Legendary Choreographer Visits Montclair State

Photo: Mike Peters

Donald McKayle

Montclair State University dance students were treated to an experience of a lifetime as legendary choreographer, dancer, and educator Donald McKayle came to the campus in February to spend three days working with the students as they rehearsed his classic work, Games, in preparation for its performance in Danceworks 2010.

One of the most influential choreographers of the postwar era, McKayle has choreographed more than 70 works for dance companies as well as for Broadway productions, cinema, and television. “To have an artist of the stature of Donald McKayle come to Montclair State and work with our students was just a fantastic opportunity for them,” said Professor Lori Katterhenry, coordinator of the University’s Dance Program. “They not only benefited from being coached by the creator of the very work they were rehearsing, but they were also able to learn from, interact with, and be inspired by a true legend in the arts.”

McKayle’s three-day visit, including a one-hour interview conducted by Professor Neil Baldwin, was taped and the resulting high-definition footage will be available for future students to view and study, giving them the opportunity to also share in the experience.

“Our intent is to donate the interview and selected footage from the three days of rehearsals to the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library where it will be accessible to future generations of dance aficionados and scholars,” said Baldwin. “So in essence, Montclair State is making a permanent contribution to our cultural patrimony by this definitive documentation of a 59-year-old classic of American dance theatre.”