Special Projects

Alfred Desio and Fayard Nicholas

Fayard and Alfred's relationship went back to the early 70's when we first came to California. Alfred used to study with Fayard, tap legend, at Inner City. This photo was taken by the Los Angeles Times in 1979, the year Los Angeles Choreographers & Dancers was founded. Alfred followed the Nicholas brothers on a program at UCLA called the International Tap Festival. In the early 90's, Fayard came to see one of our performances at Bing Theater at USC. He loved the program, and Alfred had the idea that it would be wonderful if Fayard could work with a young group of students of his that were starting to perform - we had recently given them the name Kids Tap/L.A. Louise Reichlin wrote a grant for this type of project to the California Community Foundation, and we were awarded a Brody Arts Grant for this purpose. Right around that time the Nicholas Brothers became Kennedy Center Awardees, most exciting for all of us.

Our First Project at Manual Arts High School

In November 1991, Louise Reichlin & Dancers performed at Manual Arts High School and Louise conducted a modern dance workshop for about 50 students in their Folklorico Group. The boys in the group (only 2, from Mexico) expressed the wish that more males would join their group. They hadn't attended the assembly and hadn't realized that at least half of the many volunteers in the audience participation section had been male, but African American. Louise spoke to the dance teacher who said she would welcome some kind of program that would allow the students to study dance that cut across their ethnic groupings. Louise wrote a grant to create a special project where her company would do a 5 week project teaching modern dance, and also use a number of ethnic dances to contruct a piece for a performance at the school on the same program as her critically acclaimed Urban and Tribal Dances. It took over a year, but eventually she was awarded a "Recovery Grant- Youth" from the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, with additional funding by a number of local foundations. With added funding from Mervyns, the project came to fruition in the fall of 1993. The resulting work used dance movement and music from three cultures in Reichlin's company and three cultures from the students.

Above is Rhonda Zygmunt who assisted Louise on the project.
To the left are three of the Manual Arts students rehearsing in costumes they created with the help of our costumer Linda Borough.

In the fall of1996, we returned to Manual Arts for a continuation of the original project funded in part by grants from the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department Youth Arts & Education Division, and from the City of Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency. Since then we have created multigenerational projects at Alexandria, Valeria, and Los Feliz Elementary Schools. In January and February 1999, we were in residence (for the 2nd time) at Los Feliz Elementary. Louise, assisted by Kuwantu Cammon, worked with children and their families using both modern dance techniques and specific cultural dance motifs in preperation for the school's multicultural festival January 27. The participants also performed with the professional company at the Los Angeles Children's Museum on February 6. Linda Borough again worked with the workshop members creating new costumes. This project was funded by grants by the Hollywood Arts Council and Mervyn's California. For more about current activities, go to Current News and Activities.

The dancer on our LA C& D T-shirt was drawn by artist Shanna Galloway of "Louise dancing." It comes on a black shirt and on a white shirt, with a picture of Alfred's tapping feet on the back.

We also have a 5 color design on a white shirt for "Zapped Taps" and for "Colburn Kids Tap/L.A." Contributors to LA C& D can receive the T-shirts as a premium. Contact us about this. See the E-mail below or call 213-385-1171.
Our mailing address is Los Angeles Choreographers & Dancers, 351 S. Virgil Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90020. Our non-profit ID number is 95-3509028.

For information about these pages please contact Louise Reichlin at louisehr@usc.edu or call 213-385-1171.

Return to Southern California Dance and Directory (home page.)

Photo credits: 1- Los Angeles Times, 2- Alfred Desio, 3- Alfred Desio
Graphics credits: 1- "Louise Dancing" used on T-shirt with logo - Shanna Galloway, 2- "Alfred Dancing"(b & w) - Shanna Galloway, 3- "Alfred's Feet"(color) - Los Angeles Times.

Copyright (c) 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, & 2009 by Louise Reichlin; all rights reserved. These pages may not be used for financial gain. These pages may not be used for commercial collections or compilations without express permission from the author. (Louise Reichlin, Southern California Dance and Directory)

Reader/Subscriber may not publish, market, download, reproduce, retransmit, distribute or sell photograph(s) and or graphic images through any electronic or other medium, or storage device, including but not limited to databases, bulletin boards and/or CD-ROM, video, audio or other multimedia product. (Louise Reichlin, Southern California Dance and Directory)