Founded by Jeraldyne Blunden in 1968 to provide performance opportunities to dancers of color, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (commonly known as DCDC) remains rooted in the African American experience. Their production of Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder was presented by Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance at Lincoln Center in 2016, winning the New York Dance & Performance (“Bessie”) Award for Best Revival. Choreographer Donald McKayle was first invited to present his company at Jacob’s Pillow in 1953, and his dancers performed Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder as part of two seasons during the early 1960s. This theatricalized depiction of a chain gang has long been acknowledged as McKayle’s masterpiece, while he has also created dances for television, films, and on Broadway, winning numerous awards in all these arenas. McKayle (1930-2018) was a prominent figure in dance education for decades, and he published an autobiography, Transcending Boundaries: My Dancing Life, in 2002.
EXPLORE JOHN PERPENER’S MULTI-MEDIA ESSAY ON DONALD McKAYLE