connect / 2020

The Music Center’s Dance DTLA

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by The Music Center and Grand Park

Following COVID-19, The Music Center will relaunch its programming through Dance DTLA, a series of diverse dance engagements featuring live music, DJ sets, and dance instruction. Beginning with virtual dance parties and dance instruction, by mid-summer Dance DTLA will transition to our Plaza where Angelenos can participate in-person or virtually. These engagements will help our communities recover from social isolation by providing Angelenos from all demographic, economic and social backgrounds outlets for connection, expression, and exchange.

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

  • We anticipate the return of the following Dance DTLA teaching artist-partners (listed alongside the length of their tenure with The Music Center):
  • Rick Dominguez (aka DJ Rick) – Line Dance & Two Step, 12+ years;
  • Leslie Ferreira – Salsa, Bachata, and Cumbia, 10+ years;
  • Fransini Giraldo – Samba, 8+ years;
  • Ilona Glinarsky – Argentine Tango, 10+ years;
  • Brandon Juezan – Hip-Hop and Funk, one year;
  • Chuck Maa – K-Pop, one year;
  • Achinta S. McDaniel – Bollywood, 12+ years;
  • Andrew Vaca – Disco, 80’s and 90s, 13+ years.
  • In addition, we expect collaboration in the form of financial support from past funders such as Bank of America and the Korean Cultural Center. We are also bringing civic partners including the League of Women’s Voters and the Los Angeles County Registrar in order to supplement our dance engagements with voter registration and voting informational booths.

If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organizations in the project.

Teaching artist-partners will work with The Music Center through the planning and execution of both the online and in-person dance engagements. They will provide instruction, perform online and on-stage, as well as provide music.

The League of Women Voters will set up booths on the Plaza to help attendees register for voting and is also looking to pilot online endeavors with The Music Center in support of voter registration. The Los Angeles County Registrar will assist these voting initiatives by providing voter registration workshops for volunteers who will also be working alongside the League of Women Voters.

Lastly, we expect collaboration in the form of financial support from past funders including Bank of America and the Korean Cultural Center.

What is the need you’re responding to?

COVID-19 has resulted in mass cancellation of artistic programs. Dance DTLA will play an important role in returning LA to normalcy after our prolonged social isolation and responding to the need for Angelenos to engage in the arts. Given our 15-year history of connecting Angelenos through dance, many of whom are eager for this dance season to resume, it’s important that we respond by relaunching and adapting our offerings to fill the voids left by the current climate. Dance DTLA is also an entryway for new participants of all ages and backgrounds, dancers and non-dancers alike. This is especially true due to the declining performing arts attendance. According to the Irvine Foundation, this decline is partly due to people from diverse communities having historically not felt welcomed at cultural venues, as well as facing barriers such as cost and travel time. This is significant because arts engagement has been shown to bridge the gap between social, demographic, and economic lines.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?

The Music Center is Los Angeles’ largest performing arts center, welcoming over 1.7 million visitors across its multiple venues annually. Shifting its focus towards community engagement and inclusivity —priorities solidified with the hiring of nationally-known arts engagement expert Josephine Ramirez — The Music Center continues to offer numerous free and low-cost programming from large-scale dance parties and concerts to art making workshops in order to redefine its spaces for new audiences. Given our history, rapport with communities, and judicious financial planning, we are poised to bounce back from COVID-19 and reinstate programming. We have the space, resources, and social capital to be an inclusive convener of all constituents, sharing information, as well as bringing together people. We also have the technology to elevate the program into the 21st century including the live streaming capabilities to engage thousands of dancers from home.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

Direct impact
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, The Music Center will help communities recover, reconnecting them with each other and with the arts. Through meaningful arts engagement, we will foster empowered citizens who are essential to a healthy civil society and a thriving democracy. We will reactivate the Plaza as a space where people can both see and express themselves, their communities and their cultures in public performances and exhibitions. The Music Center will be recognized as a welcomed community-convening space where dialogue and interaction occur regularly.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

The Music Center envisions a festive series of dance engagement both on the Plaza and digitally throughout the summer and into the fall. We will measure success based on the following assessments:

  • Audience turn-out: We anticipate serving at least 20,000 community participants (10,000 community participants on the Plaza and 10,000 community participants digitally)
  • Audience Satisfaction & Knowledge via Surveys: In-person and online surveys will assess participant experience as well as demographics
  • Production of diverse and eclectic content: The Music Center will provide an eclectic range of dance genres that highlights the diversity of Los Angeles (Salsa, Funk, Reggaeton, etc.)

To help The Music Center remain in the vanguard of innovation in serving the public and creating relevant dance programming, we also hope to discover and assess through our surveys: a) the impact of this new engagement during a time when the need for engagement has increased b) how social distancing has impacted an art form – in this case, dance and dancing socially – which typically has been practiced in relatively close social contact; and c) how physical distancing has changed our relationship to public space resulting in newly adopted behaviors in public built environments.

Which of the connect metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Public arts and cultural events
  • Voting rates

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?

  • LA is the best place to LEARN
  • LA is the best place to CREATE
  • LA is the best place to PLAY

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?

  • Access to the LA2050 community
  • Communications support