All the World's a Stage
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is not unusual for WAC grads and undergrads to feel that they've
lost their moorings in the swirl of experimentation and anti-disciplinary
thinking that characterize the department. But this is also a place
where students -- Parijat Desai, for example -- can make big breakthroughs.
an M.F.A. choreography student, the Indian-born, American-bred Desai
worked to find a bridge between her Indian heritage and her modern-dance
training. For her final M.F.A. concert, she created a new hybrid
choreographic form that gestures toward Bharata Natyam, a classical
dance of India, even as it incorporates notions of narrative structure
and movement exploration from postmodern dance. The Los Angeles
Times took note, describing Desai at her recent performances at
Highways in Santa Monica as "a major talent who bears watching."
Peter Sellars, the famous director of opera and theater and a professor
in WAC, has asserted, "We have to insist that art retain its complexity,
because in our society now all the social questions that confront
us don't have simple solutions anymore." Appropriately, then, WAC
is a very complex place indeed.
stream of fresh energy bubbling up in the department might have
gone unnoticed within this sprawling university were it not for
two things: Kaufman?s generous gift and the salutary choice of Moore
Ruble Yudell as the firm to redesign the building?s interior. Larger
endeavors than this have failed to establish homes capable of supporting
their visions. But for WAC, with its focus on the body and on breaking
down the walls between disciplines and cultures, the physical interpretation
of the department?s mandate emerges as particularly crucial.
at a recent faculty retreat Waterman announced that architectural
firms were being solicited to bid on the job, many faculty were
crestfallen, assuming that without magical intervention on the part
of the university we would be doomed to live in the architectural
equivalent of a parking garage. But the university, Dean Daniel
Neuman and the chair have done right by the department, hiring a
company headed by a serious thinker who essentially wrote the book
on the interaction between bodies and architectural space.