The Westchester Arts Council presentedCarol Walker, Dean of the Conservatory of Dance in the School of the Arts at Purchase College, the Arts Award at a luncheon April 6 at the Rye Town Hilton. The award, which has been presented for 29 years, recognizes individuals and organizations whose vision, commitment and leadership enrich Westchester, its communities and its citizens. This is the Arts Councilâ€™s most prestigious award. Ms. Walker, of Tarrytown, NY, received the award for education.
As Dean of the Conservatory of Dance since 1984, Carol K. Walker has overseen a preeminent Conservatory program, which has launched numerous careers in dance. Conservatory of Dance alumni are on stage at almost every concert in New York City, and perform on Broadway, in international companies, as free-lance choreographers, and have founded their own companies. Of her program, the New York Times said, â€œFor a number of years, the Conservatory of Dance at the College at Purchase has turned out more than its fair share of the most interesting and skillful professional dancers working in New York City.â€
Ms. Walker has established student exchange programs with stellar professional training institutions in Australia, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, London and Taipei. The Purchase Dance Corps has been invited to and performed in France, Holland, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Beijing and Germany, often as the sole representative of the United States.
She served on the New York State Council for the Arts as chair of the Dance Panel for three years, is a Board member of the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries, is on the Professional Advisory Committee for the Dance Notation Bureau, is a member of the World Dance Alliance, Dance USA, National Association of Schools of Dance, and represents Purchase College at the Council of Dance Administrators. In 2002 she received the SUNY Chancellorâ€™s Award in recognition of her contributions.
She holds a bachelorâ€™s degree from Barat College, and trained in Chicago with Phyllis Sabold and Eric Braun; in Colorado with Hanya Holm and Harriett Ann Grey; in New York with Alwin Nikolais and at the Graham Studio. Prior to being named Dean, she ran the Theatre and Dance Program at Barat College in Illinois and founded, directed and taught at her own dance studio for 13 years. Prior to that, she enjoyed a career as a modern dancer, teacher and performer in musical theatre and video.