Renowned Choreographer Donald McKayle Speaks Nov. 8

TAMPA, Fla. (Nov. 4, 2008) – The University of South Florida College of Visual & Performing Arts presents "Talk of the Arts: A Conversation with Donald McKayle," a panel discussion with the distinguished choreographer and USF School of Theatre and Dance faculty members Michael Foley, John Parks and Gretchen Ward Warren, Nov. 8, 6:00 p.m. at Theatre I on the Tampa campus. A reception will follow. The event is free and open to the public.

A gifted choreographer of socially conscious works, Donald McKayle has established a 60-year career highlighted by numerous prestigious dance honors, an Emmy Award nomination and five Tony Award nominations. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley, the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and the Lula Washington Dance Theatre serve as repositories for his works. He is Artistic Mentor for the Limón Dance Company.

Donald McKayle was honored in 2005 at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and presented with a medal as a Master of African American Choreography. He is currently the Claire Trevor Professor in Dance at the University of California, Irvine.

“We are honored to have a man who was named one of ‘America's Irreplaceable Dance Treasures’ (by the Dance Heritage Coalition), someone who can talk about being one of the original cast members of West Side Story and with over 50 choreographed works to his credit, here at USF,” said Marc Powers, director of the School of Theatre and Dance. “Only the world’s top dancers can speak about what it’s like to dance in the companies of Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham and Anna Sokolow, and he is one of the most celebrated. An opportunity like this doesn’t come along often for those who love and follow dance.”

“Talk of the Arts” is an annual lecture and performance series inaugurated in Fall 2007. Funded by the USF College of Visual & Performing Arts, this ambitious guest artist and scholar series seeks to become nationally known for the reputation of its speakers and their interactions with USF’s students.

The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged, four-year public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded more than $360 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2007/2008. The university offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The university has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 46,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.

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