VARIED DANCE CLASSES AVAILABLE FOR CHILDREN.
With the goal of exposing more children to classical music, dance and theater, Patrice McCoy, of Studio City has created the nonprofit American International Institute of Classical Ballet and Musical Theatre, providing free professional training to children of all economic levels.
The program includes classical ballet, Broadway and tap as well as jazz for children under 12, with more serious classical instruction 9- and 10-year-olds.
``The smaller children will focus more on musical theater because they're not strong enough,'' McCoy said.
McCoy, who was privately trained by dancers of the Russian Imperial Ballet School, currently oversees a staff of four teachers. Eventually, voice coaches trained in classical and Broadway styles will come into the picture.
McCoy also worked for the Burbank Ballet Association as artistic director and went on to produce ballet productions for Ambassador College in Pasadena, The American National Theater and Walt Disney Productions. She has also designed choreography for professional singers.
As a child in Wyoming, McCoy was trained by Alexandra Danilova, a famous Russian Ballet dancer, and Nina Youshkevitch, prima ballerina of the Metropolitan Opera Ballet in New York.
Parents who would like their children to audition for this program can pick up an application from McCoy at 4078 Tujunga Ave., Apt. A, Studio City. Applications will also be available at various elementary schools in the Studio City and Burbank areas.
After a 27-year history with UPS, Chris Cratch of Van Nuys has reached a milestone: 25 years of accident-free driving. UPS managers Renee Culp and Calvin Peterson presented the award during a recent recognition ceremony.
``I'm happy to reach the 25-year goal,'' said Cratch. ``I tried not to think about it, for fear of jinxing myself.''
``The UPS training helped a lot. I learned to always keep my eyes moving and to anticipate the actions of other drivers and pedestrians.''
The California Wellness Foundation in Woodland Hills was honored Friday during the inaugural Urban Peace Awards commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the Los Angeles gang truce.
The foundation was recognized for its $10 million donation to a violence prevention initiative helping gang truces become a reality in high-risk areas such as Van Nuys and Pacoima.
Created by Harry Belafonte and civil rights attorney Connie Rice, the awards program recognizes honorees by awarding them the Sankofa Peace Prize, a sculpture crafted from melted guns by artist Lin Evola.
Before the event, a town hall meeting featuring Sheriff Lee Baca was held to discuss central issues behind the awards.
Four local students have received a 2002 Dean's Partial-Tuition scholarship to Devry University. Each scholarship is valued up to $9,000.
Winners were granted scholarships based on ACT and SAT test scores and competed against students nationwide.
The recipients are Justin M. Chamberlain of Woodland Hills, Aaron Gee of Woodland Hills, Paul McGinty of Calabasas and Mike J. Sampson of Agoura Hills.
Ballet teacher Patrice McCoy practices with some of her students: Jake Ferrero, 8, left; Keyan Zarafshan, 9, seated; Shayan Zarafshan, 11; and Natalie Ferrero, 6.
John McCoy/Staff Photographer