In August she was awarded a bachelor's degree, a Ph.B., bachelor of philosophy, with her principal area of study being social anthropology. [15] He showed her the connection between dance and social life giving her the momentum to explore a new area of anthropology, which she later termed "Dance Anthropology". theatrical designers john pratt. While a student at the University of Chicago, Dunham also performed as a dancer, ran a dance school, and earned an early bachelor's degree in anthropology. American dancer and choreographer (19092006). Fighting, Alive, Have Faith. The next year, after the US entered World War II, Dunham appeared in the Paramount musical film Star Spangled Rhythm (1942) in a specialty number, "Sharp as a Tack," with Eddie "Rochester" Anderson. Katherine Dunham. Katherine Dunham. "Hoy programa extraordinario y el sbado dos estamos nos ofrece Katherine Dunham,", Constance Valis Hill, "Katherine Dunham's, Anna Kisselgoff, "Katherine Dunham's Legacy, Visible in Youth and Age,". ", Black writer Arthur Todd described her as "one of our national treasures". The Katherine Dunham Company toured throughout North America in the mid-1940s, performing as well in the racially segregated South. Then she traveled to Martinique and to Trinidad and Tobago for short stays, primarily to do an investigation of Shango, the African god who was still considered an important presence in West Indian religious culture. This initiative drew international publicity to the plight of the Haitian boat-people and U.S. discrimination against them. Numerous scholars describe Dunham as pivotal to the fields of Dance Education, Applied Anthropology, Humanistic Anthropology, African Diasporic Anthropology and Liberatory Anthropology. The PATC teaching staff was made up of former members of Dunham's touring company, as well as local residents. Ruth Page had written a scenario and choreographed La Guiablesse ("The Devil Woman"), based on a Martinican folk tale in Lafcadio Hearn's Two Years in the French West Indies. Dunham's dance career first began in Chicago when she joined the Little Theater Company of Harper Avenue. Transforming Anthropology 20, no. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190264871.003.0001, "Dunham Technique: Fall and recovery with body roll", "Katherine Dunham on need for Dunham Technique", "The Negro Problem in a Class Society: 19511960 Brazil", "Katherine Dunham, Dance Icon, Dies at 96", "Candace Award Recipients 19821990, Page 1", "Katherine the Great: 2004 Lifetime Achievement Awardee Katherine Dunham", Katherine Dunham's Dance as Public Anthropology, Katherine Dunham on her anthropological films, Guide to the Photograph Collection on Katherine Dunham, Katherine Dunham's oral history video excerpts, "Katherine Dunham on Overcoming 1940s Racism", Katherine Dunham Centers for Arts and Humanities, Recalling Choreographer and Activist Dunham, "How Katherine Dunham Revealed Black Dance to the World", Katherine Dunham, Dance Pioneer, Dies at 96, "On Stage and Backstage withTalented Katherine Dunham, Master Dance Designer",, American people of French-Canadian descent, 20th-century African-American politicians, Short description is different from Wikidata, Pages using infobox person with multiple spouses, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0, In 1971 she received the Heritage Award from the, In 1983 she was a recipient of one of the highest artistic awards in the United States, the. Dancer, choreographer, composer and songwriter, educated at the University of Chicago. Upon returning to Chicago, the company performed at the Goodman Theater and at the Abraham Lincoln Center. In the summer of 1941, after the national tour of Cabin in the Sky ended, they went to Mexico, where inter-racial marriages were less controversial than in the United States, and engaged in a commitment ceremony on 20 July, which thereafter they gave as the date of their wedding. Example. Luminaries like Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey and Katherine Dunham began to shape and define what this new genre of dance would be. At the time, the South Side of Chicago was experiencing the effects of the Great Migration were Black southerners attempted to escape the Jim Crow South and poverty. While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. Despite these successes, the company frequently ran into periods of financial difficulties, as Dunham was required to support all of the 30 to 40 dancers and musicians. [14] For example, she was highly influenced both by Sapir's viewpoint on culture being made up of rituals, beliefs, customs and artforms, and by Herkovits' and Redfield's studies highlighting links between African and African American cultural expression. Dunham and her company appeared in the Hollywood movie Casbah (1948) with Tony Martin, Yvonne De Carlo, and Peter Lorre, and in the Italian film Botta e Risposta, produced by Dino de Laurentiis. "My job", she said, "is to create a useful legacy. Dunham had one of the most successful dance careers of the 20th century, and directed her own dance company for many years. Dunhams writings, sometimes published under the pseudonym Kaye Dunn, include Katherine Dunhams Journey to Accompong (1946), an account of her anthropological studies in Jamaica; A Touch of Innocence (1959), an autobiography; Island Possessed (1969); and several articles for popular and scholarly journals. VV A. Clark and Sara E. Johnson, editors, Joliet Central High School Yearbook, 1928. Understanding that the fact was due to racial discrimination, she made sure the incident was publicized. He has released six stand-up specials and one album of Christmas songs. Charm Dance from "L'Ag'Ya". Video. As an African American woman, she broke barriers of race and gender, most notably as the founder of an important dance company that toured the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Australia for several decades. However, she did not seriously pursue a career in the profession until she was a student at the University of Chicago. In 1935, Dunham received grants to conduct fieldwork in Trinidad, Jamaica, and Haiti to study Afro-Caribbean dance and other rituals. International dance icon Katherine Dunham (right,) also an anthropologist, founded an art museum in East St. Louis, IL. Other Interesting Katherine Dunham Facts And Trivia 'Come Back To Arizona', a short story Katherine Dunham penned when she was 12 years old, was published in 1921 in volume two of 'The Brownies' Book'. Dunham was born in Chicago on June 22, 1909. Anna Kisselgoff, a dance critic for The New York Times, called Dunham "a major pioneer in Black theatrical dance ahead of her time." - Pic Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images. Keep reading for more such interesting quotes at Kidadl!) Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. [28] Strongly founded in her anthropological research in the Caribbean, Dunham technique introduces rhythm as the backbone of various widely known modern dance principles including contraction and release,[29] groundedness, fall and recover,[30] counterbalance, and many more. In recognition of her stance, President Aristide later awarded her a medal of Haiti's highest honor. The next year the production was repeated with Katherine Dunham in the lead and with students from Dunham's Negro Dance Group in the ensemble. Marlon Brando frequently dropped in to play the bongo drums, and jazz musician Charles Mingus held regular jam sessions with the drummers. There is also a strong emphasis on training dancers in the practices of engaging with polyrhythms by simultaneously moving their upper and lower bodies according to different rhythmic patterns. In 19341936, Dunham performed as a guest artist with the ballet company of the Chicago Opera. Katherine Dunham, it includes photographs highlighting the many dimensions of Dunham's life and work. . 3 (1992): 24. Such visitors included ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax, novelist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston, Robert Redfield, Bronisaw Malinowski, A.R. Dunham, Katherine dnm . Dunham saved the day by arranging for the company to be paid to appear in a German television special, Karibische Rhythmen, after which they returned to the United States. "What Dunham gave modern dance was a coherent lexicon of African and Caribbean styles of movementa flexible torso and spine, articulated pelvis and isolation of the limbs, a polyrhythmic strategy of movingwhich she integrated with techniques of ballet and modern dance." Birth State: Alabama. She . [15], In 1935, Dunham was awarded travel fellowships from the Julius Rosenwald and Guggenheim foundations to conduct ethnographic fieldwork in Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, and Trinidad studying the dance forms of the Caribbean. Katherine Dunham (1909-2006) By Halifu Osumare Katherine Dunham was a world famous dancer, choreographer, author, anthropologist, social activist, and humanitarian. 113 views, 2 likes, 4 loves, 0 comments, 6 shares, Facebook Watch Videos from Institute for Dunham Technique Certification: Fun facts about Julie Belafonte brought to you by IDTC! In this post, she choreographed the Chicago production of Run Li'l Chil'lun, performed at the Goodman Theater. Pratt, who was white, shared Dunham's interests in African-Caribbean cultures and was happy to put his talents in her service. Early in 1947 Dunham choreographed the musical play Windy City, which premiered at the Great Northern Theater in Chicago. This won international acclaim and is now taught as a modern dance style in many dance schools. There she met John Pratt, an artist and designer and they got married in 1941 until his death in 1986. Her work inspired many. Although Dunham was offered another grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to pursue her academic studies, she chose dance. It was not a success, closing after only eight performances. Dunham and Kitt collaborated again in the 1970s in an Equity Production of the musical Peg, based on the Irish play, Peg O' My Heart. Dunham, Katherine Mary (1909-2006) By Das, Joanna Dee. Somewhat later, she assisted him, at considerable risk to her life, when he was persecuted for his progressive policies and sent in exile to Jamaica after a coup d'tat. Dunham was both a popular entertainer and a serious artist intent on tracing the roots of Black culture. As one of her biographers, Joyce Aschenbrenner, wrote: "anthropology became a life-way"[2] for Dunham. Later that year she took her troupe to Mexico, where their performances were so popular that they stayed and performed for more than two months. Gender: Female. In 1939, Dunham's company gave additional performances in Chicago and Cincinnati and then returned to New York. After this well-received performance in 1931, the group was disbanded. She was the first American dancer to present indigenous forms on a concert stage, the first to sustain a black dance company. She created and performed in works for stage, clubs, and Hollywood films; she started a school and a technique that continue to flourish; she fought unstintingly for racial justice. Actress: Star Spangled Rhythm. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, . Cruz Banks, Ojeya. The following year, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson nominated Dunham to be technical cultural advisera sort of cultural ambassadorto the government of Senegal in West Africa. 2023 The HistoryMakers. Over her long career, she choreographed more than ninety individual dances. Example. [13] University of Chicago's anthropology department was fairly new and the students were still encouraged to learn aspects of sociology, distinguishing it from other anthropology departments in the US that focused almost exclusively on non-Western peoples. The Washington Post called her "dancer Katherine the Great." If Cities Could Dance: East St. Louis. At an early age, Dunham became interested in dance. Alvin Ailey, who stated that he first became interested in dance as a professional career after having seen a performance of the Katherine Dunham Company as a young teenager of 14 in Los Angeles, called the Dunham Technique "the closest thing to a unified Afro-American dance existing.". In 1950, while visiting Brazil, Dunham and her group were refused rooms at a first-class hotel in So Paulo, the Hotel Esplanada, frequented by many American businessmen. As Wendy Perron wrote, "Jazz dance, 'fusion,' and the search for our cultural identity all have their antecedents in Dunham's work as a dancer, choreographer, and anthropologist. The program she created runs to this day at the Katherine Dunham Centers for Arts and Humanities, revolutionizing lives with dance and culture. Dunham herself was quietly involved in both the Voodoo and Orisa communities of the Caribbean and the United States, in particular with the Lucumi tradition. The incident was widely discussed in the Brazilian press and became a hot political issue. (She later took a Ph.D. in anthropology.) One recurring theme that I really . She did this for many reasons. Born Katherine Coleman in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia . In 1940, she formed the Katherine Dunham Dance Company, which became the premier facility for training dancers. He had been a promising philosophy professor at Howard University and a protg of Alfred North Whitehead. USA. [21] This style of participant observation research was not yet common within the discipline of anthropology. [6][10] While still a high school student, she opened a private dance school for young black children. In 1964, Dunham settled in East St. Louis, and took up the post of artist-in-residence at Southern Illinois University in nearby Edwardsville. Katherine Dunham. The critics acknowledged the historical research she did on dance in ancient Egypt, but they were not appreciative of her choreography as staged for this production.[25]. In 1987 she received the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award, and was also inducted into the. Deren is now considered to be a pioneer of independent American filmmaking. In 1967 she officially retired, after presenting a final show at the famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. [54] After recovering crucial dance epistemologies relevant to people of the African diaspora during her ethnographic research, she applied anthropological knowledge toward developing her own dance pedagogy (Dunham Technique) that worked to reconcile with the legacy of colonization and racism and correct sociocultural injustices.