Lula Washington Dance Theatre at the Ford

Los Angeles, CA —  The Ford Theatres presents Lula Washington Dance Theatre (LWDT) on Friday, June 8 at 8:30pm, as part of its IGNITE @ the FORD! series. For this joyous evening of dance, the Ford Theatres has brought together three renowned choreographers – Kyle Abraham, Rennie Harris and David Roussève – to set works on one of Los Angeles’s most beloved contemporary dance companies, LWDT, alongside pieces by the esteemed Lula Washington and Tamica Washington-Miller. This performance is taking place in recognition of the 2018 Dance/USA Annual Conference, the country’s broadest gathering of dance professionals, from June 6-9 in Los Angeles.

Lula Washington and Erwin Washington, the company’s co-founder and Executive Director, will be recognized this summer for their impact on dance in Los Angeles and beyond. They will receive the Dance/USA Champion Award at this year’s conference. The Champion Award is given to an organization, business, foundation, or individual in appreciation for their achievements, leadership, outstanding service, and dedicated efforts that have sustained and significantly advanced the dance field in the Annual Conference host city. A national service organization for the professional dance field, Dance/USA sustains and advances professional dance by addressing the needs, concerns, and interests of artists, administrators, and organizations. The Dance/USA Annual Conference offers expertise from industry leaders, networking with peers, skill-building professional development, discussion on important issues facing the field, and more.

“When I realized that these three leading choreographers were all teaching at UCLA, I knew the stars had aligned,” said Ford Theatres Interim Executive Director Olga Garay-English. “Lula Washington Dance Theatre, which is home to both Lula Washington and Tamica Washington-Miller, major choreographers in their own right, is the ideal vessel to hold the work of this impressive trio of artists: Kyle Abraham, Rennie Harris, and David Roussève.”


Lula Washington Dance Theatre. Photos by Sol Washintgon.

Kyle Abraham’s 
Hallowed (2014) is performed by a trio and set to church recordings by Bertha Gober and Cleo Kennedy; it premiered in 2014 as part of Kyle Abraham’s Resident Commissioned Artist presentation at New York Live Arts.

A 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award recipient and 2015 City Center Choreography Fellow, Kyle Abraham (Pittsburgh, PA) is a 2013 MacArthur Fellow. Previous awards include being named a 2012 United States Artists Ford Fellow, a Creative Capital Fellow and receiving a 2012 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award. In 2010, he received a prestigious Bessie Award for Outstanding Performance in Dance for his work in The Radio Show, and a Princess Grace Award for Choreography in 2010. The previous year, he was selected as one of Dance Magazine’s 25 To Watch for 2009. Over the past several years, Abraham has created works for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Wendy Whelan’s Restless Creature and three works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. In 2011, OUT Magazine labeled Abraham as the “best and brightest creative talent to emerge in New York City in the age of Obama.”

Rennie Harris’ Reign (2010) was originally created for Lula Washington Dance Theatre’s 30th anniversary in 2010. In 2018, he revised the piece with funding by the Ford Theatres – this performance will be the premiere of the revised choreography. This work is about a young woman who loses her way, ends up homeless and finds redemption in the church.

Harris, born in North Philadelphia, founded Rennie Harris Puremovement in 1992 – An American Street Dance Theater company dedicated to preserving and disseminating hip-hop culture.  Voted one of the most influential people in the last one hundred years of Philadelphia history, Harris has received two honorary doctorates and several awards, including the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, the Governor’s Arts Award, a United States Artist Fellowship, Pew Fellowship, and Guggenheim Fellowship to name a few. The London Times called Harris “the Basquiat of the U.S. contemporary dance scene.”  He has choreographed multiple pieces for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre including Love Stories (a collaboration with Judith Jamison and Robert Battle), HomeExodus, and he’s currently creating a full evening length work entitled LAZARUS, which will premiere in December of 2018.

David Roussève’s Enough? (2016) combines projected video text (written by Roussève and created by video artist Cari Ann Shim Sham), sumptuous music from the 1960s, and a single lush kinetic phrase that is repeated faster and faster until it becomes a jagged cauldron of emotional energy; all to ask whether dance as an art form can even begin to address pressing social movements like Black Lives Matter.  Originally commissioned and performed by the San Francisco-based duet company RAWDance, Enough?extends Roussève’s investigation of the intersection of choreography and social conversation.

Roussève is a choreographer/writer/director/performer and magna cum laude graduate of Princeton.  His dance/theatre company REALITY has performed throughout the UK, Europe, South America and the U.S., including three commissions for the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival.  Commissions include Houston Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, Cleo Parker Robinson, Dancing Wheels, Atlanta Ballet and Tashkent’s Ilkhom Theater Co. In 2017 he choreographed a work for SITI company, Anne Bogart and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.  He has created three films, the most recent screening at film festivals in 11 countries and receiving 10 Festival Awards.  Other awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a “Bessie” Award, Creative Capital Fellowship, three Horton Awards, CalArts/Alpert Award, and seven consecutive NEA fellowships. At UCLA, Roussève is Professor of Choreography in the department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance and recently stepped down as Interim Dean of the School of the Arts and Architecture.

Lula Washington’s Open Your Eyes (2016), a suite to the legendary Earth Wind & Fire, examines Earth Wind & Fire’s feeling of love for all humanity. Lula Washington uses Open Your Eyes to send out a call for tolerance and love of all peoples, no matter their race, gender, sexuality, background or religion.

Lula Washington Dance Theatre. Photos by Sol Washintgon.

Lula Washington, founder and artistic director of Lula Washington Dance Theatre, hails from Watts, California. She has received numerous awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts choreography fellowship, the California Dance Educators Award of Excellence and a Woman of the Year Award from the California State Legislature.  Her dance often reflects the African-American experience, current and local events, police brutality, and civil rights.  She has also choreographed for such films as Disney’s The Little Mermaid and James Cameron’s Avatar.

Tamica Washington-Miller’s There is Always Tomorrow (2016) is about being silent and “the silence” from some leaders and people while horrible things are happening around us, as if to say: “let someone else deal with it” or “don’t deal with it now…there’s always tomorrow.” The piece was done as an exploration of people and the choices we make to “do something now” or remain in the loop, plugged into the matrix or the choice to wear rose-colored glasses and live a “sanitized” “normal” life, like “everyone else.” The opening text is from Jiddu Krishnamurti, a philosopher who challenges people to search for the deepest understandings of our own selves so we can move and navigate within this world of greed, violence, worship of money and hate.

Washington-Miller is the Associate Director of Lula Washington Dance Theatre.  She has choreographed half a dozen works for the touring company and is well known as a soloist and leading dancer in such works as We Wore The MaskOde To The SixtiesTasting Muddy WatersAngelitos Negros and other works. Tamica danced as a motion-capture artist in James Cameron’s Avatar; she was the motion body for Mo’aat queen of the Na’vi tribe. Tamica has also choreographed for the Moesha television series and for The Parkers. In 2016, she was appointed to the National Advisory Board of the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Tickets are available by visiting or by calling 323.461.3673.

(Images: Courtesy of Lula Washington Dance Theatre. Photos by Sol Washintgon.)

(© 2018 Davidson & Choy Publicity)


Written by

TVolution Founder and Managing Editor DARWYN CARSON completed a six-year stint as Managing Editor of Leonard Maltin’s Annual Movie Guide in 2015. She has been covering film since her early association with entertainment journalist Michael Symanski at She also covered film and restaurant news in her column Carson’s Corner for a variety of social publications. Her articles have appeared on Zap2It, Indiewire, and, of course, The TVolution. Follow Darwyn @bnoirlikeme. Follow The TVolution @thetvolution. Please Like The TVolution on Facebook.

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