Irvine, Calif., July 6, 2016 – Celebrated international artistic director and choreographer Lar Lubovitch has joined the dance department at the University of California, Irvine’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts as a Distinguished Professor.
Founder and artistic director of the New York-based Lar Lubovitch Dance Company for 48 years, he has produced more than 100 dances, and his company has performed in nearly all 50 U.S. states and over 40 countries. Lubovitch has been hailed as “one of the 10 best choreographers in the world” by The New York Times, a “national treasure” by Variety and among America’s “irreplaceable dance treasures” by the Dance Heritage Coalition.
“The addition of internationally renowned choreographer Lar Lubovitch to the UCI dance faculty is both an enhancement of the CTSA’s remarkable history of dance education and performance – beginning with Eugene Loring and continuing through Donald McKayle – and an exciting prospect for world-class dance to come,” said Stephen Barker, dean of UCI’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts.
“For decades, Lar has been the creator of some of the most provocative innovations in modern dance. Having choreographed his first piece in the late 1960s, Lubovitch has been at the center of the dance world ever since. He made his Broadway debut working with Stephen Sondheim on 1987’s ‘Into the Woods’ and has become a dance legend across every performance medium. His versatility will be of enormous value to our students and audiences; he’ll stretch their dance horizons and enchant them with his wit and creativity. The entire faculty of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts – and UCI in general – offers Lar Lubovitch the heartiest welcome.”
For his part, the choreographer said it’s “an honor to join such a forward-thinking and aspirational community of artists and educators. ‘Irvine,’ as it is popularly known throughout the American dance world, has always been esteemed as one of the top-tier universities of the arts in the U.S.A. It is not uncommon to cross paths with excellent dancers in leading professional companies whose lives in dance and inspiration as artists began at UCI.”
A prolific artist whose astonishing body of work spans more than half a century, Lubovitch creates dances that are famous for their musicality, lyrical style and classically sophisticated arrangements. Dance enthusiasts throughout the world have praised Lubovitch’s radiant choreography and deeply humanistic voice.
His diverse and extensive credits include choreography for the Mikhailovsky Ballet of St. Petersburg, Russia, and American Ballet Theatre; International Emmy Awards and a Tony Award nomination; Broadway success; ice dances for Olympic medal-winning skaters; a Grammy Award for a television ice dancing special; and an honorary doctorate from The Juilliard School. Lubovitch also founded the Chicago Dancing Festival with co-artistic director Jay Franke; free to the public, it draws more than 15,000 spectators annually.
Lisa Naugle, chair of UCI’s dance department, tenaciously recruited Lubovitch. “I began talking with Lar about the possibility of becoming a faculty member in 2013,” she said. “There were many details to discuss, which brought exciting new ideas about research and teaching into the process. Lar’s work has been amazing to me for a very long time, and it’s only right that he be recognized as a Distinguished Professor for his extraordinary accomplishments. His choreography combines subtle and spectacular technical achievement with ideas and subjects of social importance. The entire faculty of the dance department is looking forward to seeing him work with the dance students and having him as a colleague.”
UCI’s dance faculty unanimously voted for Lubovitch’s appointment. The department is no stranger to procuring esteemed choreographers. Lubovitch has been reunited with fellow icon Donald McKayle, a professor emeritus at UCI, with whom he began his professional career. During the recruitment process, Naugle invited Lubovitch to campus and arranged a lunch meeting with McKayle. “It was a magical moment,” she recalled. “They have tremendous respect for each other, and it’s been my hope that McKayle and Lubovitch would be in the department at the same time. That’s actually happening now and is very special, quite a rare opportunity for all of us to appreciate and learn from.”
Both professors are slated to present works at the annual Dance Visions concert in February at the Irvine Barclay Theatre.
Next week, Lubovitch will receive the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for lifetime achievement. The annual award honors choreographers who have made significant contributions to the field of modern dance.
Lubovitch will continue to lead and create pieces with his company as it approaches its 50th anniversary.
About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.
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