Dance Foundation » Principals
Co-founder, Artistic Director
Lula Washington is Founder and Artistic Director of the Lula Washington Dance Theatre (LWDT), a contemporary modern dance company, school and youth ensemble based in Los Angeles, California. Lula founded the company in 1980 with her husband, Erwin, to provide a creative outlet for minority dance artists in the inner city. Today, Lula and her company are revered across the U.S. and around the world. The company has danced in over 150 cities in the United States, and in Germany, Spain, Kosovo, Mexico, Canada and, soon, China and Russia.
Co-founder, Executive Director
Erwin Washington co-founded the Lula Washington Dance Theatre in 1980 with his wife, Lula Washington, and serves as its Executive Director. Under his managerial leadership, the dance company has become one of the leading African-American dance institutions in the West.
Erwin holds an Associate of Arts in Journalism from Los Angeles City College, a Bachelor of Arts in English (Creative Writing) from UCLA, and a Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting from UCLA. He spent 20 years as a professional journalist at Time Magazine, the Daily News, the L.A. Times, Herald Examiner, Washington Post and other publications, winning a dozen awards for news writing and reporting. While a student at UCLA, Erwin won a Lorraine Hansberry Award in playwriting, a Samuel Goldwyn Award in fiction writing, a Writers Guild Award for comedy writing, two Samuel Goldwyn Awards in dramatic film writing, and co-founded Nommo Players, a student theatre group at the University. He later also co-founded the Los Angeles Black Playwrights.
Several of Erwin’s scripts have been produced on network television, including an episode of the “The White Shadow” that won a Humanitas Prize nomination for its handling of the issue of police shootings in the black community. He has sold stories and/or teleplays for “The Jeffersons,” “Baby, I’m Back,” “Good Times,” and other shows. Several of his plays have been produced, including “Oh Oh Freedom,” “Get Down, Ben Brown, Get Down!” “The Dreamer,” “Sal,” and “Casualties of War.” In 2000, Erwin directed and co-wrote “Cab Calloway’s Legacy of Swing,” which toured to 55 cities featuring Chris Calloway.
Erwin is a graduate of Stanford University’s Executive in Non-Profit Leadership, the Developing Development program of the Executive Service Corps, the Kennedy Center’s Capacity Building Program for Multi-cultural Arts Organizations, the Annenberg Foundation’s Executive Leadership program, and the Arts Leadership Initiative of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.
Erwin has secured millions of dollars in grants for Lula Washington Dance Theatre, including the $2 million needed to purchase and renovate LWDT’s studio at Crenshaw and Coliseum. He has served on grant panels for the Western States Arts Federation, the California Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Los Angeles City Cultural Affairs Department, the California Community Foundation and the Los Angeles County Music and Performing Arts Commission. Erwin helped write the first cultural arts master plan for the city of Los Angeles and he worked with the Master Plan Advisory Committee for the City of Inglewood. He is a frequent speaker, panelist and mentor in the arts and served on Mayor’s Task Force For the Arts under LA Mayor James Hahn. He has also served on the Board of Directors for the Western Arts Alliance and the Dance Resource Center in Los Angeles.
Associate Director, Choreographer, Dancer
Tamica is the director of programs for both the Lula Washington Dance School and the Dance Company. Much of her work involves community outreach, including the Summer Dance Camps and Intensives, Master Class series, choreographers showcases, annual youth dance recitals, holiday and Kwanzaa celebrations, as well as house events. Alongside coordinating these programs and events, Tamica also helps oversee the LWDT Youth Dance Ensemble and manages bookings and scheduling for performances, rehearsals, and acquisition of choreography.
Tamica’s movement style is an organic blend of traditional, modern, and jazz dance, with hip-hop and vernacular flavors mixed with the traditional dance styles of the African Diaspora. Her most recent dance works include “Beautiful Venus and Serena,” “Message to My Peops,” and “Together, Spider and the Bee.” Tamica was nominated by the 2008 NAACP Local Theater Awards committee for best choreography on “Gilgamesh,” directed by Stephen Sachs and Jessica Kubzansky at the Boston Court Theatre. She also choreographed “Hippolytos,” the inaugural production at the Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater at the Getty Villa in Malibu, also directed by Stephen Sachs.
Tamica’s other works include choreography for Tupoc’s “Brenda’s Got A Baby,” commissioned by the USC School of Law for its Race, Rap, and Redemption lecture demonstration; staging and choreography for James Cameron’s film Avatar, in which she played the body double and stand-in for CCH Pounder’s High Priestess in the film; choreography for “Cuttin’ Da Mustard,” starring Keisha Knight Pullum, Moesha, The Parkers, and Steve Harvey; choreography for over 50 high school students in the 2009 Nike Black History Month Celebration; and choreography for the Kappa League’s annual ball.