Katherine Dunham

Dancer, Author

1909 – 2006

73

Who was Katherine Dunham?

Katherine Dunham was an American 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, and directed her own dance company for many years. She has been called the "matriarch and queen mother of black dance".

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

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Born
Jun 22, 1909
Glen Ellyn
Also known as
  • La Grande Katherine
  • Katterine Dunham
  • Katherine Mary Dunham
  • Katherine the Great
Parents
Siblings
Spouses
Children
Ethnicity
  • African American
Nationality
  • United States of America
Profession
Education
  • Bachelor's degree, University of Chicago
    Social anthropology
    ( - 1936)
  • Joliet Junior College
Lived in
  • St. Louis
  • Joliet
Died
May 21, 2006
New York City

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

Citation

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"Katherine Dunham." Biographies.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 25 Jun 2022. <https://www.biographies.net/people/en/katherine_dunham>.

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