FORA.tv Speaker - Katherine Dunham

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Biography

(June 22, 1909 – May 21, 2006) An anthropologist, author, educator, song writer, dancer, choreographer and activist. Dunham worked as an anthropologist studying ethnographic dance in the Caribbean, predominantly Haiti, where she even became a mambo (priestess) in the Vaudon (Voodoo) religion. Her entrenched studies not only spearheaded a new idea of "dance anthropology" in academia but also launched Dunham into her future as a political activist in the States as well as the Caribbean. Her life and studies abroad profoundly shaped her career as a choreographer. Her dance company, Katherine Dunham Dance Company, introduced authentic African moment to the concert stage connecting her dancers with their African heritage as well as codifying a new dance technique, known as the Dunham Technique, which trains the body to express the unique principles of the African-Caribbean diaspora. She founded the Dunham School for Arts and Research in 1946, wrote many books, appeared in various hollywood films, and performed on Broadway. Her life transformed modern dance, expanded the anthropological field of research, broke down immense walls of racism in the United States as well as abroad and paved the road for a new generation of professional black dancers.

Katherine Dunham-Timeline

1 Program

Katherine Dunham on Overcoming 1940s Racism

06.26.02 | 00:03:15 min | 0 comments