Choreographer McKayle Offered Post at UCI

Times Staff Writer

Choreographer Donald McKayle may be joining the dance faculty at UC Irvine soon if he accepts an offer from UCI Dean of Fine Arts Robert Hickok.

"We have been in discussion with Mr. McKayle for a number of months in an attempt to convince him to come and join us," Hickok said Wednesday. "We have progressed to the point where we have made him a formal offer and are very much in hopes that he will accept the position."

Hickok said he was expecting an answer from McKayle "any moment."

Born in New York in 1930, McKayle studied dance with Martha Graham, Karel Shook and Pearl Primus, then went on to join a number of modern dance troupes, including those of Graham, Anna Sokolow and Jean Erdman.

He danced in such Broadway musicals as "House of Flowers" and "West Side Story" and began choreographing for Broadway--for which he won five Tony nominations--in 1965 with "Golden Boy." He choreographed "Sophisticated Ladies" for Broadway in 1981.

McKayle created "Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder" and "District Storyville" for his own troupe, which lasted from 1951-69.

He taught at the School of Dance at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia from 1970-75 and also was head of the now-defunct Inner City Dance Company in Los Angeles.

McKayle's appointment as a professor of dance at UCI would begin on July 1 and would be a full-time one, according to Hickok.

"But that does not mean that he would be prohibited from pursuing a certain level of professional activities" outside the university, Hickok said. "We want all our professors to maintain their professional status."

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