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Randy Duncan

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Information about Randy Duncan

Profile image of Randy Duncan

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Choreographer
Dancer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Lasagna
Favorite Time of Year:
December
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Acapulco, Mexico
Favorite Quote:
Just Do It.

Birthplace

Born:
12/14/1958
Birth Location:
Chicago, Illinois

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Choreographer
Dancer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Lasagna
Favorite Time of Year:
December
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Acapulco, Mexico
Favorite Quote:
Just Do It.

Birthplace

Born:
12/14/1958
Birth Location:
Chicago
See how Randy Duncan is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Renowned choreographer and dancer Randy Louis Duncan was born on December 14, 1958 in Chicago, Illinois. Growing up and attending public schools on Chicago’s west side, Duncan’s career began at age fifteen with the Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theatre. Duncan later began formal dance studies with Geraldine Johnson, followed by classes at the Sammy Dyer School of Theater, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and Illinois State University. Duncan credits Harriet Ross and Joseph Holmes with much of his inspiration.

Drawing upon ballet, jazz dance, and modern dance for his choreography, Duncan created works that have been performed by numerous dance companies including the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, River North Dance Company and Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago as well as companies in Seattle and Tel Aviv. In 1987, Duncan choreographed for the first all-African American cast of A Chorus Line. Duncan’s musical theater credits include Guys and Girls, Street Dreams, West Side Story, Carousel, Hello Dolly, and Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope. He has taught and judged dance competitions throughout North America, Europe and the Middle East. Duncan’s classes in jazz dance have taken him to Mexico, England, France, Amsterdam, and Israel.

Duncan has been a three-time recipient of Chicago’s prestigious Ruth Page Award for Outstanding Choreographer of the Year (1988, 1990, and 1992). In 1994, Duncan won the Jazz Dance World Congress Award. He regularly serves on panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council, Arts Midwest and the Illinois Arts Alliance. Other awards include the 1999 Artistic Achievement Award from the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters, and the 2000 Black Theater Alliance Award for Best Choreography.

An avid supporter of HIV/AIDS causes, Duncan has donated his time and choreography to Dance for Life, creating world premieres for Chicago’s largest dance benefit for HIV/AIDS. His television ballet, Urban Transfer, was produced and distributed nationwide by PBS-TV’s WTTW. Duncan’s first major motion picture by Paramount Pictures, Save the Last Dance, earned him a nomination for the American Choreography Award for dance on film.

Duncan was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 15, 2006.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Randy Duncan's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Randy Duncan lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Randy Duncan describes his mother's family background, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Randy Duncan lists his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Randy Duncan describes his mother's family background, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Randy Duncan describes his father's family background, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Randy Duncan talks about reuniting with his paternal family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Randy Duncan describes his maternal grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Randy Duncan recalls Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.'s visits to Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Randy Duncan describes his maternal grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Randy Duncan describes his father's ancestry
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Randy Duncan talks about his maternal great-grandmother
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Randy Duncan describes his neighborhoods in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Randy Duncan describes his father's family background, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Randy Duncan describes his parents and how he takes after his mother
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Randy Duncan describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Randy Duncan describes his early interest in gymnastics and dance
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Randy Duncan remembers his audition for a production of 'West Side Story'
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Randy Duncan describes his early interests
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Randy Duncan describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Randy Duncan describes his education in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Randy Duncan describes his extracurricular activities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Randy Duncan remembers Joseph Medill Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Randy Duncan remembers Austin High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Randy Duncan describes the All-City High School Theatrical Troupe, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Randy Duncan describes the All-City High School Theatrical Troupe, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Randy Duncan remembers Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Randy Duncan describes the history of the Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theatre
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Randy Duncan talks about the influence of dance teacher Harriet Ross
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Randy Duncan remembers dancing for the Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theatre
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Randy Duncan recalls becoming the artistic director of Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theatre, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Randy Duncan recalls becoming the artistic director of Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theatre, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Randy Duncan describes his and Joseph Holmes' dance styles
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Randy Duncan describes Harriet Ross' role at the Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theatre
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Randy Duncan describes his career after leaving the Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theatre
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Randy Duncan describes his ballet, 'A Tri-Fling'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Randy Duncan recalls the Joffrey Ballet's move to Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Randy Duncan describes his choreography for the Joffrey Ballet
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Randy Duncan lists the dance companies with whom he worked
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Randy Duncan describes his influences as a choreographer
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Randy Duncan recalls the Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theatre's tour in Israel
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Randy Duncan describes his international dance tours
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Randy Duncan remembers his work on the film 'Save the Last Dance,' pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Randy Duncan remembers his work on the film 'Save the Last Dance,' pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Randy Duncan talks about dance instruction and choreography
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Randy Duncan describes his ballet, 'Ida/A Day in the Life of Ida B. Wells'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Randy Duncan describes the ballets created for dance companies in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Randy Duncan reflects upon his life, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Randy Duncan describes his choreographic process
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Randy Duncan reflects upon his life, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Randy Duncan reflects upon the changes in professional dance
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Randy Duncan describes how he would like to be remembered