Stepping out


Nearly 1,000 happy feet were dancing, stomping, tapping and kicking on a recent Saturday afternoon at the Music Center in downtown L.A., led by local choreographers and dancers such as Robert Gilliam and Linda Yudin, krumper Lil’ Tommy the Clown and a surprise instructor -- Matthew Rushing, a dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

The occasion was “A Taste of Dance,” an event in conjunction with Alvin Ailey week at the Music Center. Open to the public, five dance floors were set up in the plaza, and for a mere $1 a class, participants partook in 20-minute sessions highlighting African American dance styles such as hip-hop, the Charleston, Afro Brazilian and jazz, to name a few.

“We love it; it’s really exciting,” said Billy Rugh, artistic director of Creative Planet School of the Arts in Baldwin Park, who brought 12 of his students to experience the diverse styles.


“A Taste of Dance” is a biannual event that is part of the program Active Arts at the Music Center, a series of low- or no-cost events aimed at the artist in everyone.

“We want to make the Music Center a place associated with the public and not just the professional artist,” said Josephine Ramirez, vice president of programming and presenting. “We hope the public can experience art in terms of an everyday activity and stay connected to their own creativity.”

The next “Taste of Dance” is scheduled for the fall. For upcoming Active Arts events, visit

-- Liesl Bradner