Katherine Dunham Biography
(One of the Most Successful Dancers of the 20th Century)
Birthday: June 22, 1909 (Cancer)
Born In: Glen Ellyn, Illinois, United States
Katherine Dunham, an American dancer and choreographer, was a trendsetter in African-American modern dance. She performed a confluence of both the cultures and combined classical American ballet with African rhythms to create an exciting new dance style. After losing her mother at a young age and going through a series of challenges in her personal life, she finally found freedom in college. With a keen interest in dance and literature from an early age, she delightfully accepted the fellowship to study the dances of the Caribbean Islands, where she spent 18 months. Upon her return, she completed her graduation and then decided to pursue a career in dance. She formed a dance troupe and performed on various platforms including Broadway musicals and movies. She also continued refining and teaching her techniques to transmit that knowledge to the next generation of students. She was also a social activist and continued to fight against racism and injustice all around the world throughout her life. She once refused to hold a show after finding out that the city's black residents had not been allowed to buy tickets for the performance. She was a groundbreaking visionary and her legacy of spirited dance, cultural acceptance, and social justice lives on.