Students and Alumni In the News

Art of Social Change

Two more UCI faculty and alumni receive Guggenheim Fellowships

When a shiny sculpture of a rabbit by the most commercially successful living artist sold for a record-breaking $91 million at auction earlier this year, UCI art professor Daniel Joseph Martinez shrugged.

“We don’t remember the people who sold the most,” he says. “We remember the people who changed the trajectory of ideas.”

Two UCI artists were recently honored for doing just that. Martinez, a UCI professor for 29 years, and alumna Hồng-An Trương ’08, were among the 168 artists, writers and scholars selected from 3,000 applicants to receive The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship this year, recognizing both “prior achievement and exceptional promise.”

“To be in the legacy of all of the artists and scholars who have received the Guggenheim over the years, that’s an...

Professional Pathways

It’s summer in Rome and, inspired by the architecture of the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, a UCI student ties on her pointe shoes and begins dancing in the cobblestone plaza. As if on cue, a street musician emerges from an alleyway playing Brahms’ “Hungarian Dance” on his harmonica. Tourists gather to watch her grand jetés across the Piazza de Santa Maria, in front of the oldest fountain in this ancient city.

“It was a beautiful moment that I will cherish for the rest of my life,” says the dancer, Tanya Bendis ’14.

She and a handful of classmates spent two weeks that summer collaborating and performing with professional musicians across Rome, in what has become an annual project led by dance professor Lisa Naugle. After graduating from UCI, Bendis went on to dance professionally in the U.S. and now performs at Zagreb City Theater Komedija in Croatia. One reason she considered taking a job abroad, she says, is because of her experience and connections made...

CAM Alum Cyndie Klorer brings her Fourth Wall Entertainment Troupe to the Metropolitan

"San Andreas, CA…Mardi Gras Karaoke Party with Sweet Harmony Entertainment! About the new team at the helm of the historic Metropolitan. In 1994, Cyndie Hoffman (Klorer) was involved in her first theatrical production out of high school at the historic Metropolitan Theater in San Andreas. Once bitten by the theater bug, she was smitten. Not only with the art of theater, but with the beautiful facility at 59 Main Street in San Andreas. For many years to come, Cyndie would dream of running a theater of her own.

In the meantime, Benjamin Klorer, a young man in Germany was running a kiosk, which consisted of a bar, restaurant, mini golf course, small lake, and volley ball court. Who could have ever known that in 2012 the two would meet and start a partnership that would lead to Fourth Wall Entertainment Troupe conducting business at the Metropolitan in San Andreas, California?

Cyndie has over 30 years experience in theater arts and is certified in Arts Management...

From Claire Trevor To Broadway: Justin Keats’ Career After Graduation

By Lauren Knight

A few years after he graduated from UCI’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts, Justin Keats’ phone rang in an audition waiting room in New York City. Preparing to sing at an audition in four minutes for another Broadway musical, Keats saw his agent’s name on his screen and did not hesitate to answer. In the midst of rehearsing for another project and auditioning for a new Broadway show, Keats found out that he would be making his Broadway debut in Cirque du Soleil’s new Broadway show, “Paramour.” Processing all that he could over the phone as his agent laid down the logistics, he soon realized that his name would be called for the audition any minute, and hurried back into the waiting room. Finishing up his audition and bolting out of the building as soon as possible, Keats quickly grabbed lunch and two hours after the initial call, ran to his first day of rehearsals for “Paramour.”


Kelly Moran’s Trippy, Beautiful Piano Music

Kelly Moran’s Trippy, Beautiful Piano Music
New York artist’s avant-garde compositions break through to unique transcendence
By Christopher R. Weingarten

“I kind of just accepted that no one would really care about my work because I was such a weirdo,” says New York’s Kelly Moran, an avant-garde composer and pianist who drones, plucks and buzzes on the lines between modern classical, ambient, electroacoustic and jazz. “I had so many rejections [from record labels], and so many that were based around the fact that what I was doing was too niche. Part of me was like, ‘No one’s ever going to hear this, but I need to do it for myself anyway, because if I don’t I’m just going to feel like I’m dead.'”

UC Irvine alum Jon Lovitz returns home

Jon Lovitz goes back to his roots Saturday, Sept. 29, by bringing his stand-up routine to his alma mater, UC Irvine, where the Irvine Barclay Theatre is located.

Although this will be his Irvine Barclay debut, the comedian/actor/stand-up comic will recognize the surrounding campus.  Or not.

“Boy, the campus sure changed,” said an amazed Lovitz, 61, a UCI alumnus (drama major) who attended 1975-1979.  “I don’t really recognize it.  The Irvine Barclay wasn’t here when I was here.  A lot of it wasn’t here.  The campus has grown so much.  The buildings seem to swallow up the campus I remember.”

Meet the first Filipina winner of 'So You Think You Can Dance'

UCI Dance student Hannahlei Cabanilla’s audition piece alone got the “So You Think You Can Dance” judges on their feet to welcome her with a golden ticket to the academy, including Fil-Am celebrity judge Vanessa Hudgens.

Her victory is one for the books.

Hannahlei is the first Filipino-American to win the $250,000 prize as the grand winner of this season of “So You Think You Can Dance.”

“Every step of the journey is very humbling, and it’s so amazing that I’ve had an impact on so many people’s lives, and I’m representing dancers, Filipinos, just everyone’s that is supporting me.”

Her message for those who dream of becoming the next dance show winner is to put in the work.

“I just wanna inspire them and show that anyone could do this if you just put in the effort and time and work, because I was one of those little girls looking up to all the past winners, knowing that I wanted to be on this show…and now I’m in the winner’s shoes.


Jérémie Favreau, MFA piano performance, 2008, performs Boston Court Pasadena

Jérémie Favreau, MFA piano performance, 2008, performs "Remembering Things Past: Proust and his Music" with violinst Ken AIso at 8p.m. September 22, 2018 at Boston Court, in Pasadena.

Hannahlei Cabanilla wins ‘So You Think You Can Dance’

Hannahlei Cabanilla is America’s favorite dancer.

During the Season 15 finale of the Fox series “So You Think You Can Dance,” the 18-year-old Anaheim Hills native was named the winner.

“It was the best moment of my life,” she said facing a line of reporters following the show on Monday, Sept. 10.

Cabanilla is Orange County’s second-consecutive winner. She joked “there’s something in the water down in Orange County, so watch out.”



The ‘So You Think You Can Dance Winner’ is …

After weeks of grueling auditions and dazzling performances, Season 15 of “So You Think You Can Dance” finally crowned a winner Monday night during a jam-packed two-hour finale on Fox.

And it was Hannahlei Cabanilla, an 18-year-old contemporary dancer from Anaheim Hills, Ca., who captured top honors. She edged out Jensen Arnold, a 20-year-old Latin ballroom specialist from Provo, Utah.