Amber Leigh Heaven graduated from Brigham Young University in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in Dance. Before she graduated she was privileged to participate in the Songs of the Disinherited project, a choreographic residency funded by the Laycock Center for Creative Collaboration in the Arts. The project, directed by Dance faculty Pat Debenham, brought Donald McKayle, an internationally celebrated Modern Dance choreographer, to BYU to choreograph and produce Songs of the Disinherited. The dance, which is a reflection of the African diaspora, was later featured on PBS in a documentary about McKayle's life and work and was also performed at the Dance department's Dance in Concert 2012 and on the dance company's tour to India in August 2012.
While Mr. McKayle was on campus he taught a master class to advance Contemporary Dance students and presented the annual Dee Winterton Lecture to the Dance department. His main purpose in coming was to set and rehearse Songs of the Disinherited and he significantly affected both the student group and the faculty members he worked with during the rehearsal time. Students were treated as professionals, not as people studying to become professionals. Mr. McKayle has worked with most of the major choreographers who shaped Contemporary Dance during the 20th century, so the students who worked under his tutelage had the opportunity of a lifetime to be directed by a teacher who changed the face of dance in America.