Dianne “Lady Di” Walker, a pioneer in tap dancing’s resurgence, has a 40 year career spanning Broadway, Television, Film and 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 performed in both the original Paris Production of Black and Blue as well as the Broadway Production, where she was a featured dancer, dance captain and assistant to the directors. Film credits include the movie Tap, the PBS special, Great Performances: Tap Dance in America, JUBA! (WTTW), and Songs Unwritten. Dianne has been dubbed the “Ella Fitzgerald” of Tap Dance.
For two years, Dianne directed the Tap Program at Jacobs Pillow and is presently Artistic Advisor to the Program. Holding a Master’s degree in Education, Dianne has taught at numerous universities including Harvard, MIT, Wesleyan, Bates, UCLA, and Williams College. Dianne is a participant on many educational task forces and 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 (NYC), The Hoofers Award (NYC), The Gregory Hines Humanitarian Award (Los Angeles), and was the 2008 USA Rose Fellow. Most recently, Dianne received the prestigious Dance Magazine Award, presented at the Alvin Ailey School in New York, adding to a long line of awards and lifetime tributes recognizing her contribution to the art form and excellence in teaching. Grant awards include The National Endowment for the Arts, Massachusetts Cultural Council, Jacobs Pillow, The New England Foundation for the Arts, and American Masterpieces Program.
Dianne has been generously mentored by many musicians and Tap dance legends throughout her career, notably Leon Collins and Jimmy Slyde. Dianne has worked with Savion Glover, Jimmy Slyde, Buster Brown, Gregory Hines, Honi Coles, Cholly Atkins, Tina Pratt, Barry Harris, Max Roach, Alan Dawson, Major Holley, Ruth Brown, Nicholas Brothers, Peg Leg Bates, Arthur Duncan, and many others. Leon Collins passed away in l985, leaving Dianne to continue as one of the Directors of his school in Boston. It is with a great sense of pride that she continues to share this rich legacy with her students.