Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on January 11, 1996 · Page 36
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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania · Page 36

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Thursday, January 11, 1996
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D-2 PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE THURSDAY, JANUARY 11, 19 Late afternoon of a faun From the projects to the pinnacles of ballet to AIDS, Mel Tomlinson has danced with aignity and fire II..' ' . . i , rtj- ' , i I Jl I iihiiii r . " ' ; " i . . ! ' , ' ' 'i . ' . 1 t'.i' '"'. " '' J I . -1 ?- ' . ,. r n " r . I ' '-f A. '.J . V if, . V ..... i -' ; ' . J : ' .."' ' ? y. xm Mark B. SluderCharlotte Observer Ballet dancer Mel Tomlinson can reflect back on a triumphant career; he rose from the housing projects of Raleigh, N.C, to dance with the companies of Agnes de Mille, Alvin Ailey, George Balanchine, Arthur Mitchell and others. His greatest role may have been In "Afternoon of a Faun," which won him comparisons to the legendary Nijinsky. He is now battling AIDS. By Tony Brown The Charlotte Observer CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Even under the stiff sheets of a hospital bed, Mel Tomlinson's body vibrates its poetry: The slender but powerful legs twitching like a gazelle preparing for flight, double joints popping at , every juncture, muscles rippling under a dark bronze sheath of skin, that impossibly long neck supporting a proud head and noble visage. But look more closely at this 42-year-old, 6-foot-l-inch example of God's best work. You can see how AIDS has begun its destruction of a ballet star Agnes de Mille called "the most exciting black dancer in America." The left foot, once a bundle of bunions for toes, is now swaddled in bandages. The delicate skin peels from a Kaposi's sarcoma lesion. The body, famous throughout the dance world for its contortions, is attenuated, down 18 pounds from its optimal weight. The arms that form one of the most dramatic wingspans in ballet are scarred from needles and the medicines poured through them. The drugs fight a fungus called Cryptococcus neoformans, which has given Tomlinson meningitis. But Tomlinson's brain, another daunting weapon in this dancer's arsenal he speaks French, Italian, Spanish and, in emergencies, Cantonese is just as sharp. "I've had three great challenges in my life," Tomlinson says carefully. "First I fought the barrier of apologizing for being poor and black. But I was able to do all I wanted to do." Tomlinson went from the housing projects of Raleigh to the pinnacle of dance: a soloist with New York City Ballet 'The second barrier was apologizing for being a homosexual. I first suspected it In my early teens, but I didn't accept it until I was 18 because of peer pressure. But you won't find me in wigs and dresses and high heels. I'm an athlete, "And now, my third challenge," Tomlinson begins again. "Being labeled damaged goods. Having AIDS. Cryptococcal meningitis. People need to know about this disease. Lovely people can get it. Women can get it. Little hemophiliac babies. It's not just black homosexual dancers." The fire has returned to Tomlinson's voice. But the diseases that have taken up residence in his nearly perfect body drain his strength. He fades into a state resembling sleep. His legs, so used to dancing every day, still twitch. Tomlinson was never one to sweep things under the carpet. "I'm outspoken, 42 and demand respect," says Tomlinson, back at his North Carolina home. Sprawled on his bed, he commands his 160-pound Bouvier des Flandres dog with a snappy "Va-tine!" Italian for "Go away!" Tomlinson knows how he got AIDS: through sex. He doesn't know when, with whom or why. "Abstinence? Forget it. Humans are in the animal kingdom. We're going to play doctor or nurse or spin-the-bottfe. You can't stop that. You can practice safer sex, but condoms tear, condoms slip." In addition to taking precautions, Tomlinson used to get tested for HIV every so often. Everything was . fine until July 23, 1995. A sharp pain behind the eye. A visit to a doctor. Tests. With the results still pending, Tomlinson kept his next engagement: teaching children at a workshop in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. Teaching has been the other major passion of Tomlinson's adult life. When he demonstrates his , technique, the little boys in his class stand taller, stretching their necks in emulation. "I want to help get young people off the streets and off drugs. I want to say, 'Look at me. You can do this. You can be anything you want to be.' " He tried but couldn't make it through the day of classes. He collapsed and had to be taken to his room. Finally, unable to bear the pain, he dialed 911 and was carried through the motel lobby while his stunned students looked on. "I had never been to a hospital. I wasn't even born in one." A spinal tap drew fluid from his back and a CAT scan was taken of his brain. The scan came back fine, but the tap revealed that Tomlinson had fungal meningitis, an almost sure sign of AIDS. Of all the people he called with the awful news, only one responded immediately and without reservation to help him: longtime Dance Theatre of Harlem friend Karen Brown, now director of Atlanta Ballet's outreach program. "I've had to redefine what a real friend is, what a real family member is, what real Christian leadership is," Tomlinson says. "Ignorance is the captain of racism. Ignorance is the captain of sexism. And now, I find that ignorance is the captain of infirmity as well." Despite being in and out of . the hospital, Tomlinson has been to Boston twice since July. That's where he spent 1991-1994 dancing and teaching at Boston Ballet and its City Dance program for inner-city kids, and at Boston Conservatory and Harvard University. "My poor black kids in City Dance can out-dance any kids in Boston. I taught them dance. I have to continue to teach them manners and self-respect." When Tomlinson speaks with such passion about poor black chil- School of the Arts. He studied modern dance with Robert Lind-gren until someone noticed that he could do more with his body than many ballet dancers. That won him an audition in 1972 with the great Agnes de Mille. De Mille not only welcomed Tomlinson into her company; she even created a new ballet for him called "Texas Fourth." Tomlinson's career was launched. After de Mille's company, he worked at Alvin Ailey's American Dance Theater and Arthur Mitchell's Dance Theatre of Harlem, where he rose to a principal dancer position. Excellent companies, but Tomlinson wondered if he could make it outside a predominantly black troupe. He found out in 1981 with the country's best dance company, New York City Ballet. He became a bona fide star when he danced "Agon," a masterwork by the legendary George Balanchine. The audience stood and cheered. A review by Anna Kisselgoff in The New York Times put the Big Apple at Tomlinson's dancing feet. "The cause of the happy tion was very obviously Mel Tomlinson, who made an electrifying debut," Kisselgoff wrote. "Tomlinson stretches himself out like a cat in the sun on his back and revels in the time he takes to do it." Within five months, Balanchine elevated Tomlinson to soloist and gave him principal roles. After dancing at the White House and for Britain's royal family, what do you do for an encore? Tomlinson tried to retire' in 1987. He was 33. His body hurt. He wanted to teach. - But a choreographer named Sal Aiello, artistic director of a small but respected company in Winston-Salem,' had other ideas. With the promise of more dancing time and the opportunity to teach, Aiello hired Tomlinson as a guest artist with North Carolina Dance Theatre. He became principal -dancer and education director in 1988. Tomlinson bought his house in Charlotte just before the company moved here in 1990. But he left the company a year later because of the troupe's financial difficulties. Alter touring Japan, he tried to retire from the stage again when he went to Boston to teach. But he was talked into joining Boston Ballet as a principal dancer. He retired again, :7-: Till UifiilL now 16! 24?5L g& M F v (Hi 0 L . m SAVE 50-59 IF PERFECT $40 m)-SS0.00 fill I' I I i il II U9ffW B ft il WATER BEO SHEET SETS AND COWH-UflfERS fl II 11 I j 11 f II II H IB Satin or polyestercotton sheet sets in queen or 1J fjkl 1J IJ El U'J CL U IzCJ m mJa king sizes. Comforters in queen or king stze. mmt mm mm mm mmm mm iiimr M Qmw mm g mmw IrrT- -Nit. mmw ml mvMmM0 - S.f Wl VqW wSraafe3iL' now 9 no 14 MMmMMwidpdmfM, SAVE 50-70 IF PERFECT $20.00-$35.00 SAVE 60-65 COMPARE AT $40.00-842.00 4 I n'f J?' ! V f . JA SCLjiF? COTTON THERMAL BLANKETS ANTIQUE SATIN 'CORBY' DRAPERIES i pVTf I) J-Atrt'tyiStit?? I 1 Available in twinfull and kingqueen sizes. 48"x63" and 48"x84" si2es. Various fabrics 'i'tWll iX'r, fZX'.V''fit'i ' ir ' Tt V'WK 1F"" andcolors. , f HmmPf l T W p 299 y99 tj'Vf T.'' ' - dren finding themselves through dance, he is talking about himself. He didn't start dance training until age 16, about a decade late. He is physically unsuited to dance: Childhood scoliosis rendered his right leg 18 millimeters shorter than the left. All his major joints have been diagnosed as arthritic, especially the crucial ones in his feet. Tomlinson was tall and athletic, but he didn't feel as if he would fit in with a basketball team. He wanted to express himself through movement but had no idea there was something called ballet. Then he found a way to use his talent. He turned flips, rode a unicy-cle and performed gymnastic stunts at halftime of high school football and basketball games. It brought him to the attention of Raleigh dance teacher Betty Kovach, who helped Tomlinson get into N.C. lUlflf WlTIW 40-m TOPS COMP $1i-$17 JEANS IF FERF. $3$ FAMOUS MAKER PIQUE TOPS DENIM JEANS cotton color tops. Stonewash, cotton jeans. P.M. . USE OUR CONVENIENT LAVA WAV PUN r in 1993, to teach full-time. Yet Tomlinson had one more dance in him, which he performed in Charlotte's North Carolina Blu-menthal Performing Arts Center last May. It likely will be his last. Appropriately, it is probably the greatest ballet Tomlinson has ever danced. Aiello lured Tomlinson to North Carolina in '87 with this ballet. Tomlinson and N.C. Dance Theatre took it to New York in 1988 for a triumphant week. And it was the last ballet Aiello saw Tomlinson dance; the choreographer died in October. That last Tomlinson ballet is Aiello's "Afternoon of a Faun." It is based on "Prelude to an Afternoon of a Faun," written in 1892-94 by Claude Debussy. In 1912, dancer Vaslav Nijinsky transformed the music into angular ballet For Tomlinson, Aiello created a radically different "Faun," curving, sensual, athletic. And it made audiences love Tomlinson even more. Writing in The New York Times, critic Jennifer Dunning said only three "Fauns" ever mattered: Nijin-sks original, Jerome Robbins' and Aiello and Tomlinson's. In a moving speech at a memorial service for Aiello, Tomlinson declared: "I am the faun." And so he is, a sensate, slithery creature who has the appearance of a man but who can do things only a supernatural being could. The Cryptococcus fungus that, now infects this magnificent physique is a common one, found m soil. This extraordinary instrument of dance is gradually being reclaimed by the earth and its dirt. He can pay his medical bills only with government assistance. An organization called Pets Are Loving Souls (PALS) sends volunteers to walk his dog. He is scraping by. For now, he is reasonably healthy, making plans to teach, earning whatever money he can to meet his mortgage payment. Tomlinson is still the faun, loud and proud. " 'How did he die?' " Tomlinson asks rhetorically, pretending he is two people talking about his own death. " 'He got hit by a bus.' " 'Oh, my.' "But if it's AIDS, then listen to everyone talk. I have a right to die with dignity, And I have a right to live with dignity." Notices 800 Legal Notices the time and the Motions Room, City-County Building, Pittsburgh, PA, as the place for a hearing, when and where all persons may show cause, If any they have, why said name should not be changed as prayed for. Many Emamzaaeh, Esquire, Attorney for Petitioner, Klett Lieber Rooney & Schorling, 40th Floor, One Oxford Centre, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. NOTICE OF AUDITOR'S REPORT OF KEYSTONE OAKS SCHOOL DISTRICT' A detailed report of the examination of the financial statements of Keystone Oaks School District for the school year ended June 30, 1995 has been submitted to the Board of School Directors, and is available for public Inspection at the Office of the School District. Notice is hereby given that said report . has been filed on December 28, 1995 with the Prothono-tary of Allegheny County," Receipt No. GD95 020756, and that the same will be confirmed absolutely unless ' an appeal is taken therefrom within thirty days after the filing thereof. MUETZEL & WOOD NOTICE OF AUDITOR'S REPORT OF FOX CHAPEL AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT A detailed report of the examination of the financial statements of Fox Chapel Area School District for the school year ended June 30, 1995 has been submitted to the Board of School Directors, and Is available for 'Uoiic inspection at the Dice of the School District. Notice Is hereby given that said reoort has been filed on December 28, 1995 with ' the Prothonotory of Alleghe GD95 020732, and that the same will be confirmed absolutely unless an appeal is taken therefrom within thirty days after the filing thereof. ny cauntv. Rere nt Nn. nujutN JftLMI, MUETZEL & WOOD NOTICE OF AUDITOR'S REPORT OF FORBES ROAD EAST AREA VOCATIONAL-TECHNICAL SCHOOL A detailed report of the as the Dlace examination of the financial statements of Forbes Road East Area Vocational-Technical School for the school ear ended June 30, 1995 ias been submitted to the Board of School Directors, and Is available for public inspection at the Office of the School. Notice Is hereby iven that said report has pen filed on December 28, of Allegheny County, Receipt 1995 with the Prothonotarv NO.. GD95 07055, ana that the same will be confirmed authorized the & iHLakSl lh3Etr0.K. "m petition and day of Janu thereof. HOSACK, SPECHT, MUETZEL & WOOD 945 a.m., as of 1988. The corporation is Martial Arts Soci C. Guehl, Esquire, Suite 110, II, 1910 Cochran Pittsburgh, PA 25220. Originally sold in department stores for S60-S275 hereoy given that 800 Legal Notices 800 Legal NOTICE is hereby given pursuant to the provisions of The Fictitious Names Act of Pennsylvania that an application for registration of a fictitious name was filed In the office of the Department of State of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, for the conduct of a business under the fictitious name of Fraternal Order of Eagles -Junction Aerie 1732, with Its principal office or oiace of business at 101 Fifth St., Freeport, PA 16229. The names and addresses, including street and number, if any, of all persons who are parties to the registration are: Roger Morrison, Thomas Wetter and Drew Wes-tendorf, all of 101 Fifth St., Freeport, PA 16229. ration Law name of the Traditional ety, incorporated. JOHANNA Attorney, Monor Oak Road, Notice Is unities or were filed of with respect which has under the Business 1988. The Is Association, MICHELLE Springer, Two I ncorporanon with the Department State of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, to a corporation been Incorporated provisions of the Corporation Law of name of the corporation West Penn Eye P.C. 20"x36" L. Kopnskl, Bush & Perry, Attorneys, Gateway Center, 15th Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Notice is hereby given that Articles of Incorporation were filed with the Department of State of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, with respect to a corporation which has been Incorporated under the provisions of the Business Corporation Low of 1988. The 24"x48" wedge 24.99 20"x66" 39.99 30"x60" 49.99 High quality Indo-Persian rugs. Tightly woven pile allows for more detail and heirloom longevity. Suet apprownato. - name of the corporation Cochran Associates. NOTICE Is hereby given pursuant to the provisions of the Fictitious Names Act of Pennsylvania that an application for- registration of a fictitious name was filed In the office of the Department of State of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, for the conduct of a business under the fictitious name of J&R.E. Enterprise with Its Erincipal office or place of uslness at 530 Allegheny River Blvd., P.O. Box 221 Oakmont, PA 15139. The name and addresses. Including street and number, if any, of all persons who are parties to the registration are: Jeffrey M. Eror and Robin L. Diamond, 118 Llgonier Court, New Kensington, PA 15068. ROBERT K. Dannhauser, Suite 4000, 309 Smithfield Street, Pgh., PA. 15222 Notice is hereby given that Articles of Incorporation were filed with the Department of State of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, with respect to a corporation which has been incorporated under the provisions of the Business Corporation Law of 1988. The name of the corporation is DVL Consulting, Inc. SAVE 50 COMPARE AT $10.00 DECORATOR 1" VINYL MINI BLINDS 6.99 39 64- Comp $14 "7.99 43 x64" Coup $16 8.99 4B"64" Comp $18 While slale alabaster & Dlack. SI Dflluiie window top treatments If pertecl $S Tucker & Tamor w5 om wH now6?!i 191 SAVE 40-85 COMPARE AT S12.00-S29.99 TUCKER' AND 'TAMOR' HEAVYWEIGHT PLASTIC STORAGE CONTAINERS Choose from 20. 33. 35 h 42 gal Hinged lids. SAVE $10-830 COMPARE AT $30.00-850.00 UOIFS' 'ACTIVE AIR', 'MUSHROOMS' AND 'COBBIES' COMFORT CASUALS Slip-ons and oxfords in medium & wide widths. wmlELGJE DEPARTMENT HIGHLAND MALL R1 26 Frepor1 Road Natrona Hots. PA 15065 PH:22S-1500 1Q99 UNIONTOWN Rt. 40 Waal Unlontown. PA PH: SAVE 80 COMPARE AT $18 AND UP 'NORWALL' DOUBLE ROLL WALLPAPER Mostly pre-pasted. Selection of patterns and colors. 2S1 Wall bonton Compare at $6 00 199 now SAVE 50-55 COMPARE AT $3 0O-S9 00 'WEST POINT STEVENS' BATH TOWEL ENSEMBLES 2.B Hand towels 1.49 Washcloth 99 799 r Dron I Dacron II now SAVE 50V70 COMPARE AT $12.00-821 M DACRON I AND II BEO PILLOWS Dacron I medium support and Dacron II extra firm support. Standard, queen and king sizes. NORTHWAY MALL ea McKmght Road Pittsburgh, PA 1 52.17 PH: 369-5100 1 ..." ' ' . W v. j PLEASANT 3O0 Curry -Hollow Pitta&urqh. PA PH;653 Rrure F. Rudov; Rudov; Aderson, Frank & Stelner, P.C., Al ftvs 2300 Grant Bldg., Pqh 15219. Notice is hereby giv PA en that Articles of Incorpora tion were filed with the Department of State of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, with respect to a corporation which has been Incorporated under the provisions of the Business Corporation Law of 19B8. The name of the corporation is Don's Gloss & Mirror, Inc. In the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, orphans' Court Division: No. 145 of 1992. In re Petition of Dawn Lynn Smith Van Way, for change of name of Dawnlynn Ti-bensky. To all person Interested: Notice is hereby given that on order of said Court authorized the filing of said petition and fixed the 8th day of February, 1996, at 10:00 a.m., as the time and 1 700 Frlck building, 1m9 3Q?9 ft" Q?9. nniAi nnim BRUCE F. Rudoy; Ader-son, Frank & Stelner, P.C., Attys., 2300 Grant Bldg., Pgh., PA 15219. Notice Is hereby given that Articles of Incorporation were filed with the Department of State of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, with respect to a corporation which has been incorporated under the provisions of the Business Corporation Law of 1988. The name of the corporation is Giausser, Listwak and Company, PC. Pittsburgh, PA, for a hearing, where all persons cause. If any said name changed as Bruce F. Rudoy; Frank & Steiner, 2300 Grant 15219. IN the Court Pleas of when and may show they have, why should not be prayed for. Aderson, P.C, Attvs., Bldg., Pgh PA IIUll BlWuncittl WWl,. SAVEM-70 COMPARE AT S80.00-S1 29.00 LADIES' POPLIN OR POLVESTERNYLON RAINWEAR Assortment of styles and colors Sizes 4-14 39.99 WOMEN'S sprit ralnwaw Comp. $80 my STORES SHOP DAILY 9:30 A.M. TO 9:30 SUNDAY 1 1 A.M. TO 6 P.M. SAVE BOYS' Assorted denim of Common Allegheny County, Pennslyvanio: No. GD95-20004. In re petition of Marion Elizabeth Kissel for chanqe of name to Morion Elizabeth Mooney. To all persons Interested: Notice is JAMES J. Pecora, Attorney, 501 Lincoln Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15202. Notice is hereby given that Articles of Incorporation were filed with the Department of State of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, with respect to a corporation which has been Incorporated under the provi-fon of the Business Corpo- MALL 15401 439-2595 HILLS Road 15JJ6 8920 of sal herebi ifd tourt filing of said fixed the IBth ary, 1996, at

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