UMS Brings a Diverse Lineup of Music, Theater, Dance in Feb

UMS's No Safety Net Festival Runs Through Feb 9
As Far As My Fingertips Take Me Installation Comes to Dearborn
(Feb 4-9 at Arab American National Museum)

White Feminist
(Through Feb 9 in U-M's Duderstadt Video Studio)

Jazz Vocal Phenom Cécile McLorin Salvant Returns with Longtime Collaborator Aaron Diehl
Performing Works from the Great American Songbook
(Two Sets, Feb 6 at Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre)

Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán Performs Valentine's Day Concert
(Feb 14 at Hill Auditorium)

Angélique Kidjo Reimagines Talking Heads' Seminal Album Remain in Light
(Feb 16 at the Michigan Theater)

Iván Fischer Leads Budapest Festival Orchestra in All-Dvořák Program Featuring French Violinist Renaud Capuçon
(Feb 20 at Hill Auditorium)

Choreographer, Tap Dancer, and MacArthur "Genius" Michelle Dorrance Returns with Myelination
(Feb 21-22 at the Power Center)

Michael Barenboim and his West-Eastern Divan Ensemble Perform Chamber Music Favorites
(Feb 26 at Rackham Auditorium)

Read on for more details about these events.

Contact Mallory Shea for additional information or to request interviews with UMS touring artists or staff. Press images are always available at, or they can be downloaded by clicking the respective "Press Photos" buttons below.

Mallory Shea

Explore the Lineup
No Safety Net
White Feminist

Written and performed by Lee Minora
Directed by Alice Yorke

Monday-Thursday, February 3-6 // 7:30 pm
Friday, February 7 // 8 pm
Saturday, February 8 // 2 pm & 8 pm
Sunday, February 9 // 2 pm & 6 pm
Duderstadt Video Studio

Gender and privilege collide in Lee Minora’s White Feminist. As the host of a morning talk show, "Becky’s Time," Minora skewers and dissects the failings of non-intersectional feminism, putting the #metoo movement, liberal guilt, and fake celebrity apologies on trial, and unearthing inadequacy and ineffectiveness in the face of social inequality with both cunning and charm. Teetering between oppressed and oppressor, Minora takes everyone to task, including herself, with a smile on her face and middle fingers in the air.


Post-Performance Community Dialogues
After each performance, UMS will provide a space for audience members to reflect on, discuss, and analyze the performance they've just experienced. Conversations will be guided by experienced facilitators from the community, including Sharman Spieser, Equity Consultant and Community Collaborator.

Girl Talk: Race, Comedy and Feminism Now
Saturday, February 8 // 4–5:30 pm // Pierpont Commons

Asia Marie Hicks, Johanna Medranda, and Tiffany Baxi, all Detroit-area women comics, take to the stage to share their work and talk about their personal experiences as women of color in comedy today.

Presenting Sponsor: U-M College of Literature, Science and the Arts
Funded in part by: William Davidson Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Educational programs for No Safety Net 2.0 are funded in part by the University of Michigan Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Media Partners: Between The Lines and Metro Times

As Far As My Fingertips Take Me
No Safety Net
As Far As My Fingertips Take Me

Created by Tania El Khoury
Performed by Basel Zaraa

Institute for the Humanities Gallery (Ann Arbor): January 24-February 2
Arab American National Museum (Dearborn): February 4-9

A one-on-one installation performance held at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, As Far As My Fingertips Take Me is an encounter through a gallery wall between an audience member and a refugee.

Artist Tania El Khoury commissioned musician and street artist Basel Zaraa, born a Palestinian refugee in Syria, to create a narrative inspired by the journey his sisters made from Damascus to Sweden, with a goal of helping others understand the effect of border discrimination on people’s lives. One at a time, audience members listen to the refugee’s story through headphones, while the refugee draws his journey on the audience member’s arm. The Washington Post said, "I left with a feeling of having established a firmer link to a crisis that is overwhelming to contemplate."

Presenting Sponsor: U-M College of Literature, Science and the Arts
Funded in part by: William Davidson Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Commission on Middle Eastern American Affairs.
Educational programs for No Safety Net 2.0 are funded in part by the University of Michigan Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Media Partners: Between The Lines and Metro Times

Cecile McLorin Salvant
Cécile McLorin Salvant and Aaron Diehl, piano

Thursday, February 6 // 7 pm & 9 pm (two sets)
Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre

One of the most acclaimed vocalists of her generation, Cécile McLorin Salvant won the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, which catapulted her to fame. Other honors include selection for Jazz Album of the Year by the DownBeat International Critics Poll and NPR, as well as Top Female Vocalist from the Jazz Journalists Association. Her last three Mack Avenue releases, For One to Love, Dreams and Daggers, and The Window, each won Grammy Awards for "Best Jazz Vocal Album."

After her April 2019 tour with the Monterey Jazz Festival, McLorin Salvant returns to UMS in a more intimate setting as part of UMS's Song Remix biennial series, with her longtime collaborator, pianist and composer Aaron Diehl.

Diehl has collaborated with living masters ranging from NEA Jazz Master Benny Golson to 20th-century classical titan Philip Glass, while establishing himself as one of the preeminent interpreters of the Great American Songbook with his own trio.

Patron Sponsor: Michael Allemang and Janis Bobrin
Funded in part by: JazzNet Endowment Fund

Media Partners: WEMU 89.1 FM, WRCJ 90.9 FM, and Ann Arbor’s 107one

Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán
Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán

Friday, February 14 // 8 pm
Hill Auditorium

The 13 musicians of Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán represent the sixth generation of the ensemble, which was founded 123 years ago by Don Gaspar Vargas in a small town near Jalisco.

Now based out of Mexico City, the group is wildly considered the gold standard for mariachi music, and their influence extends worldwide. Maestro Ruben Fuentes has provided artistic guidance for the group since the 1950s and is credited with writing hundreds of songs and arrangements that are considered seminal mariachi music today. The current director is Carlos Martinez.

Each year, Vargas convenes in San Antonio, Texas for the annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza, where they judge competitive national mariachi group and vocal competitions and participate in numerous events throughout a seven-day period. Mariachi Nuevo Santander from Roma (TX), the Group Competition High School Division winner of this year's competition, will join Ballet Folklórico de Detroit as the opening act for Mariachi Vargas's Hill Auditorium performance.


UMS 101: Mariachi
Fri, Feb 14 // Hill Auditorium Mezzanine Lobby
Class begins at 6 pm // Performance at 8 pm

Registration fee with ticket: $45
Registration fee for workshop only: $15

Participants in this session will learn about the rich background and traditions of the heart-wrenching vocals and virtuosic instrumentals of Mexico’s beloved Mariachi music. Discover the roots of Mariachi music, its role in today’s society, and why it resonates with audiences of so many different ages, backgrounds, and cultures. Register at

Presenting Sponsor: Michigan Medicine
Supporting Sponsor: University of Michigan Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Funded in part by: National Endowment for the Arts

Media Partners: WEMU 89.1 FM and WDET 101.9 FM

Explore the Lineup
Angélique Kidjo’s Remain in Light

Sunday, February 16 // 7 pm
Michigan Theater

Global pop star and four-time Grammy winner Angélique Kidjo partnered with 2015 Grammy producer of the year Jeff Bhasker (Kanye West, The Rolling Stones, Beyonce) for a reimagining of Talking Heads’ 1980 landmark album Remain in Light. The new project, which was released by Kravenworks Records in June 2018, finds the Benin-born artist reclaiming rock for Africa and bringing the album full circle 40 years after it was released.

The original album was deeply influenced by music from West Africa, notably Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat; Kidjo’s reimagination celebrates the genius of Talking Heads, Brian Eno, and the touchstones that made the original so revered. She injects it with her euphoric singing, explosive percussion, horn orchestrations, and select lyrics performed in languages from her home country.

Kidjo says, "As Remain in Light was influenced by the music of my continent, I want to pay back the homage and create my own African take on Talking Heads’ songs. We all know that rock music came from the blues and thus from Africa. Now is the time to bring rock back to Africa, connect our minds, and bring all our sounds to a new level of sharing and understanding." Note: there is no opening act for this performance.

Presenting Sponsors: Matt and Nicole Lester Family
Patron Sponsors: Jo Wiese Johnson and Timothy Johnson and Agnes Moy-Sarns and David Sarns

Media Partners: WEMU 89.1 FM, WRCJ 90.9 FM, WDET 101.9 FM, and Ann Arbor’s 107one

Budapest Festival Orchestra
Budapest Festival Orchestra

Iván Fischer, conductor
Renaud Capuçon, violin

Thursday, February 20 // 7:30 pm
Hill Auditorium

Critics around the world are awash with appreciative comments about the Budapest Festival Orchestra, one of the top orchestras in the world. In this concert, their fourth since their UMS debut in 1997, founder and music director Iván Fischer conducts an all-Dvořák program, including some rarely heard gems.

The evening will open with three short compositions: a piece from the cycle entitled Legendsone of the Op. 46 Slavonic Dances, Skočná, in fast tempo and 2/4 meter; and one of Dvořák’s compositions for mixed choir, Místo klekáni. For years, the BFO’s instrumental musicians have also been polishing their skills as a choir, and this piece will provide them with an opportunity to show how far they have come.

French violinist Renaud Capuçon will make his UMS debut as soloist in Dvořák's Violin Concerto in a minor. Known and loved for his poise, depth of tone, and virtuosity, Capuçon began his studies at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris at the age of 14, winning numerous awards during his five years there. Capuçon then moved to Berlin to study with Thomas Brandis and Isaac Stern and was awarded the Prize of the Berlin Academy of Arts. In 1997, he was invited by Claudio Abbado to become concertmaster of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, which he led for three summers, working with Pierre Boulez, Seiji Ozawa, Franz Welser-Möst, and Claudio Abbado.

The second half of the concert will feature Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 in G major, often considered the composer's most intimate and original work in the genre.

Legends, Op. 59, No. 10
Four Choruses, Op. 29, No. 1 ("Místo klekáni")
Slavonic Dance in c minor, Op. 46, No. 7
Violin Concerto in a minor, Op. 53
Symphony No. 8, Op. 88

Patron Sponsor: UMS Ambassadors
Media Partner: WGTE 91.3 FM

Dorrance Dance
Dorrance Dance

Michelle Dorrance, artistic director and choreographer

Friday, February 21 // 8 pm
Saturday, February 22 // 8pm
Power Center

Founded by Michelle Dorrance in 2011, Dorrance Dance honors tap dance’s uniquely beautiful history in a new and dynamically compelling context, pushing it rhythmically, aesthetically, and conceptually.

The MacArthur "Genius" grant winner grew up performing under the mentorship of Gene Medler with the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble and has appeared with STOMP, Savion Glover, Manhattan Tap, and a host of others.

This return engagement by her company features three Dorrance works: the exhilarating ensemble piece Myelination, featuring original, live music by Donovan Dorrance and Gregory Richardson; Jungle Blues, with a score by Branford Marsalis; and Three to One, with a score by Aphex Twin and Thom Yorke.


A History of American Tap Dance: Origins and Artistry of a True American Art Form
Wed, Feb 12 // 7 pm // Ann Arbor District Library Downtown Branch
This presentation by local dance instructor and historian Susan Filipiak features rare video clips of great tap dancers from Broadway, Hollywood, nightclubs, television, and the concert stage, as well as a live demonstration and mini tap lesson. Free.

Opening Night Post-Performance Artist Q&A

Fri, Feb 21

You Can Dance
Sat, Feb 22 // 1:35 pm // Ann Arbor Y (400 W Washington St)

Join dancers from Dorrance Dance for an exploration of their movement style. No dance training or experience is necessary, and all levels, ages 13 and up, are welcome for this 75-minute class. Free, but first come, first served, until studio reaches capacity. Sign up begins at 12:50 pm at the Y Welcome Desk. Please note: Ann Arbor Y policy requires that all participants in You Can Dance show a photo ID to enter the building.

Lead Presenting Sponsor: Renegade Venture Fund, established by the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation
Presenting Sponsors: Matt and Nicole Lester Family
Supporting Sponsor: Kathy Legatski, in memory of her late husband, Leo
Patron Sponsors: Agnes Moy-Sarns and David Sarns and Valerie and Jeff Wilpon
Funded in part by: National Endowment for the Arts and Arts Midwest Touring Fund

Media Partners: Michigan Radio 91.7 FM, WDET 101.9 FM, and Metro Times

HD Broadcast: Bolshoi Ballet

Choreography by Alexei Ratmansky

Sunday, February 23 // 7 pm
Michigan Theater

In this brand new production by the Bolshoi Ballet, renowned choreographer Alexei Ratmansky brings a fresh perspective to one of the oldest and most iconic ballets.

The young peasant girl Giselle dies of a broken heart when she learns that the man she loves, Albrecht, has betrayed her. The Wills, vengeful spirits of jilted brides, rouse her spirit and induct her into their clan. They condemn Albrecht to dance until he dies of exhaustion, but Giselle’s true love spares him that fate, and she is released from the power of the Wills.

Co-presented with the Michigan Theater

West-Eastern Divan Ensemble
West-Eastern Divan Ensemble

Michael Barenboim, music director and violin

Wednesday, February 26 // 7:30 pm
Rackham Auditorium

This intimate concert features members of the renowned West- Eastern Divan Orchestra, a group composed of Arab and Israeli musicians defying fierce political divides in the Middle East and globally.

Founded in 1999, the origins of the orchestra lie in the friendship between its founders, Palestinian author and scholar Edward Said and Israeli conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim. In their conversations, they realized the urgent need for an alternative way to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Together, they organized an orchestra that features aspiring Israeli and Arab musicians who otherwise would have had little chance to meet, let alone perform with each other.

The ensemble’s inherent diversity extends to their program, which comprises classic works from Brahms and Mendelssohn and a recent composition by contemporary French composer Benjamin Attahir, who fittingly draws inspiration from cultures of both the West and East.

String Sextet No. 1 in B-flat Major,
Op. 18
Benjamin Attahir
Jawb for String Octet
Devil’s Trill Sonata in g minor for Solo Violin
String Octet in E-flat Major, Op. 20

Patron Sponsor: Joel Howell and Linda Samuelson
Media Partners: WGTE 91.3 FM

2014 National Medal of Arts recipient

University Musical Society
Burton Memorial Tower
881 N University Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1011
United States