BR student gets national dance honor

Baton Rouge dancer Payton Johnson, 16, has earned the honor of National Teen Best Dancer at The Dance Awards July 5-12 in New York City.

The University High School student was chosen over 130 contenders from the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The Dance Awards is an annual celebration of the year in dance combining three of the nation’s top dance conventions — JUMP, NUVO and 24Seven — into one national event. Johnson qualified to compete in New York by winning regional titles at JUMP in New Orleans, NUVO in Memphis, Tennessee, and 24Seven in Houston. Johnson’s solo, “Less Is More,” was choreographed by renowned New York-based contemporary master Jason Parsons.

Johnson won the Teen Solo competition with her dance, “Awakening,” choreographed by “So You Think You Can Dance” mentor Travis Wall. She and her duo partner, Christine Miranda, were awarded a Judges’s Pick award and placed third in the Senior Duo/Trio competition. Her group dance with Autumn Dorsa, Faith Huguet and Gabrielle Woodall was awarded a Judge’s Pick, First Place Junior Group, and asked to compete at the gala, receiving first runner-up, Best Performance Junior Division, and Outstanding Technical Achievement in the Junior Division.

As the National Teen Best Dancer, Johnson receives a lifetime scholarship to JUMP, NUVO, 24Seven and The Dance Awards, and will travel assisting the convention faculty.

The daughter of Mike and Lori Johnson, of Baton Rouge, she dances at Jean Leigh Academy of Dance under the direction of Dianna Jones.

Bush Museum topic for Preceptor Beta Epsilon

Maxine Muller spoke about her trip to the George W. Bush Museum in Dallas, when Preceptor Beta Epsilon Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi met July 15 at Muller’s home.

President Sandy Linder led a discussion on the increase of Beta Sigma Phi City Council’s annual dues and thanked those who participated in the “horse race event” on June 20 with Laureate Alpha Alpha Chapter. Members celebrated Muller’s birthday. Also attending were Ruth Mannen, Marilyn Mayeux, Anna Marie Burns, Anne Smith, Leslie Steele, Ethel Taylor and Bonnie Wolf.

Portraits topic for LPS; photo contest planned

Aaron Hogan spoke about taking portraits July 16 to the Louisiana Photographic Society.

Hogan showed how he uses various light sources, including window, daylight, flash, modeling and reflectors for indoor and outdoor photography. Using model Whitney Tucker, he demonstrated various effects with a strobe at different angles.

A photo contest open to the public at all skill levels was announced, with $5,000 in cash and prizes to be awarded and the top 50 images to be displayed at the Arts Council of Baton Rouge gallery. Entry deadline is Aug. 9. Details are available at under the link, “Clicking the Light Fantastic.”

In monthly club competition, first-place winners in Level A were Renée Pierce for color and Sheldon Anderson for monotone. Level B winners were Lind Michel for color and Letonya Elmore for monotone. LPS meets on the third Thursday of the month. All photo enthusiasts are invited. Visit

Urban Game Changer connects kids, deputies

Urban Game Changer and Sisters of Sophistication held a “Lemonade with Cops” event July 18 at the Jewel Newman Community Center.

East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff deputies interacted with youngsters to discuss respect and discipline, served lemonade and took photos. The Rev. William King donated the banner and Raising Cane’s donated lemonade.

Compiled by Advocate staff writer George Morris. The “Community” column runs every Tuesday and Friday in The Advocate. Items should be submitted to “Community,” Advocate eatplaylive section, P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821, or emailed to Events should be submitted in a timely fashion. By submitting photos to The Advocate, you agree that they can be published in any of The Advocate’s print or digital publications.