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Taylor, Pat , 1978 November 21

 Item — Multiple Containers

Scope and Contents

Dancer Pat Taylor lectured on 11/21/1978 (2015-0002/RR275). Hale Smith shares how he met tonight's speaker as part of his introduction. An instructor in the New York City school system, Patricia Taylor is an authority on the subjects of dance and culture. She discusses "Culture Carriers;" specifically the contribution that the performing arts make particularly to who we are in our own very unique and distinct ways. Before majoring in Dance at UCLA, Taylor began taking dance lessons at the age of nine, and became a member of the R’Wanda Lewis youth dance company. She went on study dance with Alvin Ailey, and after her time at UCLA, Taylor danced with the Lula Washington Dance Theatre.

After teaching dance in Stockholm and Helsinki for seven years, Taylor began her own dance company, The Dance Collective in 1992. This would evolve into the JazzAntiqua Dance and Music Ensemble, which Taylor has been a primary dancer and director since 1993.


  • 1978 November 21

Conditions Governing Access

Links to digitized content are included in the finding aid.

Biographical / Historical

Born in Los Angeles, Pat Taylor began dancing--ballet, modern, jazz and tap classes at the age of nine. Around the age of thirteen, Taylor came across the R’Wanda Lewis Afro-American Dance Company and described it as a life-changing moment. Through LA’s Summer Youth Employment Program, Taylor, and around 40 other teens, received the job opportunity of studying with this professional dance company for five days a week, five hours each day. Taylor was introduced to the Katherine Dunham Technique and was awakened to another approach to jazz dance and the idea of a black dance aesthetic.

She majored in dance at UCLA, was a full scholarship student at Alvin Ailey, and danced briefly with the Lula Washington Dance Theatre. It was after returning to America following a seven-year teaching jazz dance and choreographing gig in Stockholm and Helsinki (a job that she got by answering an ad posted at the Los Angeles Inner City Cultural Center), however, that Taylor decided to form her own company. She had experienced that jazz dance and music were highly respected throughout Scandinavia and Europe and made a commitment to herself that she would only use jazz music while teaching and choreographing.

Taylor returned to Los Angeles in 1992 and opened a dance studio The Dance Collective in the Leimert Park area. It was her early years with the R’Wanda Lewis Afro-American Dance company that guided her toward her current path and Taylor honors that this road was first blazed by such renown black dancers and choreographers as Talley Beatty, Pearl Primus, Alvin Ailey, Katherine Dunham, The Nicholas Brothers, Eartha Kitt, Arthur Michell and many, many others.

JazzAntiqua Dance & Music Ensemble was founded in 1993 and the original dancers in the company were Taylor, Darien Gold, Raymond Lewis and Ronald Burton. I asked Taylor where the company’s title came from and she explained how she had seen it on a poster somewhere in Europe and the name had always stuck with her. As the founding artistic director of JazzAntiqua Dance & Music Ensemble, Taylor has guided the concert jazz dance company dedicated to celebrating the jazz tradition as a vital thread in the cultural fabric of African American history and heritage, and a defining element of the American experience. Her roots in Katherine Dunham and Lester Horton techniques, West African dance, American vernacular and classic jazz dance, along with her love of jazz and blues music, visual art, spoken word and the collage nature of improvisation, meld to form her distinctive style and approach to telling stories through jazz. She has taught and choreographed across Europe (Sweden, Finland, Germany, England) and most recently in Brazil. Her work in the US has been presented at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Lehman Performing Arts Center (New York), Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, South Coast Hotel and Casino (Las Vegas), Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California African American Museum, Barclay Theatre (University of California, Irvine), Dance Mission Theatre (San Francisco), Mesa Performing Arts Center (Arizona), and many other venues. Taylor is the recipient of a Brody Arts Fund Choreography Fellowship and grants from the Doolittle Foundation, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, California Arts Council and The Center for Cultural Innovation, along with finalist awards for the Dance Under the Stars Choreography Festival and the Leo’s Choreography Competition (Jazz Dance World Congress).

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1 Reels (Magnetic tape audio recording) : RR 275 1 reel, 1:15:00; tape speed 3¾ IPS; track position ½-Track Mono; Substrate: Polyester.

Language of Materials

From the Series: English

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository

University of Connecticut Library
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