Walter Rutledge, is a native of New York City.
He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance degree from Temple University and received dance and drama scholarships from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, Philadelphia Dance Company, Maria Piscator Foundation and Harkness House for Ballet Arts.
A Jerome Foundation scholarship allowed him to study advanced choreography at the Dance Theatre of Harlem, resulting in the premiere of his piece at the Roundhouse Theatre in London in 1987.
Walter performed with both the Harkness Dance Theatre (youth company) and the Harkness Ballet in New York in the early 80s. He was also the school administrator and company manager/lighting designer for the Far East tour of the Harkness Ballet.
In 1983, Walter became Ballet Master, Associate Artistic Director and Choreographer in Residence with the Nanette Bearden Contemporary Dance Theatre (NBCDT). During his tenure he choreographed over twenty-five ballets.
Walter relocated to Charleston, South Carolina, in 1993, where he founded STARRS (Satellite Teaching of the Arts to Regional and Rural Students) to give dance and theater opportunities to youth in the “low country” (the coastal region south of Charleston, including the Sea Islands). Over the next five years, STARRS established training sites statewide, with over 2000 students.
Walter was also primary dance instructor at Benedict College and Artistic Director of its Harold Odom Dance Theatre (HODT). In 1996, he co-conceived and choreographed a gospel musical, Bible Stories, using dancers from HODT.
Returning to New York in 2000, Walter joined the renowned Boys Choir of Harlem (BCH) as instructor, choreographer, set and lighting designer, stage and production manager. His choreography for BCH premiered in Nagano, Japan, accompanied by a full orchestra conducted by Seiji Osawa.
Walter resumed his roles as Associate Artistic Director and Choreographer in Residence of the Nanette Bearden Contemporary Dance Theatre when it was revived in 2004 by Sheila Rohan, Nanette’s sister. For its inaugural ballet he created On The Block (after Bearden), a work-in- progress inspired by The Block, the six-panel collage by the renowned American artist Romare Bearden.