Artist Alphabet with Gregory Maqoma, Catherine Cole and Polly Roberts

This unique event features the renowned South African choreographer Gregory Maqoma in dialogue with distinguished scholars. The Artist Alphabet will be a highlight of Maqoma’s two-week residency on the UCLA campus as World Arts and Culture’s UCLA Regent’s Lecturer for the 2010-11 academic year.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Room 200
Kaufman Hall
UCLA campus
Los Angeles, CA 90095

The “Artist Alphabet” interweaves artistic performance and scholarship and features Maqoma in dialogue with distinguished scholars on the topic of “Memory and Identity.” Maqoma will perform excerpts of his acclaimed dance-theater work “Beautiful Me” accompanied by Los Angeles-based musicians while Catherine Cole, a professor of post-colonial studies and African performance at UC Berkeley and Polly Roberts, an art historian of Africa and professor of World Arts and Cultures at UCLA, will speak about memory, identity, performance and cultural production. Susan Foster, an internationally recognized dance scholar and choreography professor in UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures, will lead a roundtable discussion and a reception will follow.

About Gregory Maqoma:
Born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, Gregory Maqoma has emerged as one of his country’s preeminent choreographers. As founder and artistic director of Vuyani Dance Theater, he creates complex and unpredictable dances that mix both traditional and contemporary movement styles and delve into deep explorations of identity and history. Maqoma has taught and presented his work throughout Europe, West Africa, Mexico and the United States and has produced a number of African arts festivals both in South Africa and the Netherlands. His choreography has appeared in the repertoire of other dance companies, including the South African Ballet Theatre and in multiple stage productions by the theater director James Ngcobo. Currently, he is collaborating with Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui on a new project called “Southern Bound Comfort.”

About the Scholars:
Mary (Polly) Nooter Roberts is a professor in UCLA's Department of World Arts and Cultures. She holds a PhD in Art History from Columbia University and served as Senior Curator at the Museum for African Art in New York until 1994 and as Deputy Director and Chief Curator of UCLA’s Fowler Museum until 2008. Roberts is the author and curator of thematic books and exhibitions that explore the philosophical underpinnings of African visual arts and expressive culture, such as secrecy, memory, writing and inscription, as well as topics of the body and female representation, arts of divination and healing, and theories of exhibiting. Her exhibitions and books include Secrecy: African Art that Conceals and Reveals (1993); Exhibition-ism: Museums and African Art with S. Vogel (1994); Inscribing Meaning: Writing and Graphic Systems in African Art with C. Kreamer et al. (2007); and with Allen F. Roberts, Memory: Luba Art and the Making of History (1996); A Saint in the City: Sufi Arts of Urban Senegal (2003); and Luba: Visions of Africa (2007).

Catherine Cole is a professor in the Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies at the University of California Berkeley. She is the author of Performing South Africa’s Truth Commission: Stages of Transition (2010) as well as Ghana’s Concert Party Theatre (2001), which received a 2002 Honorable Mention for The Barnard Hewitt Award from the American Society for Theatre Research and was a finalist for the Herskovitz Prize in African Studies. She is editor of Theatre Survey and co-editor of the book Africa After Gender? (2007). Her dance theater piece Five Foot Feat, created in collaboration with Christopher Pilafian, toured North America in 2002-2005. She has published articles in Africa, Critical Inquiry, Disability Studies Quarterly, Research in African Literatures, Theatre, Theatre Journal, and TDR, as well as numerous chapters in edited volumes. Cole’s research has received funding from the National Humanities Center, National Endowment for the Humanities, Fund for U.S. Artists, American Association of University Women, ELA Foundation, and University of California Institute for Research in the Arts.

Susan Foster is a professor in UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures. Choreographer, dancer, writer, Foster began presenting concerts of her own work in 1977. Since that time she has created several solo concerts which she has toured in the United States, Canada and Europe. She is the author of Reading Dancing (University of California Press, 1986), Choreography and Narrative (Indiana University Press, 1996) and Dances That Describe Themselves: The Improvised Choreography of Richard Bull (Wesleyan University Press, 2003). She is also editor of Choreographing History (Indiana, 1995) and Corporealities (Routledge, 1996). Ms. Foster's work has been supported by grants from the National Endowment of the Arts, the National Endowment of Humanities, and the Rockefeller and Jerome Foundations. 


Cost : Free and open to the public

For more information please contact:


Tel: 310-206-9227

Sponsor(s): African Studies Center, World Arts & Cultures/Dance