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McKayle (Donald) Papers
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Collection Overview
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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 Raisin and 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 Games, 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 13.7 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. Access to original film is restricted; researchers may request viewing copies.