Repertory Dance Theatre’s 53rd season opens with a tribute to yesterday and today in SPIRIT, October 4-6. The concert features two historical works (including the modern dance classic, “Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder” by Donald McKayle) as well as two world-premieres. We will be featuring interviews with each of the choreographers as we lead up to the show. See Tiffany Rea-Fisher’s video here>>, and Natosha Washington’s video here>>.
Last on our list is Les Watanabe, who came to RDT in July to set the late Donald McKayle’s work, “Rainbow Round My Shoulder.”
Les Watanabe is a NTT Assistant Professor at Western Oregon University, where he teaches Ballet, Modern and Dance Seminar. Also, an Adjunct Professor at University of Portland. Les Watanabe received his B.F.A. in dance from California Institute of the Arts and his M.F.A. from UC Irvine as a Chancellor’s Fellow.
In addition to his expansive career as a dance educator, Mr. Watanabe has had an illustrious career as a performer and choreographer. For his full bio, click here>>.
Here’s your breakdown in case you want to skip ahead:
:14 – Tell us about Donald McKayle
1:19 – Tell us about “Rainbow Round My Shoulder”
3:41 – Was ‘Rainbow’ considered a social protest?
4:09 – As a choreographer, how did Donald McKayle identify?
5:29 – What made you (Les) become a dancer?
8:00 – How did you meet Donald McKayle?
9:29 – How does your own heritage affect your work?
11:48 – How has cultural diversity enhanced the art of modern dance?
12:45 – How was it working with RDT?
14:00 – Do you feel it is important to preserve historical modern dance works?
SPIRIT will launch RDT’s season-long initiative of MANIFEST DIVERSITY, an initiative to illuminate the convergence of different cultures and peoples that have made modern dance a rich tapestry of the American experience.
Tickets for SPIRIT are available now through ArtTix.