Arts in the Valley, Saturday, September 29th, 6 am, 1480 KYOS AM

by arthouseflower

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Listen to Gail Benedict, producing manager of Arts UC Merced Presents, on Arts in the Valley at 6 am this Saturday on 1480 KYOS AM.

To Listen to Gail Benedict’s interview, click onto the link:  lulu dance-2

Innovative dance company performs at Merced Theatre 

By KRISTA BJORN – Sun-Star Correspondent  –

Wednesday, Sep. 26, 2012

MERCED — This weekend Arts UC Merced Presents will host the Lula Washington Dance Theatre at the Art Kamangar Center at the Merced Theatre.

“The Lula Washington Dance Theatre is a Los Angeles-based dance company that performs innovative and provocative choreography,” said Gail Benedict, producing manager of Arts UC Merced Presents.

“Lula Washington’s powerful, high-energy choreography is derived from many dance styles: ballet, jazz, performance art and street dancing.

“Many of her works reflect the African-American culture and history. Her athletic dancers are highly trained professionals, many from the inner city of Los Angeles,” Benedict said.

Ticket prices reduced

Normally tickets to such an event run as high as $100, but this special performance will be presented to Merced audiences at a cost of $10 to $15 per ticket.

“The only reason Arts UC Merced Presents is able to bring such a high-quality program to the community is because the Lula Washington Dance Theatre received a grant from the James Irvine Foundation to tour the Central Valley’s smaller communities, who might not have access to these kinds of performances,” Benedict explained.

“The grant has allowed us to keep the prices low so that as many people as possible have an opportunity to attend the performance,” she said.

The Lula Washington Dance Theatre’s activities include community outreach.

“We’ve arranged for them to do a presentation at Golden Valley High School for the high school theater students on the Friday before their performance,” Benedict said. “Following that, they will arrive on campus to do a presentation to our biggest lecture class called ‘Core Friday’ in the Lakireddy Auditorium.”

Kim McMillon has worked with Benedict and other women in promoting the Lula Washington Dance Theatre throughout the Merced community.

“What is powerful and exciting about this event is that not only will the audience watch some of the most innovative choreography on the planet,” McMillon said, “but they will also have the opportunity to hear icon Lula Washington speak about her company, her work in underserved communities, and the magic of dance.

Youth perspective

“Lula Washington uses dance to explore social issues and culture,” she said. “Her dancers are athletic, so that when they dance, they excite, bringing an energy and power to dance.”

McMillon is excited to see the responses of area high school students.

“I’m looking forward to seeing Merced youth watching this incredible dance company,” she said, “knowing that just as I remember seeing The Alvin Ailey Dance company, or Pilobolus Dance Theatre for the first time, they will also have wonderful memories of the power of dance.”

Lula Washington Dance Theatre

The Lula Washington Dance Theatre will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Art Kamangar Center at the Merced Theatre.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for general admission, and $10 for students and children under 12. They are available at the Merced Theatre box office.

Call (209) 381-0500 or go to www.mercedtheatre.org. Box office hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call Gail Benedict at (209) 228-4566.

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