Thousands Celebrate Completed Grand Park

Day-Long series of events capped by Bandaloop's "Bound(less)" vertical dance on City Hall leaves visitors amazed

By LatinoLA Contributor
Published on LatinoLA: October 22, 2012

Thousands Celebrate Completed Grand Park

Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina joined thousands of visitors in downtown Los Angeles in a "gravity-transcending" celebration of the official grand opening of the completed Grand Park. A day-long series of free events that featured entertainment cascading throughout all four blocks of the park, the grand opening culminated with the first Los Angeles vertical dance, "Bound(less)," on the exterior of City Hall by international aerial movement pioneer, Bandaloop.

The highly invigorating dance performance turned City Hall into a vertical dance floor and featured complex, dynamic choreography with dancers suspended from climbing ropes hundreds of feet high. Visitors to Grand Park watched the performance from the park's newly opened Event Lawn, the last section of Grand Park.

"We gathered tonight as one community to share a spectacular, one-of-a-kind experience in a park that is truly grand, and that each of us can call our own," said Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina. "Today is just the beginning for Grand Park. Our future here will be filled with music, song and dance, sharing, laughter and learning among the many diverse groups that make up our boundless county."

Grand Park's festivities began in the morning with "A Taste of Dance," presented by The Music Center as part of its Active Arts series, on The Music Center Plaza, where visitors enjoyed dance lessons in a variety of styles in a salute to Latino Heritage Month. Programming then moved in the afternoon to Grand Park's Fountain Plaza with a novel, high-energy performance in the Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain that premiered in July at the park's civic dedication.

This command reprise, entitled "A Fanfare for Grand Park," featured a dance choreographed by Jacques Heim, artistic director for Diavolo Dance Theatre, and live music under the direction of its composer, David O. Musicians in the "Fanfare" orchestra included the classical quintet "Brass Pacifica," members of the well-known "Mariachi Los Camperos" and West African master drummer, Malick Sow.

The evening's entertainment continued on the Performance Lawn, launching Grand Park's "World Jazz Series," with music by Latin Jazz duo "Dos y Mas," which features percussionist/composer Arturo Stable and pianist/composer Elio Villafranca. The Cuban-born artists warmed the crowd with music deeply rooted in percussive traditions from around the world as they saluted the importance of tolerance, diversity and the power of music to bridge differences, three values acknowledged during a month-long series of events around the world known as Daniel Pearl World Music Days.

Park visitors then viewed video projections welcoming Grand Park on the exterior of the Hall of Records on the Community Terrace, and joined in a countdown to the public opening of the Event Lawn, led by County Supervisor Gloria Molina. Visitors were the first in the county to witness a dance performance never before shown in Los Angeles, as Bandaloop lit up the exterior of City Hall with "Bound(less)," a large-scale vertical dance.

Led by Bandaloop's Artistic Director Amelia Rudolph, the dancers changed the audience's perspective of gravity by dancing high up on the western side of City Hall overlooking the park to live music by composer/cellist/trombonist Dana Leong. With City Hall as its dance floor, the Bandaloop performance capped off a day of diverse performances that gave visitors a taste of what Grand Park has to offer in terms of future events, both large and small.

"Grand Park provides an ideal setting to produce and present events and activities that everyone can enjoy and that will contribute to building community," said Lucas Rivera, director of Grand Park. "We are excited to see so many people experiencing the many dimensions and spaces of this great park, today and every day, as they make Grand Park their own. This truly is the park for everyone."

"Today, as we celebrate the grand opening of this beautiful public park, we also pay tribute to the possibility of creating a space that reflects the needs of both residents and businesses alike," said Bill Witte, president of Related California, which provided both funding and project management for the development of the park. "Grand Park has surpassed our expectations and is already drawing visitors, residents and new life to Grand Avenue."

The grand opening celebration of the completed Grand Park (from Grand Avenue to Spring Street) introduced the entire park to the public. From the Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain to Olive Court, to the Performance Lawn, to the Flag Garden in the Community Terrace, and the Event Lawn and dog run, visitors now have access to the entire park. They are encouraged to take the Metro Red Line to Civic Center Station that lets riders off right in the middle of the park. In addition, parking is available in Lot 10 with entrances on Broadway and Hill Street between First and Temple Streets (also in the middle of the park) and in Lot 17 at Olive and First Streets (enter from Olive Street).

The park's fall calendar includes a range of events and activities with appeal to a wide variety of park visitors, including:

AXIS Dance Company ‘«Ű Grand Park welcomes AXIS Dance Company, one of the world's most acclaimed and innovative ensembles of performers with and without disabilities, who will give audiences a new perspective on the power of physically integrated dance (October 27, 2012; 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.);

Dedication of the Cherry Blossom Trees ‘«Ű The Japanese Consulate joins with the county to dedicate the cherry blossom trees in Grand Park's Community Terrace in honor of the 100th anniversary of the donation of cherry trees by Japan to the United States. (November 2, 2012; 4:00 p.m.);

Grand Park Presents Downtown Dia de Los Muertos ‘«Ű Grand Park presents the first official downtown Dia de Los Muertos celebration with live music and visual artists from the Latino community (November 2, 2012; 5:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m.); and

Flash Fest ‘«Ű The Music Center inaugurates Flash Fest with an event at Grand Park. Flash Fest is a new pop-up art happening that explores all art forms in myriad ways with appeal to all ages and interests. Each event will turn on a particular theme, which will be up for a short time and then disappear until the next Flash Fest. The first event at Grand Park is "High Roads and Railroads," a musical intersection of an African American string band, "The Ebony Hillbillies," with the traditional Irish folk music of "T?ģada," along with a number of interactive arts workshops (November 4, 2012; 5:00 p.m.).

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