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Jazz DanceA History of the Roots and Branches$
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Lindsay Guarino and Wendy Oliver

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813049298

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813049298.001.0001

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Katherine Dunham’s Mark on Jazz Dance

Katherine Dunham’s Mark on Jazz Dance

(p.89) 12 Katherine Dunham’s Mark on Jazz Dance
Jazz Dance

Saroya Corbett

University Press of Florida

Katherine Dunham is revered as one of the great pillars of American dance. Her world-renowned dance company exposed audiences to the diversity of dance from the 1930s-1960s and her New York school brought dance training to a variety of populations. As an anthropologist, her research brought works of performance ethnography to the concert and commercial stage. Dunham’s anthropological emphasis and creative investment in African Diasporan culture and traditions positioned her as an antecedent for the emergence of many dance and music traditions including the evolution of jazz dance. Importantly, in the 13 years of its existence, Dunham’s school in New York aided in the evolution and dissemination of a basic jazz dance vocabulary. Her style of jazz dance, known as “Dunham Jazz” flourished with the evolution of Dunham Technique, and her work as an educator positioned her as a pioneering force in the evolution of jazz dance.

Keywords:   African Diaspora, Concert stage, Dunham Jazz, Dunham Technique, Katherine Dunham, Performance ethnography

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