This Guest Artist link
will feature thoughts, impressions, bits and pieces, rants, remembrances, observations, profiles, memoirs, etc . . . by an artist who has contributed to the Arts scene for decades —and who is still contributing — but who—like a lot of us—has not attained household name status . . . but who has seen, experienced, shared much. . .
and continues to share. . .
"Experience from the experienced ones must be given a platform and shared. Obliteration of experience from the experienced ones should not be tolerated.". . .Anonymous
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I first met Mike McKinley on Facebook.
A home page for former students of the University of Texas had been established (1970 UT classes) and, since I had been on the UT faculty in that period, I was invited to join the UT Exes’ Facebook homepage.
I posted a short piece of happy UT remembrances and Mike, whom I had never met during the UT golden age, was one who responded. We kept corresponding and I discovered that Mike was working on a memoir of his days as a principal dancer in the famed all-male Les Grands Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. Mike graciously let me read some chapters from the memoir in progress: "Blood and Satin: Confessions of a Drag Ballerina."
I was hooked.
The chapters written had charm, wit, passion, energy and chronicled a large chunk of ballet history of one of the world’s most unusual and glorious ballet companies -- from the inside.
I soon realized that Mike would be the perfect artist to launch this new guest artist link.
So here's Guest Artist #1: Mike McKinley,
his bio and photos,
followed by a PDF link to all of
Chapter One of Mike’s memoir-in-progress,
“BLOOD AND SATIN:
CONFESSIONS OF A DRAG BALLERINA"
MIKE ON TOE IN PERFORMANCE
(Mike McKinley, as the White Swan, in the pas de deux from Swan Lake, production of Les Grands Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Japan, circa 1986. Partnering Mike is Shannon Robbins)
HERE’S THE INTRO TO MIKE’S BIO
(IN MIKE'S OWN VOICE)
Former international drag ballerina and principal dancer with Ballet Trockadero, Mike McKinley was once the Toast of the Continent, but now he's just toast. He lives in Austin, TX with his boyfriend, Alfonso Huerta who is an artist (http://www.dosmundos.net), their parrot, Lola, who was born in June of 1995, and their adorable Golden Lab mutt rescue dog, Zala, from the streets of Monterrey, Mexico, who was adopted and brought to Texas in 2007. Mike currently has a day job at UT and dances around town whenever someone needs a scary actor who can sing a high F and do a sissonne fermée.
(Here’s Alfonso Huerta's pen and pencil drawing of Mike and their parrot Zola)
HERE’S MORE OF MIKE’S BIO
Mike McKinley got his first professional job as an apprentice in 1968 at the Houston Music Theatre working with Rita Moreno, Henny Youngman, Regis Philbin, George Gobel and Edward Everett Horton. The following summer, he worked in Los Angeles and painted scenery with a then-unknown Mark Hamill. After finishing Austin High School, Class of 1972, he attended University of Texas (UT)-Austin and was cast in his first dancing role by Igor Youskevitch in a production of Aïda and continued to dance, sing and act in a wide range of musicals, plays and ballets. He studied with Mr. Youskevitch, Barbara Barker and Michael Sokoloff in Austin until he was spotted in a master class given by Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. Six weeks later, he received a job offer from the “Trocks” to replace an injured dancer and within two weeks he had moved to New York City and went on to tour of Latin America. He continued with the Trocks, becoming a principal dancer, touring internationally on every continent but Antarctica and studying with Finis Jhung, Alexandra Danilova, Leon Danielian, and David Howard. Mike also returned to UT and got a Masters in Film and Video Production and won a student "Emmy" for his thesis project. He spent the last six years working with Austin Dance Ensemble where he danced character roles and choreographed extensively. He also guests occasionally with Ballet Austin, works at UT and spends as much time as possible in Mexico.
Mike McKinley, backstage, made up as a Cygnet (little swan)
In Swan Lake. Circa 1979.
READ CHAPTER ONE
OF THE MEMOIR MIKE IS WRITING
read Chapter One on line