Keynote Speaker: Donald McKayle

Donald McKayle, recipient of honors and awards in every aspect of his distinguished career, is one of America’s irreplaceable dance treasures.

Donald McKayle, recipient of honors and awards in every aspect of his distinguished career, is one of America’s irreplaceable dance treasures.

Donald McKayle, recipient of honors and awards in every aspect of his distinguished career, is one of America’s irreplaceable dance treasures. His choreographic masterworks, considered modern dance classics, Games, Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder, District Storyville and Songs of the Disinherited, are performed around the world. Mr. McKayle has choreographed over ninety works for dance companies throughout the United States, Canada, Israel, Europe and South America. He has performed with legendary dance pioneers including Anna Sokolow, Martha Graham, Helen Tamiris and Charles Weidman. Among others, Mr. McKayle has contributed classic works to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and is the artistic mentor of the Jose Limon Dance Company. A five-time Tony nominee, his Broadway choreographies include Sophisticated Ladies, Raisin, and It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues. His work for film includes Disney’s “Bedknobs and Broomsticks”, “The Great White Hope”, and “The Jazz Singer”. Mr. McKayle was honored at the Kennedy Center and presented with a medal as a Master of African American Choreography. Other awards include the Martha Hill Lifetime Achievement Award, Living Legend award, and the American Dance Legacy Institute’s Distinguished and Innovative Leadership Award. He has served on the faculties of numerous international forums and prestigious national institutions. As a cherished teacher and mentor at the University of California, Irvine, this year, in honor of Mr. McKayle’s extra – ordinary contributions to dance, a scholarship fund was created in his name, a bronze star was placed in the UCI Walk of Fame and a Gala Tribute Concert was held featuring his works performed by major dance companies from around the United States. Mr. McKayle has received honorary Doctorates from Cornish College of the Arts, California Institute of the Arts and the Juillard School. His autobiography, Transcending Boundaries: My Dancing Life and a television documentary of his life and works, “Heartbeats of a Dance Maker”, are valuable testaments to his insightful contribution to the world. Mr. McKayle continues to inspire young and professional artists with his passion and dedication to the art of dance. WATCH THE COMMENCEMENT SPEECH (Minute 25:00 to 30:00) or read the transcript below.

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SCPA Featured by Cox 4 Salute to Education

Evelyn Sparks, Deja Fields, and Sophia Oberg perform on the Lyceum stage.

Evelyn Sparks, Deja Fields, and Sophia Oberg perform on the Lyceum stage.

IN THE NEWS: The San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts was  created in 1979 to educate young people in the Arts.  It has grown into a school that fulfills students’ desires to pursue their artistic dreams while also preparing them for their academic future.  Students recently paired up with professionals to stage a production of “Suds: The Rockin’ 60s Musical Soap Opera” at downtown San Diego’s Lyceum Theater. Watch video from Cox 4 San Diego’s Salute to Education»

SCPA Jazz Ensemble Live on 88.3

SCPA students will be playing live on KSDS 88.3 on May 20 from 8-9:30pm.

SCPA students will be playing live on KSDS 88.3 on May 20 from 8-9:30pm.

Please be sure to tune into 88.3 on the radio or online on May 20 from 8:00-9:30pm.  Our Jazz Ensemble will be performing live with guest artist Bobby Watson!  If you would like to see the event live, please come to the Seville Theater at San Diego City College.  Tickets are $15 at the door.  See more information about Jazz Live below.

In the Spirit of Swing,

John Reynolds, Music Department Chair

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San Diego students learning from him perform his work at Spring Dance Concert

UT San Diego
By: Marcia Manna

Dance-choreographer Donald McKayle. His work is featured in "In Motion" 2014 Spring Dance Concert.

Dance-choreographer Donald McKayle. His work is featured in “In Motion” 2014 Spring Dance Concert.

When choreographer Donald McKayle looks back on a career that has spanned more than half a century, there are no regrets, only a sense of accomplishment and the drive to witness the continuation of his legacy.

“The Rainbow Suite,” derived from his 1959 masterwork, “Rainbow Round My Shoulder,” and performed by student dancers from The San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA), opens Thursday at the Lyceum Theatre downtown.

The dance is part of the “In Motion 2014 Spring Dance Concert” featuring works by five choreographers.

“I’ve tried to develop ideas that really affect me,” McKayle, 83, said by phone from an Orange County nursing home where he is recovering from surgery to remove a benign brain tumor.

“There are many facets to my career, and I’m very pleased.”

One of the most versatile African-American choreographers of the postwar era, McKayle has created award-winning dance for Broadway, television and film.

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A Future Built on Ballet

Rodelyne Estrada has been dancing since age 5 and plans to continue her studies after she graduates high school. — Hayne Palmour IV

Rodelyne Estrada has been dancing since age 5 and plans to continue her studies after she graduates high school. — Hayne Palmour IV

But starting Wednesday, the 18-year-old will transform into one of the most wicked storybook characters of all time: Cinderella’s Stepmother.

Estrada, also known as Ro, is performing the role in San Diego Civic Youth Ballet’s production of “Cinderella.” The show opens to student audiences on Wednesday and continues with public performances in Balboa Park through April 6.

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SCPA Roars into Downtown

The San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts is pleased to announce that the final three shows of the 2013-2014 school year will be performed downtown at the Lyceum Theater. Thanks to the generous contributions of the Horton Plaza Theater Foundation, students will have the opportunity to perform in the Lyceum in downtown San Diego’s Horton Plaza. Tickets for the shows can be purchased online through

The SCPA will be performing at the Lyceum Theatre downtown from May 1-11, 2014.

The SCPA will be performing at the Lyceum Theatre downtown from May 1-11, 2014.



SUDS: The Rocking 60s Musical Soap Opera

May 1-4, 2014

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The trio will begin on May 1 when SUDS: The Rocking 60s Musical Soap Opera debuts under the direction of Javier Velasco and Bill Doyle.  Using electric energy and popular tunes of the 60s such as “You Can’t Hurry Love” and “Respect”, Suds takes place in a laundromat where guardian angels teach a young woman lessons about love.

SCPA guest director and choreographer, Javier Velsaco is well-known in the San Diego theater community, where he has created dances for productions at the La Jolla Playhouse, Old Globe, and the San Diego Repertory Theater. The original choreographer of SUDS, he has directed and choreographed many companies of the show.

Bill Doyle has been teaching Drama, Musical Theater, Vocal Arts and Piano for twenty-six years, and at SCPA since 1996. He has directed over 50 theatrical productions and has continued to work professionally in the entertainment industry including his work as musical director for the original production of SUDS in San Diego, New York and Toronto.

Big Band: A Tribute to Sinatra and Bublé

May 6 & 7, 2014

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The next show to take the Lyceum Stage is Big Band: A Tribute to Sinatra and Bublé, starring vocal arts students and jazz musicians under the direction of Andrew Bearden and John Reynolds. This pop music concert will include memorable swingin’ standards such as “Feeling Good” and “Fly Me to the Moon.”

Andrew Beardenan accomplished singer and musician, has a strong presence in the San Diego music scene.  He was a member of the Grossmont Symphony Orchestra and Grossmont Master Chorale before transferring to San Diego State University and graduating with a Bachelors in Music Education.  He is currently the Director for Music at Lakeside Presbyterian and was the Musical Director for San Diego Repertory Theatre’s production of In the Heights in 2013.

Dr. John Reynolds is a highly sought trumpeter in Southern California, adept in performing many styles of music.  John holds a Doctorate in Musical Arts from the University of Southern California as well as degrees from San Diego State University and Point Loma Nazarene University. John performs frequently with his own groups, John Reynolds Jazz Quintet and the Pacific Sound Brass Quintet.

“In Motion”

May 8-11, 2014

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The final show in our trio is the SCPA’s spring dance concert titled “In Motion”.

SCPA dance department is proud to present living legend, Donald McKayle‘s “The Rainbow Suite”, derived from the 1959 classic work, “Rainbow Round My Shoulder”. The SCPA’s young dancers, coached by Mr. McKayle himself, capture the depth of despair and anger always with an ever present glimmer of hope, a signature of McKayle’s works. This piece offers these young dance artists and the audience a visceral experience of a significant historical masterpiece of the American modern dance.

Tong Wang‘s “Wu” can mean “Enlightenment”, “Dance” or “Battle”. Wang has thrust the SCPA’s dancers into the challenging realm of contemporary ballet in an exciting splash of dynamic movement contrasted with meditative stillness. Wang has incorporated movement from five traditional Chinese folk dances and martial arts accompanied by Koto drums. Enjoy the intensity and technical clarity of the SCPA’s dancers in this world premiere.

Jeremy McQueen is a young, promising choreographer who returns to SCPA, his alma mater, to choreograph “RUSH”. McQueen has set a piece inspired by his deep concern about addiction to cigarette smoking and the deep psychological, social and emotional repercussions among young people. His work incorporates personal research and reflections, calling on the dancers to create a community through the process of intensive collaboration.

“How High the Tide”, conceived and choreographed by Erin O’Connor Fetters, tells of the trials and tribulations of the devastation wracked by Hurricane Katrina and the struggles to survive…and to move on. Erin Fetters began teaching at SDSCPA in 1996 and has worked on numerous mainstage productions as both a choreographer and dance director including Grease, Othello, and the King and I.  She has danced in numerous repertory companies and has competed in Irish step dancing at the local, regional, and national levels.

Choreographer Aida Pisciotta Anderson will present her suite of dances, “Today is My Dancing Day,” based upon six pen and ink drawings by musician/artist Roger Alden Anderson.  The music, also composed by Anderson, is inspired by the dance-themed art and features Anderson playing piano and flute with cellist Christian Lopez, guitarist Christopher Demcak, and drummer Clayton Payne. Aida Anderson specializes in teaching modern dance and choreography  at SCPA.  Formerly on the dance faculty at NYU, UC Berkeley and Iowa State, her choreography has been shown in New York, Berkeley, at the American College Dance Festival, The National High School Dance Festival, on tour in Spain, and here in San Diego.

Visual Arts Senior Exhibition

May 2, 2014 from 5-8pm

In addition to the three performances downtown, SCPA visual arts majors will be showcasing their Senior Exhibitions at the historical Gallery 17 in the heart of the NTC Arts & Culture District in Liberty Station.  Formerly barracks that quartered young recruits in 1923, the 2,000 square-foot event space includes a spacious, landscaped plaza. The exhibition, a culmination of the SCPA’s senior art majors high school experience, will include various mediums including photography, painting, and mixed media. The exhibition has been spear-headed by the SCPA teachers Lorie Miles and Tracey Partridge.

Following her graduation from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in 1996 with a degree in photography, Lorie Miles began her professional career as a photo editor for a leading art publisher. She later spent many years in the high tech industry prior to teaching which helped to inspire her vision and project-based based approach to education.

Tracey Partridge has been teaching Fine Art for nine years and began her career at SCPA in 2008. She currently teaches a broad spectrum of foundational, intermediate and advanced high school classes centered around drawing, painting, sculpture, fabrication, digital and mixed media. Tracey has also continued to be a practicing artist and designer and has exhibited her work in several museums and galleries across the country.