Academics & Faculty

UCLA National Dance/Media Project Names 1999 Fellows


Eight individuals have been chosen to participate in the UCLA NationalDance/Media Project Fellowship Program. The ten-week residency, which beginsin January 1999, is a major initiative of the Center for InterculturalPerformance in the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture's Departmentof World Arts and Cultures (WAC).

Fellows are selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants andundergo a rigorous screening process. The 1999 Fellows include seven professionalchoreographers and film/video artists -Charles Dennis (New York); VictoriaMarks (Los Angeles); Marlene Millar (Warsaw, Indiana); Morleigh Steinberg(Los Angeles); Philip Szporer (Montreal, Canada); Carmella Vassor (Philadelphia),and Andy Abrahams Wilson (San Francisco) - and UCLA WAC graduate studentDiana Sherwood.

Now in its second year, the Fellowship Program is an intensive professionalworkshop that provides the opportunity to study with distinguished leadersin the fields of dance and media. Fellows develop collaborative projectsthat explore the cutting edge of documentation and dance/media experimentation.While at UCLA, they have access to the rich resources of the Departmentof World Arts and Cultures and the Center for Intercultural Performance.

The UCLA National Dance/Media Project is designed to enhance the quality,quantity and accessibility of dance documentation. The program fostersgenerative strategies that record dance and enhance its creative practiceand intellectual investigation. In addition to the Fellowship Program,components include the Leadership Group, a core advisory team that meetsannually to provide expertise and develop strategies for advancement inthe field of dance.

The UCLA National Dance/Media Project along with the National Initiativeto Preserve America's Dance (NIPAD), Washington, DC, comprise SAVE AS:DANCE, a multimillion dollar national initiative funded by The Pew CharitableTrusts that advances the ability of artists and communities to documentand preserve dance choreography and traditions. SAVE AS: DANCE supportsthe significant contribution of dance artists and dance traditions to thedevelopment of American culture through documentation, preservation andpublic access. The Save As: Dance web site address is



The Pew Charitable Trusts support nonprofit activities in the areasof culture, education, the environment, health and human services, publicpolicy and religion. Based in Philadelphia, the Trusts make strategic investmentsto help organizations and citizens develop practical solutions to difficultproblems. In 1997, with $4.5 billion in assets, the Trusts granted $181million to 320 nonprofit organizations.

For further information about these and other programs, visit the Centerfor Intercultural Performance's web site at contact Ming Ng at (310) 206-1867 or at

Detailed biographical information about each recipient follows.


1999 UCLA National Dance Media Fellows Biographies

CHARLES DENNIS (New York) is a multi-disciplinary artist whocreates works of dance, performance art and video. A former member of RobertWilson's theater company, his work that has been presented in venues throughoutthe United States, Canada and Europe. Dennis is the recipient of two Choreographer'sFellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and two Fellowshipsin Choreography and Performance Art from the New York Foundation for theArts. His repertoire includes solo pieces as well as intergenerationalcommunity-oriented group works. He is the producer and director of "Aliveand Kicking," a video documentary series about cutting edge danceand performance artists. The series, which airs on Manhattan Cable, isdistributed to museums and universities worldwide, and has a web site ( 1978, he has taught dance, performance and video workshops in a widevariety of settings, including art centers, schools, mental health facilities,senior centers and universities. He is co-founder of Performance Space122 in New York City, one of the country's most active centers for newdance and performance, and serves on its board of directors and artistsadvisory board.

VICTORIA MARKS (Los Angeles), an assistant professor in the UCLADepartment of World Arts and Cultures, creates dances in community settingsas well as for stage, film, and professional dancers. Before coming toUCLA, she lived in England where she worked on choreographic projects anddirected the choreography program at London Contemporary Dance School forthree-and-a-half years. Her collaborations with British film director MargaretWilliams have been broadcast on television in the United States, Europeand Australia. Recent projects include site-specific work for the openingof the Getty Center; "Ah Q," a dance/theater collaboration withacclaimed Beijing playwright, Xu Ying; and performances in New York (DTW);Washington, D.C. (Dance Place); Los Angeles (J. Paul Getty Museum, CaliforniaPlaza and Dance Kaleidoscope); and Antwerp, Belgium. Marks received the1997 Alpert Award for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography. She hasbeen the recipient of grants and fellowships



from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Councilon the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the London ArtsBoard, among others, as well as a Fulbright Fellowship in Choreography.Her numerous awards for her dance films include the Grand Prix in the VideoDanse Festival (1995 and 1996); the Golden Antenae Award from Bulgaria;the IMZ Award for best screen choreography; and the Best of Show in theDance Film Association's Dance and the Camera Festival.

MARLENE MILLAR (Warsaw, Indiana), an experimental and documentaryfilmmaker, has been working in dance and film since 1988. Her exploratoryand collaborative work with both visual and performing artists has resultedin a number of award-winning films and videos. She received her film production and contemporary dance from Concordia University inMontreal, where she later taught video production classes that she developedspecifically for dance. Now based in the midwest, Millar has studied inthe graduate filmmaking program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicagoand is presently completing a documentary on small town life in the BibleBelt. An expert in the field of digital editing technology, she has createdtraining seminars and has worked as an advisor on feature films, televisionseries and documentaries. Planned projects include a series about the creativeprocess in the arts with colleague Philip Szporer.

DIANA SHERWOOD (Los Angeles), a dancer, performer, writer anddirector, is currently working on her second M.A. in the UCLA Departmentof World Arts and Cultures, having received her first in dance ethnographyin 1996. Her academic background includes studies in religion, philosophyand dance. She re-enrolled in World Arts and Cultures to explore cross-culturalconnections between performance and belief systems. The focus of her studieshas been to consider what meaning we make and express when performanceis bound to media and new technologies. Sherwood has created and performedin seminal dance and media installations at UCLA, and has danced as a soloistfor the Los Angeles-based Movement Company. She has also danced with theBoston Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Graham School in New York, andwith modern dance pioneer Hanya Holm. Sherwood was honored by working ona piece especially choreographed for her by Holm.

MORLEIGH STEINBERG (Los Angeles) is a dancer, choreographer,lighting designer and filmmaker. She was a co-founding member of ISO DanceTheater and a formative member of Momix, with which she has toured extensively.She has also toured with Daniel Ezralow and Friends, the rock group U2,and as a solo artist/performer. She has collaborated on several productionswith Los Angeles-based Butoh dancer Oguri and Roxanne Steinberg, and hasbeen working as lighting designer for Oguri and Renzoku. She choreographedand performed in numerous music videos and films, inspiring her to explorethe medium of film. She conceived and directed her first film, "TravelingLight," which was noted in festivals around the world. She continuesto direct film projects, including dance-inspired shorts, music videosand documentaries.



PHILIP SZPORER (Montreal, Canada) is a freelance writer, broadcaster,producer, lecturer and consultant. He is currently a correspondent forthe daily radio program, "The World," a co-production of theBBC and WGBH Radio, broadcast on Public Radio International. He has donevarious broadcast work in the arts, music, variety and public affairs divisionsfor the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio and television networks,BBC Radio and Radio Netherlands International. Publication credits includeHOUR, for which he is dance critic and feature writer; The Gazette; TheVillage Voice; The Globe and Mail; and Dance Connection. Szporer was danceconsultant on the National Film Board of Canada's award-winning "Lodela,"an experimental film that unites the arts of dance and film. Future projectswith colleague Marlene Millar include a series of films about the creativeprocess.

CARMELLA VASSOR (Philadelphia) has been involved in the artssince the age of seven, dancing with Omo Ife (Arthur Hall's African DanceEnsembles' Children's Company). She later studied drama at the PerformingArts School in Philadelphia. After receiving her B.F.A. in drama from NewYork University, she joined the Philadelphia Dance Company and worked withother area companies as well. Her desire to return to the dramatic artsinspired her to relocate to Los Angeles, where she also began her journeyinto film and television production. She gained experience with a localcable company as well as on low- and no-budget film/video projects. Duringthis time, she began producing community-based cultural, spiritual andmotivational programming. Now back in Philadelphia, Vassor has combinedher skills and interest in dance and the media arts. Most recently sheopened a video production studio, Wild Child Productions, where she plansto nurture dance media projects and provide an open space where dancers,choreographers and media artists can showcase, experiment and produce work.

ANDY ABRAHAMS WILSON (San Francisco) is an independent filmmakerwith a specialty in films about dance and the arts. He received his cultural anthropology from Northwestern University and his M.A. in filmand anthropology from the University of Southern California. He was nominatedfor an Emmy Award for his 1996 documentary short, "Bubbeh Lee andMe," a portrait of his grandmother and of his search for his placein the world. His feature film, "Positive Motion," documentschoreographer Anna Halprin's dance group of HIV-positive men. Drawing connectionsbetween performance and ritual, the film won Best of Show in the Danceon Camera Festival and top awards at the Grand Prix de Video Danse Festival.His other collaboration with Halprin, "Embracing Earth," showsdancers moving with the shapes, rhythms and textures of nature. Fascinatedby the transformative power of dance and movement, Wilson uses his cameraliterally to enter the dance. In all his work he strives to dissolve barriersbetween observer and observed to create a heightened sense of intimacy.He operates Open Eye Pictures, an independent production company.

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