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This page is dedicated to Katherine Dunham.


She is related to a favorite bone player, Steve Berry.  I believe Steve is her nephew.


Upon recommendation from Steve and affirmation from another favorite bone player I have yet to experience live, Joseph Bowie, writes, “Katherine Dunham is one of the foremost African dance impresarios in the world today.  When I grew up in St. Louis, I studied percussion with Moi Thiom, master drummer from Senegal.  He and his brothers played for Katherine's dance classes at SUI and I often participated.  In dance, her name is in the elite group of dancers.  FYI”, I came upon the biographies in the following links.  Explore these links further for pictures and additional web searches for more information.



Miss Katherine Dunham was born in Joliet, Illinois in 1909.  She became one of the first African Americans to attend the University of Chicago where she earned bachelor, masters and doctoral degrees in anthropology.  Supported by a Rosenwald Fellowship, she completed groundbreaking work on Caribbean and Brazilian dance anthropology as a new academic discipline.  In 1931, Miss Dunham established her first dance school in Chicago.  She began one of the most successful dance careers in the American and European theater in 1934, which led to leading roles in musicals, operas and cabarets throughout the world.

In the late 1930’ Miss Dunham established her own dance school and touring company in New York City.  The Katherine Dunham Troupe won critical acclaim throughout the 1940s while performing more than 100 original works choreographed by Miss Dunham.  Miss Dunham is also credited with developing one of the most important pedagogues for teaching dance, which is still used throughout the world.  In the late 1930’s, Miss Dunham married one of America’s most highly regarded theatrical designers, Mr. John Pratt, forming a powerful creative team that lasted until his death in the 1960’s.  Throughout her illustrious career as one of the world’s most respected dancers, choreographers and teachers, Miss Dunham used her talents fame and resources to call public attention to social injustices at home and abroad.  A 47-day hunger strike Miss Dunham undertook in 1993, at the age of 82, helped shift public opinion towards America’s relations with Haiti, resulting in the return of Haiti’s first duly-elected president.

In 1967, Miss Dunham joined the faculty of Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, where she helped create a performing arts training center and established a dance anthropology program.  In 1969, Miss Dunham created a community-based arts education program in East St. Louis, called the Katherine Dunham Centers for the Arts and Humanities.  The centers seek to provide Metro East residents with an opportunity to witness and participate in all of the fine, performing and cultural arts.  The centers are the St. Louis Metropolitan region’s only multi-disciplinary arts organizations devoted to the study, appreciation and celebration of diverse cultures.

Miss Dunham’s intellectual, artistic, and humanitarian contributions have earned her many coveted awards over the years, including the Presidential Medal of Arts, the Kennedy Center Honors, French Legion of Honor, Southern Cross of Brazil, Grand Cross of Haiti, NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award, Lincoln Academy Laureate, and the Urban Leagues’ Lifetime Achievement Award.  Miss Dunham was one of 75 women whose lives were celebrated in the book, I Have A Dream.


Born: June 22, 1909
Occupation: choreographer, dancer


Born in Chicago, and raised in Joliet, Illinois, Katherine Dunham did not begin formal dance training until her late teens. In Chicago she studied with Ludmilla Speranzeva and Mark Turbyfill, and danced her first leading role in Ruth Page's ballet "La Guiablesse" in 1933. She attended the University of Chicago on scholarship (B.A., Social Anthropology, 1936), where she was inspired by the work of anthropologists Robert Redfield and Melville Herskovits, who stressed the importance of the survival of African culture and ritual in understanding African-American culture. While in college she taught youngsters' dance classes and gave recitals in a Chicago storefront, calling her student company, founded in 1931, "Ballet Negre." Awarded a Rosenwald Travel Fellowship in 1936 for her combined expertise in dance and anthropology, she departed after graduation for the West Indies (Jamaica, Trinidad, Cuba, Haiti, Martinique) to do field research in anthropology and dance. Combining her two interests, she linked the function and form of Caribbean dance and ritual to their African progenitors.

The West Indian experience changed forever the focus of Dunham's life (eventually she would live in Haiti half of the time and become a priestess in the "vodoun" religion), and caused a profound shift in her career. This initial fieldwork provided the nucleus for future researches and began a lifelong involvement with the people and dance of Haiti. From this Dunham generated her master's thesis (Northwestern University, 1947) and more fieldwork. She lectured widely, published numerous articles, and wrote three books about her observations: JOURNEY TO ACCOMPONG (1946), THE DANCES OF HAITI (her master's thesis, published in 1947), and ISLAND POSSESSED (1969), underscoring how African religions and rituals adapted to the New World.

And, importantly for the development of modern dance, her fieldwork began her investigations into a vocabulary of movement that would form the core of the Katherine Dunham Technique. What Dunham gave modern dance was a coherent lexicon of African and Caribbean styles of movement -- a flexible torso and spine, articulated pelvis and isolation of the limbs, a polyrhythmic strategy of moving -- which she integrated with techniques of ballet and modern dance.

When she returned to Chicago in late 1937, Dunham founded the Negro Dance Group, a company of black artists dedicated to presenting aspects of African-American and African-Caribbean dance. Immediately she began incorporating the dances she had learned into her choreography. Invited in 1937 to be part of a notable New York City concert, "Negro Dance Evening," she premiered "Haitian Suite," excerpted from choreography she was developing for the longer "L'Ag'Ya." In 1937-1938 as dance director of the Negro Unit of the Federal Theatre Project in Chicago, she made dances for "Emperor Jones" and "Run Lil' Chillun," and presented her first version of "L'Ag'Ya" on January 27, 1938. Based on a Martinique folktale (ag'ya is a Martinique fighting dance), "L'Ag'Ya" is a seminal work, displaying Dunham's blend of exciting dance-drama and authentic African-Caribbean material.

Dunham moved her company to New York City in 1939, where she became dance director of the New York Labor Stage, choreographing the labor-union musical "Pins and Needles." Simultaneously she was preparing a new production, "Tropics and Le Jazz Hot: From Haiti to Harlem." It opened February 18, 1939, in what was intended to be a single weekend's concert at the Windsor Theatre in New York City. Its instantaneous success, however, extended the run for ten consecutive weekends and catapulted Dunham into the limelight. In 1940 Dunham and her company appeared in the black Broadway musical, "Cabin in the Sky," staged by George Balanchine, in which Dunham played the sultry siren Georgia Brown -- a character related to Dunham's other seductress, "Woman with a Cigar," from her solo "Shore Excursion" in "Tropics." That same year Dunham married John Pratt, a theatrical designer who worked with her in 1938 at the Chicago Federal Theatre Project, and for the next 47 years, until his death in 1986, Pratt was Dunham's husband and her artistic collaborator.

With "L'Ag'Ya" and "Tropics and Le Jazz Hot: From Haiti to Harlem," Dunham revealed her magical mix of dance and theater -- the essence of "the Dunham touch" -- a savvy combination of authentic Caribbean dance and rhythms with the heady spice of American showbiz. Genuine folk material was presented with lavish costumes, plush settings, and the orchestral arrangements based on Caribbean rhythms and folk music. Dancers moved through fantastical tropical paradises or artistically designed juke joints, while a loose storyline held together a succession of diverse dances. Dunham aptly called her spectacles "revues." She choreographed more than 90 individual dances, and produced five revues, four of which played on Broadway and toured worldwide. Her most critically acclaimed revue was her 1946 "Bal Negre," containing another Dunham dance favorite, "Shango," based directly on "vodoun" ritual.

If her repertory was diverse, it was also coherent. "Tropics and le Jazz Hot: From Haiti to Harlem" incorporated dances from the West Indies as well as from Cuba and Mexico, while the "Le Jazz Hot" section featured early black American social dances, such as the Juba, Cake Walk, Ballin' the Jack, and Strut. The sequencing of dances, the theatrical journey from the tropics to urban black America implied -- in the most entertaining terms -- the ethnographic realities of cultural connections. In her 1943 "Tropical Revue," she recycled material from the 1939 revue and added new dances, such as the balletic "Choros" (based on formal Brazilian quadrilles), and "Rites de Passage," which depicted puberty rituals so explicitly sexual that the dance was banned in Boston.

Beginning in the 1940s, the Katherine Dunham Dance Company appeared on Broadway and toured throughout the United States, Mexico, Latin America, and especially Europe, to enthusiastic reviews. In Europe Dunham was praised as a dancer and choreographer, recognized as a serious anthropologist and scholar, and admired as a glamorous beauty. Among her achievements was her resourcefulness in keeping her company going without any government funding. When short of money between engagements, Dunham and her troupe played in elegant nightclubs, such as Ciro's in Los Angeles. She also supplemented her income through film. Alone, or with her company, she appeared in nine Hollywood movies and in several foreign films between 1941 and 1959, among them CARNIVAL OF RHYTHM (1939), STAR-SPANGLED RHYTHM (1942), STORMY WEATHER (1943), CASBAH (1948), BOOTE E RIPOSTA (1950), and MAMBO (1954).

In 1945 Dunham opened the Dunham School of Dance and Theater (sometimes called the Dunham School of Arts and Research) in Manhattan. Although technique classes were the heart of the school, they were supplemented by courses in humanities, philosophy, languages, aesthetics, drama, and speech. For the next ten years many African-American dances of the next generation studied at her school, then passed on Dunham's technique to their students, situating it in dance mainstream (teachers such as Syvilla Fort, Talley Beatty, Lavinia Williams, Walter Nicks, Hope Clark, Vanoye Aikens, and Carmencita Romero; the Dunham technique has always been taught at the Alvin Ailey studios).

During the 1940s and '50s, Dunham kept up her brand of political activism. Fighting segregation in hotels, restaurants and theaters, she filed lawsuits and made public condemnations. In Hollywood, she refused to sign a lucrative studio contract when the producer said she would have to replace some of her darker-skinned company members. To an enthusiastic but all-white audience in the South, she made an after-performance speech, saying she could never play there again until it was integrated. In São Paulo, Brazil, she brought a discrimination suit against a hotel, eventually prompting the president of Brazil to apologize to her and to pass a law that forbade discrimination in public places. In 1951 Dunham premiered "Southland," an hour-long ballet about lynching, though it was only performed in Chile and Paris.

Toward the end of the 1950s Dunham was forced to regroup, disband, and reform her company, according to the exigencies of her financial and physical health (she suffered from crippling knee problems). Yet she remained undeterred. In 1962 she opened a Broadway production, "Bambouche," featuring 14 dancers, singers, and musicians of the Royal Troupe of Morocco, along with the Dunham Company. The next year she choreographed the Metropolitan Opera's new production of "Aida" -- thereby becoming the Met's first black choreographer. In 1965-1966, she was cultural adviser to the President of Senegal. She attended Senegal's First World Festival of Negro Arts as a representative from the United States.

Moved by the civil rights struggle and outraged by deprivations in the ghettos of East St. Louis, an area she knew from her visiting professorships at Southern Illinois University in the 1960s, Dunham decided to take action. In 1967 she opened the Performing Arts Training Center, a cultural program and school for the neighborhood children and youth, with programs in dance, drama, martial arts, and humanities. Soon thereafter she expanded the programs to include senior citizens. Then in 1977 she opened the Katherine Dunham Museum and Children's Workshop to house her collections of artifacts from her travels and research, as well as archival material from her personal life and professional career.

During the 1980s, Dunham received numerous awards acknowledging her contributions. These include the Albert Schweitzer Music Award for a life devoted to performing arts and service to humanity (1979); a Kennedy Center Honor's Award (1983); the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award (1987); induction into the Hall of Fame of the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. (1987). That same year Dunham directed the reconstruction of several of her works by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and "The Magic of Katherine Dunham opened Ailey's 1987-1988 season.

In February 1992, at the age of 82, Dunham again became the subject of international attention when she began a 47-day fast at her East St. Louis home. Because of her age, her involvement with Haiti, and the respect accorded her as an activist and artist, Dunham became the center of a movement that coalesced to protest the United States' deportations of Haitian boat-refugees fleeing to the U.S. after the military overthrow of Haiti's democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. She agreed to end her fast only after Aristide visited her and personally requested her to stop.

Boldness has characterized Dunham's life and career. And, although she was not alone, Dunham is perhaps the best-known and most influential pioneer of black dance. Her synthesis of scholarship and theatricality demonstrated, incontrovertibly and joyously, that African-American and African-Caribbean styles are related and powerful components of dance in America.
- Sally Sommer

Katherine Dunham has been called the "Matriarch of black dance." Her unprecedented blend of cultural anthropology with the artistic genre of dance in the early 1930's, produced groundbreaking forms of movement, and in the United States, established black dance as an art form in its own right Her professional troupe, formed in the early 1940's, was a first for African Americans, and led the way for future notables of dance the likes of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, and Arthur Mitchell's Dance Theatre of Harlem.

Born June 22, 1909, in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, near Chicago, Dunham enjoyed the security of a middle-class suburban existence for the first four years of her life. Her father, Albert Millard Dunham, was a tailor who had his own business in Chicago. Her mother, Fanny June Guillaume Taylor, who was twenty years older than her husband, was an assistant principal at a city school. Dunham's life changed drastically though, in 1914, when her mother became seriously ill and died, leaving Albert to raise Katherine and her older brother, Albert Jr, alone. Eventually, financial obligations forced Katherine's father to sell the family's home, sacrifice his business, and accept a job as a traveling salesman. 

Over the next few years, Katherine and Albert Jr. stayed with their aunt Lulu Dunham and various relatives in sections of Chicago. They stayed first with cousins Clara Dunham and her 17-year-old daughter. Both were actresses, and lived in an apartment that was also used as a rehearsal space for a black vaudeville show, which they were producing. Later, they moved in with another cousin, who took Katherine to shows at the local theaters, where she delighted in the performances of singers like Bessie Smith, and dancers like the team, Cole and Johnson. These experiences gave Katherine a taste of the entertainment world that she would come to love. 

When Albert Sr., came to collect his children, he brought with him a new wife; a schoolteacher named Annette Poindexter, whom Katherine later described as being, "fiercely loyal," to the Dunham children. In fact, it was an act of anger (one of many), by Albert Sr., toward his children, that ultimately caused Annette to leave her husband. After Albert Jr. departed for school at the University of Chicago, Katherine, weary of her father's rigid and overprotective manner, also moved out to live with her stepmother. 

In 1928, with help from her brother, Dunham moved to Chicago and began classes at the university along with Albert Jr., who was by now, working toward his masters degree. She continued to take dance classes and performed in several productions at the Cube Theatre, a local playhouse, which her brother had helped to establish. There she met choreographer Ruth Page, and ballet dancer Mark Turbyfill, both members of the Chicago Opera Company. Eventually, the three opened a dance studio, calling their students the "Ballet Negre," to distinguish them as black dancers. When a lack of funds closed the school, Dunham continued to study dance with her teacher, Madame Ludmila Speranzeva, whose mentoring led Dunham to dance her first leading part in Page's La Guiablesse in 1933. 

While at school, Dunham attended a lecture on cultural anthropology where she was introduced to the concept of dance as a cultural symbol. The lecturer also mentioned that many present day dances had their origins in Africa. Fascinated, Dunham began to study the anthropological roots of dance, and after receiving the prestigious Rosenwald Foundation Fellowship, took her first field trip to the Caribbean in 1935 to study native dance. The Caribbean nations of Haiti and Jamaica provided Dunham with new insights, as the villagers who began to trust Dunham invited her to join some of their most sacred dance rituals. She would ultimately claim Haiti as her second home and even adopt their Vodum (or Voodoo) religion. 

Returning to the United States in 1936, Dunham brought with her a wealth of ideas for exciting choreography, which she used in her new appointments as dance director for the Negro Federal Theatre Project in 1938, and the New York Labor Stage in 1939. Her marriage in 1939 to Canadian-born, John Pratt, a painter and costume and set designer who was also white, raised some initial controversy. But the couple's obvious devotion to one another (and later, to their adopted daughter, Martinique) disarmed any skepticism from friends and family concerning the interracial marriage, which would endure until Pratt's death in 1986. 

Her production, Le Jazz Hot-From Haiti to Harlem, in 1940, established Dunham as one of the most celebrated dynamic choreographers for African American dancers, and led to her production of Cabin in the Sky, her first Broadway musical. While Dunham provided dynamic choreography for her dancers, Pratt designed spectacular sets and costumes. The Dunham Dancers enjoyed unprecedented worldwide popularity, especially in Europe. 

During the 1940's and 50's, Dunham's School of Dance became the premier training facility for African American dancers by providing instruction in dance described as "arresting," and "highly theatrical." Alumni include entertainer, Eartha Kitt and actor Marlon Brando among others. Meanwhile, Dunham and her troupe continued to gain international acclaim, as they gave encore performances before audiences with standing room only. 

In addition to touring with her troupe throughout the mid 1960's, Dunham answered numerous commissions to choreograph stage, television, and cinema dance performances. She made her last Broadway appearance in Banboche in 1962, the same year that she choreographed Aida for New York City's Metropolitan Opera Company. It was a production whose unorthodox choreography summoned strong, if not mixed reviews. It also brought her an offer to serve as artist-in-residence at Southern Illinois University, where she staged a brilliant production of Charles Gounod's 1859 opera, Faust, after which SIU offered Dunham a permanent position with the university as Visiting Artist in the Fine Arts Division. 

Upon her acceptance, Dunham consented to house her extensive professional memorabilia nearby at SIU's East St. Louis branch. In St. Louis, Dunham was overwhelmed by the destitution of the area's population, which was predominantly black. The obvious signs of anger and hostility among the city’s youth also struck her. Believing dance to be "concerned with the fundamentals of society," Dunham secured funding for the creation of the Performing Arts Training Center, a school designed to offer city youth constructive alternatives to violence. The school opened in 1967, and in 1970, Dunham took 43 children from the school to Washington, D.C. to perform at White House Conference on Children. 

In more recent years, Dunham has enjoyed still more commendations for her outstanding work in the field of dance. She acted as advisor on the First World Festival of Negro Arts, held in Senegal in 1965 and 1966. In 1980, she was the subject of a television special entitled, "Divine Drumbeats: Katherine Dunham and Her People." She received the Kennedy Center Honors Award in 1983, and has also been inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame. In 1989, Dunham was given a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame for the field of Acting and Entertainment. She has also authored numerous books and papers, which chronicle her experiences as she explored the connection of culture to dance. 

Today and always, THE BLACK COLLEGIAN Online wishes Ms. Dunham the best life has to offer, and thanks her for sharing her celebrated best with us. 

Katherine Dunham (dancer/choreographer)
New York's Carnegie Hall was filled to capacity on the night of January 15, 1979, when Katharine Dunham was presented with that year's Albert Schweitzer Music Award "for a life's work dedicated to music and devoted to humanity." The night was billed as "A Katharine Dunham Gala," and three generations of Katherine Dunham dancers and musicians performed some of the works of the dancer, choreographer, and scholar who revolutionized American dance by going to the anthropological roots of black dance and ritual and transforming them into a significant artistic choreography that spoke to all.

This pioneer in the use of folk and ethnic choreography, considered one of the founders of the anthropological dance movement, is a woman who understood dance, with its roots, images, and implications. Through it, she showed the world that African American heritage is beautiful.

She has been called a "hip-sweeping anthropologist," "a scholar and serious lecturer of note," "the hottest thing to hit Chicago since Mrs. O'Leary's cow kicked the bucket," and "an authoritative interpreter of primitive dance rhythm." She made her debut as a dance on Broadway in the 1930s, sporting a birdcage on her head and a cigar in her mouth--but for a reason. Such accouterments are standard for the ladies who circulate around Caribbean ports, which her anthropology studies had taught her.

As a child, Katie, as she was called, was quite a success in dance recitals at school in Joliet, Ill., which was a predominantly white community where her father ran a dry cleaning establishment. Se never thought about a career in dance. She followed her family's wish that she become a teacher and majored in anthropology at the University of Chicago. But she continued dancing as a student of Ludmilla Speranzeva, formerly of the Moscow Theater, Mark Turbyfill and Ruth Page. During this period, Dunham founded a company called, alternately Ballet Negre and the Negro Dance Group, which developed into the famous Katharine Dunham Dance Company.

After her first public appearance with her group at the Chicago Beaux Arts Theater in A Negro Rhapsody, and with the Chicago Opera Company, she applied for and received a fellowship from the Julius Rosenwald Fund to study anthropology and dancing in the Caribbean.

She lived for a time among the isolated people on Jamaica. As the people came to know her, they let her see their most secret rites, like the Myal dance, based on the belief that the dead come back to life. Dunham wrote some scholarly essays during her trip and sold lighter magazine articles about the Caribbean under the name of K. Dunn. Much later, she was to write her autobiography, A Touch of Innocence (1959).

In the late 1930s, she abandoned scholarship for dancing. She went to New York to coach the dancers in the Labor Stage production of Pins and Needles and, on the side, presented a series of Sunday afternoon concerts.

She first appeared on the New York stage semi-professionally at the Windsor Theater in January 1938 in Tropics and Le Jazz Hot. She appeared at the Martin Beck Theater in October 1940 as Georgia Brown in Cabin in the Sky, for which she also arranged the choreography. She then toured the United States and Canada in Tropical Revue. She co-directed and danced in Carib Song at the Adelphi Theater in New York in 1945, and was producer, director, and star of Bal Negre at the Belasco Theater in New York in 1946.

Her first appearance in London was at the Prince of Wales Theatre in June 1948 with her own company in Caribbean Rhapsody, which was already a success in the United States, and with which she was to tour Europe. It was the first time Europe had seen black dance as an art form and also the first time that the special elements of American modern dance appeared outside America.

Dunham continued to dance, choreograph and direct on Broadway with such productions as Katharine Dunham and Her Company and Bamboche. The latter was in 1962, after a seven-year absence from New York. The tree-act revue first introduced to America the dancers of Morocco, who appeared by permission of King Hassan II.

With Aida in 1963, Dunham continued to secure her place in artistic history by becoming the first black to choreograph for the Metropolitan Opera. Dunham first appeared in films in 1940 in Carnival of Rhythm. Her other film credits include Cabin in the Sky, Star Spangled Rhythm, Stormy Weather, Casbah. She also did the choreography for Pardon My Sarong.

Except for a brief appearance in 1965, Dunham has not performed regularly since 1962 and has concentrated on her choreography. One of her major works was the choreographing and directing of Scott Joplin's opera Treemonisha in 1972.

She dissolved her company in 1965 to become advisor to the cultural ministry of Senegal, returning to the Untied States in 1967. She left the conventional dance world of New York that year to live and work in East St. Louis at an inner-city branch of the Southern Illinois University, running a school attached to the University and working with neighborhood and youth groups.

The living Dunham tradition has persisted. She was a woman far ahead of her time. She considers her technique "a way of life." The classes at her Manhattan school, attended by many artists, including Marlon Brando and Eartha Kitt, during the 1940s and the 1950s, were noted for their liberating influence.

Her master of body movement was considered "phenomenal." She was hailed for her smooth and fluent choreography and dominated a stage with what has been described as "an unmitigating radiant force providing beauty with a feminine touch full of variety and nuance."

just ONE BOOK about Katherine Dunham:
Dancing a Life by Joyce Aschenbrenner

Throughout the better part of the twentieth century and in performance halls, classrooms, and communities throughout the world, the well-spring of Katherine Dunham's remarkable career can be traced to the intersection of dance, culture, and society.

More than a recounting of Dunham's accomplishments as a dancer and choreographer, this biography is the first to thoroughly examine her pioneering contributions to dance anthropology and her commitment to humanizing society through the arts.

Founder of the first self-supporting African American dance company; Dunham relied on her fieldwork as an anthropologist to fundamentally change modern dance. She shaped new dance techniques and introduced other cultures to U.S. and European audiences by fusing Caribbean and African-based movement with ballet and modern dance. Her revolutionary approaches to dance and its greater connection to the world have influenced a generation of dancers, theatrical performers, and scholars. She believes that dancing involves the development of an entire person and the rituals and traditions of dance are integral to the study of culture. Throughout her career she has been a living model of the socially responsible artist working to whet cultural appetites and combat social injustice.

Building on Dunham's own published memoirs--A Touch of Innocence and Island Possessed--Joyce Aschenbrenner's multifaceted portrait blends personal observations based on her own interactions with Dunham, archival documents, and interviews with Dunham's colleagues, students, and members of the Katherine Dunham Dance Company.

Integrating these sources, Aschenbrenner characterizes the social, familial, and cultural environment of Dunham's upbringing and the intellectual and artistic community she embraced at the University of Chicago that laid the groundwork for her development as a dancer, anthropologist, and humanitarian. The book vividly depicts Dunham's and her dancers' touring experiences and includes detailed descriptions of her community cultural and educational programs in East St. Louis.

Joyce Aschenbrenner, professor emerita of anthropology at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, is the author of Katherine Dunham: Reflections on the Social and Political Contexts of Afro-American Dance and Lifelines: Black Families in Chicago. She is coeditor of The Processes of Urbanism: A Multidisciplinary Approach and acting curator and education coordinator of the Katherine Dunham Museum.







Wednesday, March 12, 2003
For Immediate Release
Leisure Services Department
Contact: Stephanie Fosse
Telephone: 229-6713

Modern Dance Icon Katherine Dunham Conducts Lecture/Demonstration

Katherine Dunham redesigned the art of modern dance in the 1930s by introducing elements from African and Caribbean folk cultures. She discusses her technique at the West Las Vegas Arts Center, 947 West Lake Mead Blvd., on Saturday, March 29; at 3 p.m. Admission is free.

Accompanying Dunham are Keith Williams and Arthur Moore from her Center for the Performing Arts at Southern Illinois University with featured performances by the West Las Vegas Performance Dance Ensemble. A panel discussion with women representing various levels of education and performing arts leadership will follow Dunham’s lecture/demonstration.

Katherine Dunham has been a dancer, choreographer, anthropologist, teacher and writer. She has performed in original theatrical revues and motion pictures and has received numerous awards, including the Kennedy Center Honors and Scripps American Dance Festival.

The Cultural Affairs Division of the city of Las Vegas Department of Leisure Services presents the program. Call (702) 229-4800 for information.