Choreographer Loretta Livingston grew up in the ranch land of the Central Coast of California---in the community of Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County---and is a fifth generation Californian. She showed promise in both dance and visual art from an early age, and received training and encouragement in both areas. Her first career choice was to be a visual artist, entering the art program at California State University, Fresno, where noted feminist artist Judy Chicago was then teaching. While there, Livingston continued taking ballet classes and was exposed to modern dance for the first time. Feeling at home with the creative and improvisatory emphasis in modern dance, Livingston gradually shifted her focus from visual artist to choreographer/performer. The frustrations she had felt in expressing her ideas as a painter were being resolved in the temporal, spatial and kinetic concerns of choreography for the stage---a living canvas.
In 1970 Livingston met famed West Coast choreographer Bella Lewitzky, who had come to Fresno State University to perform with her company. Lewitzky was also recruiting for the newly formed multi-discipline arts conservatory, California Institute of the Arts, located in the high desert community of Valencia, just north of the San Fernando Valley in southern California. Livingston auditioned for Lewitzky and was accepted into the fledgling CalArts Dance School. She moved to Los Angeles in 1971, beginning a relationship with Lewitzky that continues to this day. Receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance from CalArts in the spring of 1973, Livingston had already been asked to join the Lewitzky Company. Beginning as an understudy, she began a ten-year process of working her way through apprenticeship to company member, to principal and soloist and finally to senior member dancing some of Lewitzky’s roles. These first ten years as a professional were spent learning, perfecting, performing and teaching while touring throughout the United States, Canada and Europe with the Lewitzky Company.
Livingston left the Lewitzky Company in August 1983 to begin her own work as a choreographer. In 1984 she formed her concert dance ensemble-Loretta Livingston & Dancers-and began building a body of works and a collaborative process with dancers, designers, composers and visual artists. Between 1991 and 1996 Livingston created and produced a series of evening-length works that earned a record total of ten Lester Horton Dance Awards-the Los Angeles dance community’s annual peer recognition acknowledgements-for all areas of creation, production and performance.
Recognized for her abilities as a performer, choreographer and arts educator, Livingston received the 1990 Dewar’s Young Artist Award, the 1994 Distinguished Artist Award from the Club 100 of the Los Angeles Music Center, the 1995 Professional Artist Award from the California Alliance for Arts Education, and the title of “Distinguished California Artist” by Los Angeles Dance Kaleidoscope in 1997.
Livingston’s contributions as a teacher have ranged from guest artist positions in universities throughout the United States to work with Los Angeles inner-city youths and senior citizens. Among her many residency sites are: California State Universities at Long Beach and Los Angeles, University of California at Irvine, California Institute of the Arts, the Dance Center of Columbia College in Chicago, the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana, Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Texas Women’s University, University of North Texas, Western Michigan University, Texas Christian University, Scripps College, Stephens College and the New Zealand School of Dance in Wellington, New Zealand. Between 1984 and 1999 she worked as an artist on the roster of the Education Division of the Music Center of Los Angeles County, serving thousands of students at all grade levels throughout southern California, developing skills she had learned with Lewitzky during the 70’s in the first artists-in-the-schools programs at the national level.
currently works on a broader scale that extends beyond her own company.
She accepts choreographic commissions both inside and outside her company,
maintains and develops her solo repertoire and explores cross-discipline
and cross-cultural projects. Her