|Birth: ||Jun. 22, 1909|
|Death: ||May 21, 2006|
Dancer. She was well known for bringing African and Caribbean influences into the European-dominated dance world. Born in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, she was a success in dance recitals at school in Joliet, Illinois, where her father ran a dry cleaning establishment. She never thought about a career in dance, instead, she followed her family's wishes that she become a teacher. As an anthropology student at the University of Chicago in 1935, she took her first trip to Haiti on a fellowship to study Caribbean culture and dance. The experience encouraged her, who was paying for college by giving dance lessons, to go into dance full time. During her career, she choreographed "Aida" in 1963 becoming the first African American to choreograph for the Metropolitan Opera. She also did choreography work for such musicals as "Cabin in the Sky". She appeared in several films including "Stormy Weather" in 1943 with Lena Horne and Bill Robinson and "Carnival of Rhythm". She was also influential to such entertainers as Harry Belafonte and Eartha Kitt. A passionate civil rights activist, she refused to perform at segregated theaters. Katherine Dunham was honored numerous times during her career, with such distinguishable awards as The Presidential Medal of the Arts at the Kennedy Center Honors, The Albert Schweitzer Prize at New York's Carnegie Hall on January 15, 1979, as well as awards from Brazil and Haiti. She passed away at a Manhattan, New York City, New York assisted-living facility. (bio by: C.S.)
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Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: C.S.
Record added: May 23, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 14363780
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