Palisadian-Founded One World Center Offers a ‘Nomadic Experience’

By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter

Palisadian Winter Reign founded One World Center for Dance and Cultural Arts in Topanga in October 2019 with the intention to create “the nomadic experience of world dance, music and cultural arts” for children and adults.

“As a mother of two, I founded the center with a belief that through sharing a multigenerational experience of music, dance and cultural traditions, we can celebrate our diversity as well as discovering our beautiful common threads,” the Castellammare resident shared with the Palisadian-Post.

In her 20s, Reign traveled for hours from Topanga—on foot and bus—to dance with a Kathak teacher in Glendale, one of the eight traditional Indian dances.

“Although I casually studied various world dances and I danced professionally as a performance artist, I had no intention of teaching,” Reign said.

When Reign moved to the Palisades in 2009, she found it easy to find ballet, tap and hip hop classes, but more challenging to find traditional world dance.

“You may have to travel to areas that house that cultural diaspora,” Reign said.

In 2015, when Reign’s daughter was 5 and her son was 2, she found it too challenging to travel distances to explore these different dance forms. Reign wanted to study with Guru Rachana Upadhyay in Porter Ranch, Reign shared, but she felt it was too far to attend.

“I felt compelled to bring a teacher here to the Palisades, but it wasn’t sustainable to do it weekly,” Reign explained.

When Reign’s children were 7 and 5, she recalled how a friend made the commitment to travel all year long so that her daughter could perform in one of Lula Washington’s dance company Kwanzaa celebrations in 2017.

“I was so inspired by her commitment and equally Lula Washington’s ability to create a cultural center that it planted the seed for me to provide access to the diverse traditional and classical world arts to people of all ages,” Reign said. “There are wonderful world arts programs at UCLA and Santa Monica College, but very little access for the younger ones or anyone that doesn’t have the time to enroll in a college course.”

Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

Reign also credits Palisadian yoga teacher and life coach Jess Lakin.

“It was in her classes that I was really able to become clear on my vision and develop the courage to start it,” she shared.

Reign encourages anyone to try out at the classes.

“Even if just for a one-day experience,” Reign said. “It helps to keep the culture alive, as well as inspire the experience of seeing, listening and feeling it.”

Although events are ticketed, the One World Center does not turn away people for lack of funds.

“I feel it’s really important to share experiences with anyone interested and with respect for culture and the arts,” Reign added. “The format for most dance workshops include a demonstration, history about the dance form and an introductory lesson for all to participate in.”

“It was like taking a trip around the world, but all I had to do was drive 20 minutes, and I think it broadened my understanding culturally of what different people experience,” Annmarie Feiss shared on the center’s website.

Reign emphasized that the classes are instructed by someone of the lineage or with permission to teach it.

For the time being, classes are in Topanga and at the Corazon Performing Arts and will hopefully be in the Palisades soon.

For more information, visit oneworldctr.com or facebook.com/oneworldctr.