The teachers who are the most influential in his career are:
Janice Gudde Plastino, PH.D, who as his first teacher was the most influenctial in my becoming a dancer. First at Harbor Jr. College and then at UC Irvine, she gave me encouragement to try and said to me that if I "worked hard for 10 years I could make it."
Donald McKayle, who as a mentor exemplified the highest ideals as a teacher, choreographer and human being. Donald has given thousands of dancers their 'rite of passage.' I count myself as one of those.
Jaime Rogers who exhibited a sublime talent and above all a true love of dance. His legendary classes in L.A. were my 'finishing school.'
The great Eugene Loring who once said that "dance is difficult but your committment to dance IS your security." Through this ever winding road that is the dance career, I carried his words close to my heart and it gave me strength and a trust that giving one's all would bring light and fulfillment. A magical world are what his words brought.
Les Watanabe & Martina Young in Donald McKayle's
Rainbow Round MY Shoulder
Inner City Cultural Center Co. L.A.
Janice Gudde Plastino & Les
UC Irvine - 1993
Poster of Donald McKayle & Carmen Delavallade in Rainbow Round My Shoulder.
Restaged by Les Watanabe for Univ. of Arizona.
"Fine artists including Leslie Watanabe, Stephanie Powell, Amy Sennet Starnar and Randall Smith have years of experience re-staging Mr. McKayle's works both nationally and internationally."
- Requests for choreographic works (restaged). Donald McKayle.
Les Watanabe & Eugene Loring in rehearsal. UC Irvine. 1968. Photographer: Unknown
Donald McKayle & Jaime Rogers
after an L.A. Jazz Com performance. L.A.
Photographer: Les Watanabe
Jaime Rogers teaching men's class. L.A. 1980. Photographer: Diane Schroeder.