Katherine Dunham Research Paper

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Katherine Dunham was a revolutionary African American anthropologist, choreographer and dancer of the twentieth century. Dunham was born on June 22, to an African American father and a French Canadian mother in Chicago 1909. In her early life, Dunham pursued and earned her bachelor, master and doctoral degrees in anthropology while pursuing dance as a topic of interest at the University of Chicago. She originally attended college at the request of her family, whom persuaded her into a teaching career. She later, became the first African American women to attend and earn these degrees at the school. During her time at the University of Chicago, Dunham began research into the dances of the Caribbean, which would later prove to be a heavy inspiration…show more content…
Dunham’s choreographic method combined Caribbean cultural forms with ballet and modern dance practices and proved to have a profound but rarely acknowledged influence on twentieth century dance. Through her dance technique, which stressed the isolation of individual parts of the body, as well as her choreography, teaching, and appearances in different media, Dunham brought African and Caribbean dance to the attention of the public and exerted tremendous influence on the evolution of modern dance. She established and ran the Katherine Dunham Dance Company, the earliest self-supporting predominantly black dance company and one of the first modern dance troupes to achieve international success. In 1965, she accepted a position as adviser to the cultural ministry of Senegal. Then in 1967, she became director of the Performing Arts Training Center at the East St. Louis branch of Southern Illinois University, where she worked with inner-city youth groups. Throughout her lifelong anthological studies and dance performances, Dunham has shown to be responsible for the exposure and establishment of dance as a cultural topic of anthological
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