Dancer Translates Mosaic Into Motion

With a $4,500 grant from the nonprofit Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, choreographer and dancer Pat Taylor is completing an interpretation of the collage artwork of Romare Bearden.

"The grant was the icing on the cake," said Taylor, 34, one of seven artists selected from more than 150 applicants nationwide. The piece, called "The Art of Jazz-Romare," will premier in the spring.

She is collaborating on it with Mark Shelby, bassist for the jazz quartet Black/Note.

Taylor said she initially knew little about the work of Bearden, who died in 1988, but found his collages of urban and rural black life appealing. So she studied the artist and his art, and the more she saw, the more she liked. She later decided to explore ways of incorporating Bearden's images into a performance piece with music and dance.

"I wanted to create the feeling of his collages by taking bits and pieces of things, then put it into a coherent composition," she said.

A native of Los Angeles, Taylor, who teaches advanced jazz dance classes at Crossroads School for the Arts and Sciences in Santa Monica, started dancing at age 9, and got her first instruction in classes offered by the Los Angeles Parks and Recreation Department.

"When I was 15, I studied dance as a summer job at the R'wanda Lewis dance studio," she said. "That was a turning point for me, because I was totally immersed in this dance atmosphere."

Taylor received her bachelor's degree in dance from UCLA. She got a scholarship to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in New York City and studied at the Inner City Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

Then she went to Europe. She planned to stay a few months, and ended up spending six years, performing and teaching in Sweden, Germany, England and Finland.

"It was the greatest opportunity," she said. "I couldn't turn around and go back to Los Angeles."

Last year, she finally returned to Southern California. Looking for work as a teacher, she hooked up with dancers Nzingha Camara and Lady Walquer Vereen. Together they founded the Dance Collective, a studio, training and resource center, in an old building in Leimert Park. Last week, the studio celebrated its first anniversary.

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The Asian Pacific Alumni of UCLA named five students winners of the Sam Law Leadership Awards for 1993-1994.

Winners of $1,000 awards are Hui Cheng, Mike Corbett and Tooktook Thongthiraj. Thomas Hong and Anna Tran received $500 awards.

Students were recognized for demonstrating moral and activist leadership on campus. They were honored last month at a ceremony in Westwood.

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Board of Supervisors Chairman Ed Edelman has appointed Deborah Rosenthal to the Los Angeles County Beach Advisory Committee.

The Santa Monica resident, a commercial real estate broker, was a founding member and past president of the West Hollywood Homeless Organization. As one of 20 members of the beach committee, her duties include reviewing beach projects and advising the Board of Supervisors on beach and coastal issues.

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Jodi Ann Johnson was awarded a Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Johnson will receive $25,000 over the next year to complete new feature scripts. She was selected from a field of more than 3,500 entries.

She is a resident of Topanga.

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The Santa Monica chapter of Unico National has named Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Gil Garcetti as the "Italo-American Man of the Year."

Garcetti was honored at a luncheon Oct. 24 in Marina del Rey.

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Norman Karlin has been named the 1993-94 Irving D. and Florence Rosenberg Professor of Law at Southwestern University School of Law.

The Beverly Hills resident was selected for his teaching abilities, service to the law school and professional accomplishments. A staff member of the Los Angeles law school for more than two decades, he was also named "Outstanding Friend" by the Southwestern Law School Alumni Assn. in 1991.

He earned his law degree from the University of Chicago.

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