Happy Birthday, Katherine Dunham!

0 Posted by - December 14, 2017 - BLACK ART, BLACK WOMEN


Katherine Dunham was a dancer, choreographer, author, educator, and social activist. Dunham had one of the most successful dance careers in American and European theater of the 20th century. She directed her own dance company for many years and has also been called the “matriarch and queen mother of black dance.”

During her heyday in the 1940s and 1950s, Dunham was renowned throughout Europe, Latin America and the United States, where the Washington Post called her “Dancer Katherine the Great.” For almost 30 years, she maintained the Katherine Dunham Dance Company, the only self-supported American black dance troupe at that time. Over her long career, she choreographed more than 90 individual dances. Dunham was an innovator in African-American modern dance as well as a leader in the field of dance anthropology, or ethnochoreology.

In 2006, Katherine Dunham died in her sleep in New York City from natural causes. She was 96 years old.

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