Passionate and hardworking, Diana “Diane” Dunbar has worn many hats over the course of her career. She started her journey as an elementary and high school teacher in the New York City Public School District. During more than a decade in the field, she served New York City Public School 106, P.S. 94 Kings College School, Hospital Schools, P.S. 401 Christopher Avenue Community School, and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Outside of the district, some of Ms. Dunbar’s other academic engagements included teacher consultant at the University of Pennsylvania in India, teacher and video consultant for Youth Can, and adjunct professor with Indrani Rahman at New York University.
Although Ms. Dunbar stepped down from teaching in 2009, she remains professionally active in other ways. She has been a dancer with Classical East Indian Dances for 33 years, as well as an independent dancer and choreographer specializing in a wide variety of styles. Some of these include modern dance, world folk dance, ballroom dance, jazz, hip-hop, tap, Caribbean dance, Afro-Haitian dance, creative dance, and contemporary dance. Over the years, Ms. Dunbar has showcased her talents in shows like the musical “Shakespeare and Mr. Porter” at the Medicine Show Theatre, the musical “Bound to Rise,” and the Classical East Indian Dances exhibition at the La Mama Art Galleria. She was also the author, storyteller, and dancer of “Lavinia Williams: The Dancer,” an actress in “Hernando DeSoto Conquistador of Spain,” and an actress in Stephen Sondheim’s Company at the College of Charleston. Ms. Dunbar immortalized these performances and many others through Eric & Company Video, of which she was the co-president from 1983 to 2006. The recordings are now part of the collections at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
To prepare for her endeavors, Ms. Dunbar earned a Bachelor of Arts in fine arts from the College of Charleston and a Master of Arts in creative arts from New York University, in addition to certification from the New York City Board of Education, certification in teaching English for grades seven through 12, and permanent certification in special education from the state of New York. She also studied classical East Indian dance with Indrani Rahman, Vija Vetra, Arundhati, and Uttara Coorlawala at New York University, modern dance, choreography, and pre-classic dance with Mary Anthony, dance with Anna Sokolow, Daniel Maloney, James Curtin, and Ed Hicks, and dance and dance history at New York University. Furthermore, she garnered hands-on professional experience as a legislative intern on Capitol Hill.
Ms. Dunbar’s success has not gone unnoticed. She was notably named to the Wall of Tolerance by the Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama in 2003 and was the recipient of the Teacher Award from the Children’s Creative Writing Fund in 2000 and the Sangam Award from Classical East Indian Dances in 1990. That same year, she was named an outstanding dancer/performer by the Yancey Dance Theatre, which is part of The New York Times Company.
When Ms. Dunbar isn’t working, she enjoys writing and volunteering for environmental activist groups, animal rescues, and other important causes. She has been the founding sponsor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial since 2006, a member of Albert’s Garden since 2006, a member of the leadership council of the Southern Poverty Law Center since 2003, and a volunteer with Save and Preserve Community Gardens and Parks since 1997.