USC Visions and Voices announces 2023-24 lineup

The Visions and Voices lineup includes Ephrat Asherie Dance, a company rooted in African American and Latino street and club dances. (Photo/Courtesy of Ephrat Asherie Dance)


USC Visions and Voices announces 2023-24 lineup

“The program has helped make the arts an integral part of campus life for all students,” says Daria Yudacufski, executive director of the initiative.

June 15, 2023 Grayson Schmidt

Hannah Wiser vividly remembers her first encounter with the USC Visions and Voices initiative.

As a first-year student from Boca Raton, Fla., who didn’t know anyone on campus yet, Wiser attended SPARK!, the annual Visions and Voices kickoff and arts festival. What she initially thought was just a concert for incoming freshmen turned out to be where she met some of her now-closest friends and where she found her sense of community on campus.

“I just remember thinking, ‘Whoa, is this what college is going to be like? Is it going to be a bunch of people celebrating life and art and getting together for music?’” said Wiser, now a third-year student studying communication at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

“I’m just really grateful that I got the opportunity to go and be introduced to USC through Visions and Voices.”

Started in 2006, USC Visions and Voices is a universitywide arts and humanities initiative that features performances and presentations — many of which are organized by USC faculty — from acclaimed artists and distinguished speakers. The aim of the initiative is to provide a “transformative and provocative experience for all USC students,” but also challenge students “to expand their perspectives and become engaged citizens,” according to its website.

“I am so proud of the impact Visions and Voices has made on campus and in the larger community,” said Daria Yudacufski, executive director of USC Visions and Voices. “The program has helped make the arts an integral part of campus life for all students, regardless of what they are studying or what year they are in school. It has also served as a way to connect USC with the larger community.”

The events are free to all students, but most are also free to the general public, connecting the Los Angeles area with the university and its commitment to arts and humanities.

“Visions and Voices has really succeeded in bringing excellence in arts and humanities in contemporary culture to USC’s campuses,” said Josh Kun, incoming USC vice provost for the arts and a professor at USC Annenberg. “To do that, while eliminating barriers of entry, is really special — that doesn’t happen anywhere else.”

Though this year’s lineup is not final, and more events will be added in the coming months, some notable experiences include:

Ephrat Asherie Dance

  • When: Thursday, Oct. 19, at 7:30 p.m.
  • Where: Bovard Auditorium

Ephrat Asherie Dance is a dance company rooted in African American and Latino street and club dances. Dedicated to exploring the complexities of these dances, the troupe utilizes various dance styles with narrative qualities — including breaking, hip-hop, house and vogue — as a means to tell stories, develop innovative imagery and find new modes of expression.

Created and performed by members of the company with legendary guest artists from New York City’s ’70s and ’80s underground scene, the group’s UNDERSCORED project is inspired by the intergenerational memories of club dancers. Ephrat Asherie Dance invites audiences to join them on an exhilarating journey through the ever-changing physical landscape of New York City’s underground dance community.

The performance will be preceded by a conversation with local dancers and followed by a dance party with the artists and creators.

Bollywood: Big Screens, Streaming and the Changing Media Industry

  • When: Friday, Oct. 6, and Sunday, Oct. 8
  • Where: Norris Cinema Theatre

As one of the leading rivals of Hollywood, India’s Bollywood is recognized as one of the most exciting and beloved forms of entertainment in the world.

This lively two-day event will include screenings of an Excel Entertainment theatrical feature film, an episodic streamer and prominent Bollywood actors, producers and writers in conversation with Professor Priya Jaikumar of the USC School of Cinematic Arts about critical changes in media industries. How have digital platforms altered film and media content? How do Bollywood production companies, creatives and actors navigate these transformations? Can we compare the Indian and U.S. media landscapes?

The Great Wall of Los Angeles at 40: A Conversation with Judy Baca and Screening of Mur Murs

  • When: Saturday, April 6, 2024, at 5 p.m.
  • Where: Norris Cinema Theatre

Renowned L.A. muralist, artist and activist Judy Baca will be on campus for a screening of Mur Murs, Agnès Varda’s documentary about the murals and visual landscape of the city in the early 1980s, when Baca was creating the half-mile-long Great Wall of Los Angeles.

The screening will be followed by a conversation with Baca — moderated by Stacy Williams of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA — who will delve into her life and creative process, the transformative power of art and community engagement and plans for new sections of the iconic Great Wall, the creation of which has involved more than 400 youth, artists, oral historians and community members so far.