Yo Yo Ma visits Skid Row for workshops

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Grant Slater/KPCC

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and dancer Damian Woetzel watch a class exercise during a performance for students at Inner City Arts in downtown Los Angeles on April 5, 2011.

The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma performed at Walt Disney Concert Hall Monday night. Tuesday, the world-famous cellist and his team took their instruments to Inner City Arts in the heart of downtown LA’s Skid Row.

The group offered workshops on music and dance to more than 100 grade school kids from the LA Unified School District. A brief performance mingled classical music, bagpipes and hip-hop dancing. Ma said the event provides an answer to people who say the United States needs to build an innovative and knowledgeable workforce.

“Well, the best way to build innovation and creative imagination, and the most efficient way to do it, is actually by movement — visualizing, sound, writing, words,” said Ma. “And if you can put them together, you immediately test out whether the thing that you’re doing works.”

Former New York City Ballet dancer Damian Woetzel also took part in the workshop.

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