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EMPOWERMENT: MAXINE & BELLA at DCA’s Lankershim Arts Center

Start
April 26
End
April 27
Cost
Free
Council District
City Council District 2
Event Series Dates
Friday April 26 to Sunday April 28, 2024

The EMPOWERMENT project returns for its second year. Honoring women artists and activists who have impacted and redefined the human experience, EMPOWERMENT is a festival-style weekend of performances, social action, creative workshops, and documentary screenings. In 2024, EMPOWERMENT will honor the work of two National Medal of the Arts winners: Maxine Hong Kingston, a American born Chinese writer and educator and Bella Lewitzky, an American choreographer and life long advocate for artistic freedom in dance. 

The EMPOWERMENT: Maxine + Bella celebration will include three days of arts activities at DCA’s Lankershim Arts Center, located in the heart of the NoHo Arts District at: 5108 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood, CA 91601. All festival events are free and open to the public, but due to limited space, reservations are highly recommended via Brown Paper Tickets. For more information, please call: 213.270.8200.

An embodiment of DCA|PERF’s commitment to investing in hyperlocal creative communities and individual artists, the City has commissioned Bernard Brown, Mona Jean Cedar, Chris Emile, Caitlin Javech, Ibuki Kuramochi, Genna Moroni, Siwaraya Rochanahusdin, and Tracy Silver to perform dance and spoke word works that illuminate and reference the impact of Kingston and Lewitzky. Funded through DCA’s Lankershim Program Fund (LPF), the artists will ignite the stage with electrifying performances.

The weekend line-up is as follows: 

Friday, April 26, 2024

Performance at 8:00pm — Register here.

A celebration of Maxine Hong Kingston and Bella Lewitzky in spoken word and dance pieces by: Bernard Brown, Mona Jean Cedar, Chris Emile, Caitlin Javech, Ibuki Kauramochi, Genna Moroni, Siwaraya Rochanahusdin, and Tracy Silver.

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Youth Writing Class with Maxine Hong Kingston — 10:30am -11:30am — Register

Adult Writing Class with Maxine Hong Kingston — 12:00pm – 1:30pm — Register

Screening & Discussion — 2:00pm – 5:00pm — Register

A film screening of “Maxine Hong Kingston: Talking Story,” followed by a conversation with Maxine Hong Kingston about Asian American artists and the legacy of female storytelling in literature. 

Performance at 8:00pm — Register

A celebration of Maxine Hong Kingston and Bella Lewitzky in spoken word and dance pieces by: Bernard Brown, Mona Jean Cedar, Chris Emile, Caitlin Javech, Ibuki Kauramochi, Genna Moroni, Siwaraya Rochanahusdin, and Tracy Silver.

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Bella-Inspired Parent + Me Dance Class — 10:30am-11:30am — Register

Taught by LMU Professor Kristen Smiarowski for walking toddlers through age 4 year old children with caregivers. Siblings and pre-walkers can join, as long as each child has an adult. Make it a family affair! 

Intermediate/Adv. Lewitzky Dance Class — 12:00pm-1:30pm — Register

Taught by Walter Kennedy, who was a principal dancer with Lewitzky Dance

Company for nearly twenty years and served the company’s rehearsal director from

1990 until the company’s farewell performance in 1997. Accompanied percussionist T.J. Troy, this class is for the intermediate/professional trained dancer.

Screening & Discussion — 2:00pm-5:00pm — Register

A film screening of “Bella” followed by a conversation with the film’s Director, Bridget Murnane and Choreographer Lula Washington, moderated by Emily Wanserski.

Performance at 6:00pm — Register

A celebration of Maxine Hong Kingston and Bella Lewitzky in spoken word and dance pieces by: Bernard Brown, Mona Jean Cedar, Chris Emile, Caitlin Javech, Ibuki Kauramochi, Genna Moroni, Siwaraya Rochanahusdin, and Tracy Silver.

All artists, moderators and speakers are subject to change without notice.

ABOUT BELLA LEWITZKY

(January 13, 1916 – July 16, 2004) — Born to Russian immigrants, Bella Lewitzky’s journey through the world of dance began amidst the unique backdrop of a utopian socialist colony in the Mojave Desert and a ranch in San Bernardino. After moving to Los Angeles during her teenage years, she immersed herself in professional dance training. In 1934, Lewitzky joined Lester Horton’s modern dance company, became his lead dancer, and contributed significantly to the development of the renowned Horton Technique. It was during this period that she crossed paths with Architect/Set Designer Newell Taylor Reynolds, whom she married in 1940. In 1946, Lewitzky, in collaboration with Horton, founded the Dance Theater of Los Angeles—a groundbreaking institution housing both a dance school and theater on Melrose Blvd. In 1966, Lewitzky formed her own dance company, which existed for over 30 years in Los Angeles, CA and cemented her legacy as a maverick in modern dance. 

Bella Lewitzky chaired the contemporary dance department at Idyllwild Arts Academy, was founding dean of the California Institute of the Arts’s School of Dance, and was a dedicated political activist throughout her life. Her courageous stance in two high-profile encounters with the federal government underscored her commitment to principle, even at the risk of professional ostracism. Recognized with numerous awards and honorary doctorates, Lewitzky’s influence extends far beyond the stage, leaving an indelible mark on the realms of performance, education, and activism. 

ABOUT MAXINE HONG KINGSTON 

Maxine Hong Kingston is a Chinese American novelist, poet, and writer who received the National Medal of Arts in Kingston received the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama in 2014. The eldest of six American-born children of Chinese immigrant parents, Hong attended the University of California, Berkeley, as a scholarship student, graduating in 1962. At Berkeley she met aspiring actor Earll Kingston, whom she married in 1962, then moved to Hawaii, where she held a series of teaching jobs for the next 10 years.

In 1976 Kingston published her first book, The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts. It combines myth, family history, folktales, and memories of the experience of growing up within two conflicting cultures. The book was an immediate critical success, winning the 1976 National Book Critics’ Circle Award for nonfiction. In her second memoir, China Men (1980), Kingston tells the story of Chinese immigration through the experiences of the men in her family. Using the narrative techniques of The Woman Warrior, she relates their stories of virtual slave labor, loneliness, and discrimination. In Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book (1989), the main character—Whittman Ah Sing, named after Walt Whitman—narrates a peculiarly 20th-century American odyssey; the book combines Eastern and Western literary traditions while emphasizing the Americanness of its characters. In To Be the Poet (2002), written mainly in verse, Kingston presented a rumination on elements of her own past and the acts of reading and creating poetry. The Fifth Book of Peace (2003) combines elements of fiction and memoir in the manner of a Chinese talk-story, a tradition in which elements of both the real and imagined worlds become interpolated. I Love a Broad Margin to My Life (2011) is a “memoir-in-verse.”

Hong is a Professor Emerita at the University of California, Berkeley, and she has received several awards for her contributions to Chinese American literature, including the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 1981 for China Men.

Location

Lankershim Arts Center
5108 Lankershim Boulevard
North Hollywood, CA 90601 United States
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Website:
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