LOS ANGELES – The Malpaso Dance Company from Cuba was scheduled to perform at The Music Center’s Ahmanson Theatre, but unfortunately for dance fans, the show was canceled.

What You Need To Know

  • The Music Center is one of the largest performing arts centers in the U.S.

  • The Music Center is home to the Walt Disney Concert Hall

  • Prior to COVID-19, The Music Center welcomed 1.3 million to performances annually

  • The Music Center Plaza reopened to the public in August 2019 after a $41 million renovation

Rachel Moore, President and CEO of The Music Center, had just reopened the plaza and was left with a new challenge.

“Essentially and this is true across the country, frankly across the world, the traditional proscenium based programming shut down,” said Moore. “And it’s tragic to see people not being able to do their work. Artists.”

Once a professional ballet dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, Moore left dance after injuring her foot and studied arts management at Columbia. When she moved to L.A. four years ago to lead The Music Center, she never expected a career in live performance would pivot to a digital experience.

“Because of what’s happened with COVID-19, I believe it’s actually a catalyst to our moving forward with a really deep digital strategy, something that is comprehensive,” said Moore. “It is a way for us to learn new ways of having dance and other art forms really having a meaningful presence online.”

To uphold The Music Center’s civic identity and artistic mission, The Music Center Offstage was launched as a virtual arts destination. It features curated programming including performances, interviews, and arts activities, all available on The Music Center Offstage website. Now students who once were able to attend performances in person are able to attend from their living rooms.

Dance instructor Brittany Washington is grateful to share these shows with her Lynwood High School students while they stay safe at home.

“It’s especially important because all of the students are primarily, I want to say, Latin and African-American, so I try to expose them to different cultures and other things just so that it’s not only the basic jazz, tap, hip-hop type dance,” said Washington.

The goal of Music Center Offstage is to fill a need while the doors are closed. But the digital experience is not something Moore expects will go away once the pandemic is over.

“It’s just the beginning of what we think we can do,” said Moore. “We really want to explore not just streaming content, but also streaming content people can participate with.”