Tyson is on the dance faculty at the California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts) where he is also an Assistant Dean. Cal Arts is offering the free classes at LWDT via its Community Arts Partnership program which is funded by the Herb Alpert Foundation.
The classes are offered free of charge to High School students enrolled at LWDT on Saturdays from 1:30 to 3:30 pm. It is a contemporary modern dance class based on the Lester Horton technique. This is the same technique used most often at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in New York.
Tyson brings Senior students from Cal Arts to assist him in teaching the classes. Ironically, two of last year’s students were alums of LWDT — Michael Tomlin III and Jose Trujillo. Tomlin toured with the LWDT dance company and Trujillo plans to apprentice with LWDT this year.
Students who took the class in the Spring received certificates of accomplishment at a culminating program where they got to dance in choreography by Tyson and the Cal Arts student-teachers as well as work of their own.
One student, Ariel Holmes, will begin classes at CAL ARTS this Fall after gaining admission to the dance program. She was admitted, in part, because of her great promise as a dancer — something that was homed in part at LWDT.
Although the class is offered free, students must do work-study volunteer work at the dance studio to help support the LWDT school.