‘Maya Angelou Artist-in-Residence’ Debbie Allen at Wake Forest

Wake Forest University’s inaugural Maya Angelou Artist-in-Residence Award winner Debbie Allen will participate in a conversation about her life and career in Wait Chapel on Sunday, Nov. 12 at 4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Wake Forest Professor of Dance Nina Lucas and Monet Beatty, owner of Monet Beatty Dance Company in Winston-Salem, will moderate the discussion.

The Maya Angelou Artist-in-Residence Award honors world-renowned artists who reflect Maya Angelou’s passions for creating, performing and teaching and celebrates exceptional artists for combining achievement in the arts and a commitment to improving the human condition. Angelou was Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest from 1982 to 2014.

Media are welcome to attend the conversation in Wait Chapel. Photography and video are limited to first three minutes.

As artist-in-residence, Allen’s engagement with students will include teaching a ballet class, participating in a roundtable discussion with students, and critiquing the dress rehearsal of Wake Forest’s Fall Faculty and Guest Artist Dance Concert that opens Nov. 16.

Allen has earned six Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe, five NAACP Image Awards, a Drama Desk Award, and the first Astaire Award (for Best Dancer). She holds five honorary degrees, has been an artist-in-residence at the Kennedy Center for more than 15 years and was named a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2020. 

In 2001, she was appointed by President George W. Bush to represent the United States as a Cultural Ambassador of Dance. That same year, she opened the nonprofit Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles, where she currently teaches young dancers.

As an actress, Allen is best known for her role as Lydia Grant in the 1980s hit series Fame, In 2011, she began playing Dr. Catherine Avery in the ABC medical drama Grey’s Anatomy.

Allen is also the author of the children’s books “Dancing in the Wings” and “Brothers of the Knight.”

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