Katherine Dunham's Influence On Modern And Jazz Dance

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The legendary dancer Katherine Dunham is one of the most famous African American dancers of all time. Katherine was an artist, educator, anthropologist and activist who transformed the field of the twentieth century-dance. Though, Dunham wasn’t the first African American choreographer she was known as the most successful in bringing African aesthetics to the dance stage and developing her own unique technique. Therefore she is widely considered the founder of black concert dance in the United States and also a major influence on the idioms of both modern and jazz dance. From the 1930s through the 1960s, her company toured the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Asia. She established several schools, including the Katherine Dunham School …show more content…
She then founded the Katherine Dunham dance group which eventually turned into the famous Katherine Dunham Company. She co-directed and danced in Carib Song at the Adelphi Theater in New York in 1945 and produced Bal Negre. The company toured for two decades admired for their smooth and fluent dances by Dunham. On February 18, 1940, “Katherine Dunham and Dance Group” gave a Sunday afternoon recital entitled Tropics and Le Jazz “Hot” at the Windsor Theatre. In his February 19, 1940 review of the concert, New York Times dance critic John Martin called Dunham a “revelation” and her choreography “the nearest thing that has yet been shown hereabouts to the basis of a true Negro dance art” in his (23). She was known for her mastery of body movement. Also, she expended her income through film where she appeared in nine Hollywood movies in several including “Carnival of Rhythm and Start-Spangled Rhythm” (Free to Dance …show more content…
In 1938, she choreographed and produced LagYa in the federal theater in Chicago. The Katherine Dunham dance company performed for the Quadras Society in 1939. In 1941, her first film was released, “Carnival of Rhythm.” One year later, she was the featured dancer in the patriotic film Star Spangled Rhythm and also staged dances for the film, “Pardon My Sarong.” In 1947, The Katherine Dunham Experimental Group presented Caribbean Backgrounds at Howard University in Washington D.C. Last but not least, Dunham was appointed by President Leopold Senghor to the position of adviser for the first World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture. In conclusion, Katherine Dunham and her career are miraculous. Dunham is perhaps the greatest known and most influential creator of black dance. She wanted to make a point that African-American and African-Caribbean styles are interrelated and influential mechanisms of dance in America. Katherine Dunham created the pave way for all

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