Why I Boogied With a Black Hole

Dance Your Ph.D. Allowed Me to Turn My Doctoral Research Into Performance, and to Combine My Love of Art and Science

I’m dancing over and around four people lying face-up in a giant L-formation on the grass of Caltech’s Beckman Lawn, a place usually devoted to Frisbee gatherings. I’m wearing a bunny suit (a hooded, head-to-toe garment traditionally only seen inside a laboratory), and like me, my companions are dressed all in white. We stand out sharply against the green grass, and passers-by stop to stare.

If we weren’t gyrating wildly to “The Humpty Dance” on repeat, we’d be staring, too. We’re all Caltech community members, and normally you can find us …

Dance Legend Debbie Allen

She Loves the People of L.A., and They Never Fail to Quote Her Back to Herself

Debbie Allen is a legendary choreographer, director, producer, actress, and dancer, and the founder and artistic director of L.A.’s Debbie Allen Dance Academy. Before talking about what it takes to …

Writer Erika Hayasaki

My Obituary, My Near-Death Experience, and the Future of Jobs in Journalism

Writer Erika Hayasaki teaches literary journalism at UC Irvine and is the author of the forthcoming book The Death Class; previously, she worked as a Los Angeles Times reporter. Before …

You Want The Arts? Well, The Arts Cost

Debbie Allen on the Hard Work, Persistence, Creativity, Education, Joy—and Yes, Sweat—That The Arts Require

Debbie Allen’s career has spanned film, television, and theater; acting, choreographing, directing, and producing; and serving as an ambassador and teacher of the arts in Los Angeles and around the …

Do-Si-Do That Stranger Round and Round

But Forget About Fourth Grade Gym Class—Square Dancing in Los Angeles Is a Party

My favorite moment in a square dance usually comes at the end—dozens, sometimes hundreds of strangers, standing in a circle, holding hands, smiling, laughing, and—gasp!—talking to each other.

In a world …

A Dancer’s Thousand Feats

Black Swan Choreographer Benjamin Millepied Has Plans For Los Angeles

Benjamin Millepied–former New York City Ballet principal dancer, choreographer of Black Swan, and husband of actress Natalie Portman–already loves Los Angeles. “I fell in love with this city the first …