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Thursday, April 30, 2009

La Grande Katherine

In honor of National Dance week I am highlighting one of the dance world's greats Katherine Dunham. She is known as the "Matriarch of Black Dance." Her dance career thrived during the 40's, 50's, and 60's. Her study of Dance and Anthropology in places like Haiti, Jamaica and Martinique gave birth to a sub-major in Anthropology called "Dance Anthropology." From this study she became known for the Dunham technique which was a dance style that mixed African drum beats with ballet and modern dance. During her career Ms. Dunham made many breakthrough performances, and wowed crowds from Chicago to Europe.  She was also an Author. You may enjoy her book Kaiso! It is part autobiographical, part anthropological, and part historical.  Ms. Dunham lived a long life. She transitioned in 2006 at the age of 96. 

Here is a sample of her beautiful dance artistry in the movie Stormy Weather with Lena Horne.


Dori said...

I love Stormy Weather and Katherine Dunham was incredible. I love what she brought to the world. I remember the first time I saw this movie, I was just enthralled to see these beautiful dancers on the screen.

shiborigirl said...

Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing this...


Unknown said...

beautiful performance. i just adore dance!
she lived a very long life, and i can't help but think it had something to do with all that movement, energy, blood circulating, etc.

Afro Heroine said...

I love that she mixes all these dance styles to create something entirely unique. Beautiful!

I had no idea who she was before I read your post, thx for my daily dose of intelligence :)