Tap Program | Artistic Advisor
Dianne “Lady Di” Walker, a pioneer in tap dancing’s resurgence, has a 40 year career spanning Broadway, television, film, international jazz concerts, and tap festivals. Savion Glover and his contemporaries affectionately call her, “Aunt Dianne”, acknowledging her unique role as mentor, teacher, and confidante.
Dianne has been dubbed the “Ella Fitzgerald” of Tap Dance (Chicago) and “America’s First Lady of Tap” (Boston). Film credits include: Tap (Gregory Hines), PBS Great Performances: Tap Dance in America (Featuring Gregory Hines), JUBA!, and Songs Unwritten, to name a few. One of her most memorable gigs was performing with Gregory and Jimmy Slyde at the Montreal International Jazz Festival.
Walker is also considered the griot, the holder of the classical black rhythm canon, bestowed on her when she worked as a principal dancer in the Paris production of Black and Blue. Walker was also assistant choreographer in the Broadway production of the same show, still considered the quintessential black-rhythm tap musical of the century. Walker is the 2012 recipient of the Dance Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award. A protege of Leon Collins, Walker is known for her elegant, fluid style; both delicate and rhythmically complex. She is well known in the Berkshires from the 1997-98 Jazz /Tap Community Residency Project, teaching Pillow workshops to Pittsfield Public School students and teachers, and performing at Jacob’s Pillow in 1996, 2001, and 2005. She directed The School’s first Tap Program in 2010, its second in 2012, and continues to nurture and guide tap artists in the Berkshires and at the Pillow at every opportunity. Walker is presently Artistic Advisor to the Tap Program.
Holding a master’s degree in education, Walker has taught at numerous universities including Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Wesleyan University, Bates College, University of California Los Angeles, and Williams College. As a participant on many dance and education task forces, she sits on numerous boards throughout the dance community. In 1998, Dianne received the Living Treasure in American Dance Award from Oklahoma City University, The Flo- Bert Award, Dance Magazine Award, The Gregory Hines Humanitarian Award (L.A. Tap Fest). In 2008, as a Rose Fellow, she received the distinguished title of “United States Artist”. She received a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to her at the Big Apple Tap Festival in New York, adding to a long line of awards and lifetime tributes recognizing her contribution to the art form and excellence in teaching. She will be inducted into the International Tap Dance Hall of Fame in New York City this summer.
In addition to teaching and performing worldwide, she is the Director of TapDancin, Inc. and continues to collaborate with schools in Boston, Minnesota, Michigan, and Tokyo, Japan. She is currently writing a book while compiling her life’s work in digital form.