Katherine Dunham – Pioneer of Black Dance

CarolRhoda Books, 2000
Library Binding: 978-1-5750-5353-0
Grade Level 5-8

Katherine Dunham:
Pioneer of Black Dance

Available in library binding

At the age of four, Katherine was enthralled by the dancers and actors of the theater and daily life of its people. Deciding to focus her life’s work on the origins of African dance, Katherine began a journey to learn how dances are tied to the culture of Africa. Through outreach programs, dancing on stage, and teaching Katherine has used her passion for African dance to educate and help hundreds of people, regardless of race or social status.

Signed books are available from Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, NC.


Katherine Dunham: My Love for Dance

A Katherine Dunham Sampler


School Library Journal
School Library Journal Janet Woodward, Garfield High School, Seattle, WA
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Grade 5-8-Drawing on Dunham's own autobiographical writings, O'Connor details the life and achievements of this noted African-American dancer, choreographer, and teacher. The author recounts the dancer's difficult family situation and the racism she faced growing up in Illinois. She also discusses Dunham's desire to understand the roots of African dance and the fieldwork she did in Haiti. The book concludes with mention of Dunham's fast at the age of 82 to protest the U.S. government's treatment of Haitians attempting to enter the country. Throughout the accessible text, the performer's contributions and struggles are clearly portrayed. Attractive black-and-white photographs appear on almost every page.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
BooklistCarolyn Phelan
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Katherine Dunham was one of the first choreographers to explore her African American roots and express them through dance. She grew up in Illinois, studied anthropology at the University of Chicago, made field studies of black cultures of the Caribbean, toured in her own dance company, and choreographed pieces for stage, screen, and college productions. Dunham and her husband traveled extensively and lived for a time in Haiti, but they eventually settled in East St. Louis, where she incorporated the community's young people into her vision of arts training and expression. O'Connor opens a door for readers to see not only Dunham as a person but also presents the challenges facing her as a black woman of energy and vision making her own way in mid-twentieth century America. Black-and-white photographs illustrate the text. A solid entry in the Trailblazer Biography series.
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