Lula Washington Dance Theatre
Founded in 1980 in inner city Los Angeles by Lula Washington and her husband, Erwin Washington, this vibrant troupe is known for powerful, high-energy performances, unique choreography, and works that are rooted in African-American culture and history. Lula Washington Dance Theatre (LWDT) celebrated its 35th Anniversary in 2015. During its first 35 years LWDT danced across the globe, from the United States to Russia, China, Brazil, Kosovo, Germany, and other countries. In addition to performing, the company has a passionate commitment to education and community outreach both at home and on tour.
Lula Washington (Founder/Artistic Director)
Lula Washington grew up in the Nickerson Gardens Housing Projects in Watts, CA. She was inspired to dance after a teacher took her to see the Alvin Ailey dance company at UCLA. She later applied to study dance there but was rejected for being too old, at age 22, to start dance training. She appealed and was admitted. She earned a master’s degree in dance and became one of UCLA’s most successful dance graduates – having formed a successful international touring dance company and inner city dance school. Her choreography moved one prominent New York Times dance critic to call Lula “a gifted original.” Her choreographic work is known for its passion; its bold willingness to tackle important issues and to break rules and advocate for the proper treatment of human beings.
While still a student, Lula danced in the Academy Awards telecast and in the films Funny Lady with Barbra Streisand, Sgt. Pepper with the Bee Gees, and King Kong. Lula later choreographed The Little Mermaid movie; James Cameron’s film Avatar; and a special project for NASA regarding the first human mission to Mars.
Along with her dance company, Lula maintains a community-based dance school in South Los Angeles that offers affordable dance training for inner-city youth. Her work was honored by the Minerva Award, given by former California First Lady Maria Shriver; the UCLA Chancellor’s Award in Community Service; and the Delta Sigma Theatre Trailblazer Award at their 2015 national convention in Houston, Texas. In June 2018, Lula and her husband, Executive Director Erwin Washington, shared DANCE USA’s Champion Award for their leadership in Los Angeles area dance.
Tamica Washington-Miller (Associate Director/Next Generation Leadership)
Tamica Washington-Miller is the Associate Director of Lula Washington Dance Theatre, (LWDT), based in Los Angeles, CA. Tamica handles programing and outreach for the LWDT school and professional company. She oversees LWDT’s Youth and Young Adult Dance Ensembles, its Summer Programs and Company Training. Tamica also manages relationships and collaborations with local high schools and community organizations.
Tamica is a graduate of the inaugural Association of Performing Arts Professionals Leadership Fellows Program. She is currently participating in Activate Arts: Cultural Policy a program in Los Angeles that trains Artists to work with local government agencies and organizations to create access and opportunity through the arts. She has participated in the California Community Foundations’, (CCF), Preparing Achievers for Tomorrow, (PAT), program. She earned a scholarship to participate in the Fund-Raising Academy for Communities of Color lead by Compass Point. Tamica also earned a scholarship from the Los Angeles County Arts Commission to complete training in the Leadership LA program. Tamica is also currently working with the Anchorage Concert Association in Anchorage, Alaska on a year-long project. She will premiere a new work based on her experience working with local artists, refugees, and immigrants. Tamica believes deeply that the art of dance can save lives, heal people, and have an important role in social and environmental justice.