for dates and times.

Additionally, Saturday is the opening night of The Magic Flute at the LA Opera. Don’t miss this visually stunning production that is a celebration of true love conquering all. February 13 is the only day to catch the show this weekend, but it runs through March 6.

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Over at Grand Park, love is in the air this Saturday at PROUD Love, celebrating the LGBTQ and ally community. Enjoy a sunny afternoon dance party with a photo booth, dance floor and square dance lessons bringing together love of all kinds.

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Valentine’s Day Dining

Bonus dining tip: Patina Restaurant Group has a special Valentine’s Day: Love Bites & Potions menu available. View & Reserve.

No matter what you choose, we wish you a weekend full of love!

DOROTHY CHANDLER PAVILION REMIXED

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Even from a distance, you could tell something special was happening at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Streams of green and blue light darted off the chandeliers and through the Mondrian windows, inviting you to enter the peculiar world of Sleepless: The Music Center After Hours (Sleepless).

This past weekend we celebrated the third installment of the Sleepless series, and it did not disappoint. Flocks of fans braved a warm February night in Los Angeles for a taste of The Music Center after hours. From the Founder’s Room to deep below the stairs, the pavilion was alive with sounds and beats, lights and imagery, puppets and pillows. The pavilion was decked out for a luxurious good time.

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We had the opportunity to collaborate with dublab again, helping us tap into the pulse of LA’s unique music scene. Things kicked off with DJ crew Mas Exitos, along with their expertly curated assortment of tropical classics and rare oddities.

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In true Sleepless fashion, the arrival of each guest was announced aloud by our cheery staff. Flanking either side of the Grand Staircase were a few newcomers to the affair. Boyle Height’s own Self Help Graphics & Art brought their workshop directly to the party. Guests and their DIY shadow puppets danced the night away atop cityscapes by Self Help’s own Daniel Gonzalez and Martha Carillo.

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On the other side of the lobby, guests became the puppets themselves. Fresh off of their epic projections at N.Y.E.L.A., yU+Co graced the Grand Lounge with an interactive video installation alongside the audio works of composer John Wiese.

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Touch, the London-based imprint, burrowed themselves deep below the stairs, creating a truly 360º installation. Eight speakers surrounded you, blending together pieces from their artist roster in real time.

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Past the bronze Plazzotas statues and up the Grand Staircase, Stern Grand Hall was transformed into a space of futuristic leisure. The video and sound synthesized with the mid-century design of the hall in a way that was both nostalgic and innovative. The audience listened intently as they reclined below the chandeliers, gazing upwards as animated light reflected back down towards them. Leaving Records provided a diverse soundtrack including worldly, spiritual songs from Carlos Niño, the undulating synthesis of M. Geddes Gengras, and frantic juke-inspired beats from Ahnnu.

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Meanwhile around the corner, in the illustrious Founder’s Room, wide-eyed dancers shuffled and stepped under the watchful gaze of Dorothy Chandler herself. As the disco-ball spun and the records revolved, the ESP Institute put on a clinic of their own. Straight from Amsterdam, Tako joined a cast of his label-mates including Cooper Saver and Lovefingers.

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It didn’t matter where your personal experience took you that night, the experience of Sleepless is as exclusive to every individual as it is universal to the whole. Because of these unique factors, no two Sleepless nights can ever be the same. Surrendering themselves to the spectacle and the allure of the night, each artist created for the collective. With open minds, the audience was able to check their preconceptions at the door and revel in the moment. Combined they were able to tap into the heartbeat of the city at night.