Thursday, March 20, 2008

Rainbow Round my Shoulders

"You don't say 'I have no ideas.' You begin. You go into the studio and begin."

Today I attended a master class at SMC taught by one the best choreographers alive today; Donald McKayle. He began dancing in the 1940's after watching Pearl Primus in New York. He looked at that woman on stage and said "I want to do that!" His friend told him not to talk during the concert. Shortly thereafter he attended an audition, with no training. He said if there had been a hole in the ground he could have sunk right into it, but afterwards he went up and said "Thank you." That was how he was raised. The next day his name was on the company list.

Ever since 1947 he has only been out of work for a single week. He came to dance innocent, and wanted to try every technique and style he saw. He has worked with Alvin Ailey, Arthur Mitchell, Martha Graham; the list is pretty endless.

What a marvelous experience. I even got picked on a little. In 90 minutes I learned things that will stick with me for the rest of my life. *sigh* MARVELOUS!

(To see more excerpts, search Rainbow Round my Shoulders by Donald McKayle at