Skip to Main Content
Research Guides

Chamber Dance Company Archive: Donald McKayle

A unique collection of video documenting the UW Chamber Dance Dance Company's over 25 year history of performing modern dance classics.

Donald McKayle

Born July 6, 1930.

Donald McKayle began his career with a scholarship at the New Dance Group school and has gone on to receive honors and awards in every aspect of his illustrious career. He has been named by the Dance Heritage Coalition as "one of America's Irreplaceable Dance Treasures: the first 100." His choreographic masterworks, considered modern dance classic, Games, Rainbow Round My Shoulder, District Storyville, and Songs of the Disinherited are performed around the world. He has choreographed over nintey works for dance companies in the U.S., Canada, Israel, Europe, and South America. He is Artistic Mentor for the Limon Dance Company. Five Tony nominations have honored his choreography for Broadway musical theater. He has received the Capezio Award, Samuel H Scripps/American Dance Festival Award, American Dance Guild Award, Living Legend Award from the National Black Arts Festival, Heritage Award from the California Dance Educators Association, Dance/USA Honors, an Irvine Fellowship in Dance, two Choreographer's Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the 2004 Martha Hill Lifetime Achievement Award, amoung others. He has received an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Cornish College of the Arts and Juilliard. For his work in education, he has earned the Balasaraswati/Joy Ann Dewey Beinecke Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching, UCI's Distinguished Faculty Lectureship Award for chair. Mr. McKayle has served on the faculties of numerous international fora nad many prestigious national institutions. His autobiography, Transcending Boundaries: My Dancing Life, was honored with the Society of Dance History Scholar's De La Torre Bueno Special Citation. A television documentary on his life and work, Heartbeats of a Dance Maker, was aired on PBS.

Watch Donald McKayle's work Dink's Blues at the Media Arcade in Vol. 46 of the Chamber Dance Company Archive (DVD UWDP 001 v.46).