Video: Timeline News

The importance of Katherine Dunham

"Barrelhouse" with Katherine Dunham, c.1950s

“Barrelhouse” with Katherine Dunham, c.1950s. Photo: Southern Illinois University

Miss Dunham has been influential to many Swing & Blues dancers today. The video above and links below will get you started understanding why, and maybe she’ll inspire you too!

You dance because you have to. Dance is an essential part of life that has always been with me.”

Dunham was one of the first American artists to focus on black dance and dancers as prime material for the stage. She burst into public consciousness in the 1940’s, at a time when opportunities were increasing for black performers in mainstream theater and film, at least temporarily. But there was little middle ground there between the exotic and the demeaning everyday stereotypes.

How Katherine Dunham Revealed Black Dance to the World, New York Times

Read More
Timeline of her life via The Katherine Dunham Collection at the Library of Congress
See Timeline
Barrelhouse Blues (pictured on right)
Choreography by Katherine Dunham, 1938
Watch Dance Video


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