Posts tagged "katherine dunham"

The brilliant dancer, choreographer and activist, Katherine Dunham (1909-2006), performing her work, “Afrique,” circa 1962. Ms. Dunham formed Ballet Nègre, one of the first black ballet companies in the United States in 1930 and, along with African dance, studied dances from Jamaica, Trinidad and Haiti as a part of her anthropological fieldwork. She studied at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology in 1936. Photo: Roger Wood, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

Eartha Kitt in 1948 as a Katherine Dunham dancer performing in Street scene, part of Motivos, choreographed by Ms. Dunham. Ms. Kitt began her illustrious career as a dancer with Ms. Dunham’s company after a serendipitous encounter outside of a theater. A pretty young woman walked up to her and asked her directions to Max Factor’s makeup shop. Ms. Kitt said, “But you are so pretty. Why would you want to wear makeup?” When the woman replied that she was sent to buy the makeup for Katherine Dunham, Ms. Kitt made a deal with her: “Tell me how to meet Katherine Dunham and I’ll give you directions to the makeup shop!” And the rest, of course, is history. Photo: Roger Wood, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

Katherine Dunham, circa 1940s. Ms. Dunham formed Ballet Nègre, one of the first black ballet companies in America in 1930, long before she was famous. She once said of her work, “I admit that a strong sociological purpose motivates my work and that there is a real drive in my purpose to present good looking, talented, clean, healthy-minded and healthy bodied young American Negroes in a repertoire of dance mimes and sketches.” Photo: Corbis.

Katherine Dunham, circa 1940s. Ms. Dunham formed Ballet Nègre, one of the first black ballet companies in America in 1930, long before she was famous. She once said of her work, “I admit that a strong sociological purpose motivates my work and that there is a real drive in my purpose to present good looking, talented, clean, healthy-minded and healthy bodied young American Negroes in a repertoire of dance mimes and sketches.” Photo: Corbis.

Dance icon Katherine Dunham with two of her dancers and actor and singer Tony Martin in the 1948 film, “Casbah.” The film was about a group of jewel thieves led by Mr. Martin’s “Pepe Le Moko” in Algiers. Bonus trivia: Mr. Martin was married to the legendary dancer Cyd Charrisse for 60 years and none other than Eartha Kitt made her film debut here - she was one of Ms. Dunham’s dancers. Photo: Missouri Historical Society via The Library of Congress.

Dance icon Katherine Dunham smiles at the legendary shoe designer Salvatore Ferragamo as she tries on a few pairs of his shoes in Florence in 1950. Photo: David Lees/Corbis.

Dance icon Katherine Dunham smiles at the legendary shoe designer Salvatore Ferragamo as she tries on a few pairs of his shoes in Florence in 1950. Photo: David Lees/Corbis.

Who’s ready to hit the beach? This trio of Katherine Dunham dancers (Jacqueline Walcott, Frances Taylor and Lou Camacho) are dancing on the beach in Copenhagen after a day of rehearsals in 1952. This photo appeared in the August 7, 1952 issue of Jet. 

Who’s ready to hit the beach? This trio of Katherine Dunham dancers (Jacqueline Walcott, Frances Taylor and Lou Camacho) are dancing on the beach in Copenhagen after a day of rehearsals in 1952. This photo appeared in the August 7, 1952 issue of Jet. 

Katherine Dunham with a bouquet of roses, 1940s. Photo via Corbis.