Judy Mitoma

Judy Mitoma

Professor Emerita, Director of Center for Intercultural Performance (CIP)

Judy Mitoma joined WAC in 1982 and Dance in 1978. She was Director of the UCLA Center for Intercultural Performance and Professor of Dance in the Department of World Arts & Cultures. As the founding chair of the Department of World Arts and Cultures, in 1995 she established the only arts department in the United States based on interdisciplinary, international and intercultural research with a performance agenda. She is recipient of the distinguished 2003 John D. Rockefeller Foundation award from the Asian Cultural Council for her service in support of cultural exchange between the United States and Asia. Over the course of her tenure at UCLA, Professor Mitoma has spearheaded many special projects. From 1997-1988 she conceived and directed five Asian Performing Arts Summer Institutes in which outstanding artists from the United States and Asia participated in teaching and performance workshops on the UCLA campus. A highlight of these programs occurred in 1981 when Professor Mitoma directed the UCLA Classical Performing Arts Friendship Mission of Japan. This seminal project hosted 30 of Japan?s greatest artists at UCLA and included teaching, performance and television broadcast components introducing to the American public the arts of Nihon Buyo, Noh, Kyogen, Hayashi and Nagauta. These artists performed in Los Angeles, the Asia Society (NYC) and the Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.). A live satellite broadcast linking these American cities ?Between Sound and Silence? was co-produced by the Los Angeles PBS affiliate.

Continuing her research in the performing arts of the Pacific, Professor Mitoma has worked with UCLA faculty and students since 1980 to document the activities of the Pacific Island Festival of the Arts. Covering festivals held at Papua New Guinea, Australia, Cooks Islands, Western Samoa, and New Caledonia, she is currently working on a documentary on the New Caledonia festival. Professor Mitoma?s background in festival producing and international artistic exchange has contributed to the cultural life of Los Angeles. In 1984, she curated the Asian Pacific Dance Festival, for the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival, in 1986 she produced of An Evening of Courtly Arts, demonstrating new methods of staging and public engagement in non-conventional site specific production and design.

In 1990, she was Co-Curator of the 1990 Los Angeles Festival with Peter Sellars. This international festival brought hundreds of artists from twenty Asian and Pacific countries and presented them in various venues throughout the city. Her role in this festival was to identify, select and present the artists from Asia and the Pacific. Festival design and concept was drawn from models she had come to know through her years of travel and study around the world. In 1997 she was asked by His Holiness the Dalai Lama for help in ushering in the new millennium in the spirit of world peace and reconciliation. As a result, she initiated the World Festival of Sacred Music - Los Angeles in 1999, which she produced again in 2002 and 2005.

In 1991, she was awarded a Warren Weaver Fellowship to work at the Rockefeller Foundation in New York City. With the support of the foundation she was able to extend her understanding of the world by traveling and conducting research on the arts of Africa. In 2001 Professor Mitoma was appointed to the Advisory Council for the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

In 1995, Professor Mitoma received major funding from the Ford Foundation to develop an international exchange program. With this support she established the UCLA Center for Intercultural Performance (CIP) and the 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000 and 2004 Asia Pacific Performing Arts Exchange (APPEX) program. A humanities component was added in the 1999 and 2000 programs through the support of The Rockefeller Foundation. Over the course of these four APPEX sessions, 100 artists and writers from Asia and America have come together in international workshops that encourage artistic and cultural exchange and provide opportunities for creation, collaboration and experimentation. At the end of the 1997 APPEX program, under Professor Mitoma?s direction, CIP hosted Inroads/Asia, an international conference on the performing arts of Asia.

In 2003 and 2004, she produced the Art of Rice Traveling Theater an original full-length concert work, created by 11 international APPEX artists. The production toured major islands in Hawaii and California in 2003. During this period, the United States State Department awarded the CIP a major grant to host APPEX programs in 2004 and 2006. Another grant from the US Department of State will support the UCLA/Choreographers Arts Management Fellowship Program in 2006 and 2007.

In 1996, she inaugurated the UCLA National Dance/Media Project, a ground breaking five-year initiative funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Under the auspices of CIP and Professor Mitoma?s direction, this project supports the field of dance by providing advanced professional workshops for filmmakers working in the field of dance. Professor Mitoma is the Editor-in-Chief of the publication/DVD, ?Envisioning Dance on Film and Video,? published by Routledge, 2002, and the recently released volume titled Narrative/Performance: Cross-Cultural Encounters at APPEX, published in 2003.

In 2005 she produced and was able to broadcast a feature length documentary, ?Songs for the City of Angels.? This 54minute program features the interactions and encounters between local and international artists at unique sites in Los Angeles. The film was broadcast nine times on six PBS stations across California over a one week period- including two airing by KCET- Los Angeles.