Photographs, programs, production notes, music scores, audio and video recordings, costume designs, reviews, and other printed
and graphic materials illustrate the eclectic career of world-renowned choreographer and University of California, Irvine
Professor of Dance Donald McKayle. Early materials pertain to his youth in Harlem and his performance career in New York City
in concert dance, theater and television. The bulk of the collection documents McKayle's career as the choreographer of over
fifty concert dance pieces between 1948 and 1998 and as a director or choreographer for theatrical productions both off and
on Broadway, including
Sophisticated Ladies. The materials illustrate the development of individual choreographic pieces, the evolution of McKayle as an artist, and
his career as a dance educator.
A world-renowned choreographer, Donald McKayle began his career in New York City, initially studying dance with the New Dance
Group and dancing professionally for noted choreographers such as Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, Sophie Maslow, and Anna
Sokolow. In the 1950's he founded and directed Donald McKayle and Company, creating such landmark works as
Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder, and
District Storyville between 1951 and 1962. Although originally created for McKayle's own company, these works are now found in the repertories
of major modern dance companies such as the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. McKayle's career has taken him to and beyond
Broadway, where he choreographed
Golden Boy, directed and choreographed
Raisin, and conceived and choreographed
Sophisticated Ladies. He has worked in film and television as well, choreographing dance sequences in
Bedknobs and Broomsticks and
The Minstrel Man and directing the first episodes of the television series
Good Times.Note: A more extensive choreology of Donald McKayle's concert dance pieces follows this chronology.Note: The following choreology (a chronology of a choreographer's work) indicates the years of creation and premiere of concert
dance pieces. It does not include McKayle's choreography in other genres such as theater and film. Unless otherwise noted,
the pieces are ensemble dances.
19.1 Linear feet
(19 document boxes, 5 record cartons, 1 shoe box, 6 flat boxes, and 3 oversized folders) and 12.1 unprocessed linear feet
Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and
their heirs. For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact the Head of Special Collections and University Archives.
The collection is open for research. Unprocessed negatives in box 25 are restricted from researcher use.