Donald McKayle

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Donald McKayle
Donald Mckayle 2008.jpg
Born(1930-07-06)July 6, 1930
DiedApril 6, 2018(2018-04-06) (aged 87)
OccupationModern dancer, choreographer, teacher, director, writer
Years active1948–present

Donald McKayle (July 6, 1930 – April 6, 2018) was an American modern dancer, choreographer, teacher, director and writer. He was best known for creating socially concert works during the 1950s and 1960s.

Early life[change | change source]

McKayle was born in Harlem, New York.

Career[change | change source]

His instructors included modern dance pioneer Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, Anna Sokolow and Karol Shook.[1]

McKayle was "among the first black men to break the racial barrier by means of modern dance."[2] He worked with Martha Graham multiple times during his career.

His work for the concert stage, especially Games (1951) and Rainbow Round My Shoulder (1959), were his best known works. In addition, McKayle was the first black man to both direct and choreograph major Broadway musicals, including the Tony Award-winners Raisin (1973) and Sophisticated Ladies (1981).[3][4]

McKayle held an endowed chair in the Dance Department at University of California, Irvine, where he was the Claire Trevor Professor of Dance. He previously served on the faculties of Connecticut College, Sarah Lawrence College, and Bennington College.

Death[change | change source]

McKayle died in Irvine, California on April 6, 2018 at the age of 87.[5][6]

References[change | change source]

  1. Gregg Lizenbery, "McKayle, Donald," in Taryn Benbow-Pfalzgraf (ed.), International Dictionary of Modern Dance (Detroit: St.James Press, 1998), 526.
  2. Nancy Reynolds and Malcolm McCormick, No Fixed Points: Dance in the Twentieth Century (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003), 345.
  3. John Perpener, African-American Concert Dance: The Harlem Renaissance and Beyond ((Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2001), 193.
  4. Melanye P. White-Dixon, "McKayle, Donald," in Selma Jeanne Cohen (ed.), International Encyclopedia of Dance, vol. 4 (New York: Oxford University Press 1998), 345.
  5. "SDSCPA on Twitter". Twitter. San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  6. Pioneering black choreographer, director Donald McKayle dies

Other websites[change | change source]