Pi­o­neer­ing black chore­og­ra­pher, di­rec­tor Don­ald McKayle dies

South Florida Times - - OBITUARIES -

IRVINE, Calif. (AP) - Don­ald McKayle, a mod­ern dancer and chore­og­ra­pher who brought the black ex­pe­ri­ence in Amer­ica to the Broad­way stage in mu­si­cals such as “Raisin'' and “So­phis­ti­cated Ladies,'' has died. He was 87.

His wife, Lea McKayle, told the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Irvine that McKayle died Friday night. He was a UCI pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus of dance.

Born in Har­lem, McKayle be­gan danc­ing as a teenager.

McKayle chore­ographed works that fo­cused on black life and so­cially con­scious themes such as poverty, home­less­ness and dis­crim­i­na­tion.

His 1959 work “Rain­bow 'Round My Shoul­der'' de­picted the lives of chain-gang pris­on­ers.

McKayle was the first African-Amer­i­can man to both di­rect and chore­o­graph ma­jor Broad­way mu­si­cals, in­clud­ing 1973's “Raisin,'' which won the Tony as best mu­si­cal, and 1981's “So­phis­ti­cated Ladies.'' He also chore­ographed for movies and TV shows.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF ARTFORUM

Don­ald McKayle

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