Katherine Dunham Career

Timeline created by BaylieMacRae
  • Begins School/Training

    Begins School/Training
  • Ballet Nègre

  • Opens First Dance School

    Also the Negro Dance Group in Chicago
  • Dances the leading role La Guiablesse

  • Arrives in Whitehall, Jamaica to study the dances of the West Indies

  • Dunham arrives in Haiti

  • Dunham returns to the United States

  • Receives a Ph.B.

    (bachelor of philosophy degree) from the University of Chicago
    - major field of study is recorded as social anthropology.
  • Dunham Performs with Company

  • Performs in Chicago

  • Biguine

  • Lotus Eaters

  • Tropics

    Tropics
    Also Known As: Tropics -- Shore Excursion.
    Premiere Venue: Abraham Lincoln Center.
    Premiere City: Chicago.
  • Tropics

    Performed at the Goodman Theater in Chicago.
  • A las Montanas

    Dunham choreographson e of her first solos, and dances it at the Abraham Lincoln Center in Chicago.
  • Barrel house

    Barrel house
  • Cakewalk

    Premiere Venue: Premiere Venue
    Premiere City: Chigaco
  • Island Song

    Premiere Venue: Goodman Theatre. Premiere City: Chigaco.
  • Le Jazz "Hot"

    Premiere Venue: Goodman Theatre. Premiere City: Chigaco.
  • Mexican Rumba (From Rumba Symphony)

    Premiere Venue: Goodman Theatre.
    Premiere City: Chigaco.
  • Peruvienne

    Premiere Venue: Goodman Theatre.
    Premiere City: Chicago.
  • L'Ag'Ya,

    L'Ag'Ya,
    Dunham choreographs and produces her first full-length ballet, January at the Federal Theater, Chicago.
  • Barrelhouse, Son (Sound), Primitive Rhythms.

  • Featured in Film Carnival of Rhythm

    Dunham begins her film career with Carnival of Rhythm, a short film written by Stanley Martin, directed by Jean Negulesco, and produced by Warner Brothers is devoted entirely to her, her company, and her choreography.
  • Tropics and Le Jazz "Hot"

    Tropics and Le Jazz "Hot"
    Katherine Dunham and Dance Company perform Tropics and Le Jazz "Hot" in the College Inn Panther Room at the Hotel Sherman in Chicago.
  • Bahiana

    Dunham choreographs Bahiana, which premieres at a concert at the University of Cincinnati. Set to music by Don Alfonso, it concerns a woman of Bahia, Brazil, who dances and sings as she becomes entwined in the ropes of a group of dockside rope weavers at work. This number would become one of Dunham's most celebrated characterizations and would remain in her repertory throughout the 1940s.
  • Published in Esquire

    Published under the pseudonym Kaye Dunn and the heading "Sketchbook of a Young Dancer in La Martinique," two articles by Dunham appear in Esquire: "La Boule Blanche" (September 1939) and "L'Ag'ya of Martinique" (November 1939).
  • Choreographs on Broadway

    Dunham begins work on Broadway. She is invited to contribute new material to the popular musical revue Pins and Needles, produced by the International Ladies Garment Workers' Union Players. For the second edition, entitled Pins and Needles 1940, she creates a dance to music by Harold Rome for "Bertha, the Sewing Machine Girl, or It's Better with a Union Man." Archie Savage is among the dancers.
  • Bahiana (Brazil)

    Premiere Venue: University of Cincinnati
    Premiere City: Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Windsor Theater Perfomances

    Dunham books her own company into the theater for a Sunday performance, which is so popular that the company repeats the Sunday performances for another ten weeks. These concerts, billed as Tropics and Le Jazz "Hot," consist of dances based on Latin American and Caribbean sources (Island Song, Tropic-Shore Excursion, and Woman with a Cigar) and dances based on African-American sources (Br'er Rabbit an' de Tah Baby, Flaming Youth, 1927, and Floyd's Guitar Blues ).
  • Hotel Sherman Performance in Chicago

    The Dunham Company opens the nightclub at the Hotel Sherman in Chicago with a repertory that includes the Polynesian-influenced Rara Tonga, Barrelhouse , Bre'r Rabbit an' de Tah Baby, Cakewalk, and Woman with a Cigar. George Balanchine and Vernon Duke see a performance and invite Dunham and her company to come to New York to perform in a new Broadway show.
  • Plantation Dances

    Premiere Venue: Windsor Theatre.
    Premiere City: New York.
  • Cabin in the Sky

    Cabin in the Sky
    Dunham collaborates with Balanchine on choreography for dances in the musical play Cabin in the Sky. The show opens at the Martin Beck Theater in October 1940 and runs until March 1941, playing 156 performances.
  • Rites de Passage

    Dunham premieres Rites de Passage at the Curran Theater in San Francisco.
  • Congo Fran

    Premiere Venue: Curran Theatre
    Premiere City: San Francisco
  • Rhumba with a Little Jazz Mixed In

    Premiere Venue: Curran Theatre.
    Premiere City: San Francisco.
  • Rhumba Suite

    Premiere Venue: Curran Theatre.
    Premiere City: San Francisco.
  • United States tour

    Dunham and her company of dancers and musicians embark on their first United States tour in the Broadway production of Cabin in the Sky. Dunham and her company of dancers and musicians embark on their first United States tour in the Broadway production of Cabin in the Sky.
  • Honky-Tonk Train

    Premiere Venue: Curran Theatre. Premiere City: San Francisco.
  • Star Spangled Rhythm (Film)

    Contracted to be a featured dancer in the patriotic film Star Spangled Rhythm, Dunham choreographs and appears in a solo number, "Sharp as a Tack," with music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by Johnny Mercer.
  • Pardon My Sarong - stages dances

    Pardon My Sarong - stages dances
    Dunham stages dances for the film Pardon My Sarong, a comedy starring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. Neither she nor members of her company appear in the film.
  • Company Tour

    The original two-week engagement is extended by popular demand into a three-month run. After eighty-seven performances on Broadway, the company takes the show on a national tour.
  • Stormy Weather

    Stormy Weather
    Dunham and her company appear in the film Stormy Weather, a show-business story starring Bill Robinson and Lena Horne.
  • Tropical Revue

    Tropical Revue
    Katherine Dunham and her company in Tropical Revue, which opens at New York's Martin Beck Theater. The show is billed as "a musical heatwave … voodoo! Boogie! Shimmy! jazz and jive! primitive rites!" The show opens with lively Latin American and Caribbean dances and, in the second part, a dramatic ballet, such as Rites de Passage or L'Ag'Ya , is featured. The finale usually consists of plantation dances, dances set to Negro spirituals, and American social dances.
  • Strutters' Ball

    Premiere Venue: Forrest Theatre.
    Premiere City: New York.
  • Choros (nos. 1-5)

    Choros (nos. 1-5)
    In January, Dunham premieres Choros (nos. 1-5) at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto. Set to music by Vidaco Gogliano, Choros is a stylized version of a nineteenth-century Brazilian quadrille. Two of the sections (nos. 1 and 4) would later be joined and performed as an independent work.
  • Flaming Youth

    In February, Flaming Youth, 1927 premieres in New Britain, Connecticut.
  • Callete

    Also Known As "Sh -- Be Quiet"
    Premiere Venue: Alexandra Theatre
    Premiere City: Tronto, Canada
  • Flaming Youth, 1927

    Also Known As Juventude Apasionada. Premiere City: New Britain, Connecticut
  • Para Que Tu Veas

    Premiere Venue: Royal Alexandra Theatre.
    Premiere City: Toronto, Canada.
  • Choro

    Choro
    Premiere Venue: Royal Alexandra Theatre
    Premiere City: Toronto, Ontario
  • Company Performances

    Dunham and her company appear in such clubs as Chez Paree in Chicago, El Rancho Hotel and the Trocadero in Las Vegas, and Ciro's in Hollywood.
  • Carib Song

    Dunham choreographs, directs, and stars in the musical play Carib Song, which opens in September at the Adelphi Theater in New York. The finale to the first act is Shango , a staged interpretation of a Vodun ritual that would become a permanent part of her company's repertory.
  • Shango -- Ritual and Dance

  • "Goombay"

    Dunham's article "Goombay," a memoir of her visit to the Maroon people of Jamaica, appears in the November issue of Mademoiselle.
  • Nañigo and La Camparsa

    Dunham premieres Nañigo and La Camparsa, as numbers in the suite Motivos, at the Temple Theater in Portland, Oregon. A choreographic interplay among a group of male practitioners of an Afro-Cuban religious cult. A soloist represents ancient Yoruba dance tradition, while the other dancers perform modern variations. La Camparsa, centers on a lone woman, wandering the streets in the early-morning hours after Carnival, who encounters three men, one of whom she believes may be her husband.
  • Katherine Dunham School of Arts and Research

    Its components are the Dunham School of Dance and Theater, the Department of Cultural Studies, and the Institute for Caribbean Research. Teachers in the Dance Division include Todd Bolender (ballet), Marie Bryant (tap and boogie), and José Limón (modern dance). Dunham Technique is taught by Tommy Gomez, Archie Savage, Lavinia Williams, and Syvilla Fort, who also teaches ballet.
  • Publishes Journey to Accompong

    Dunham's first book is published: Journey to Accompong (New York: Henry Holt, 1946; reprint, Westport, Conn.: Negro Universities Press, 1971). It recounts her experiences among the Maroon people of Jamaica in 1935-1936.
  • Bal Nègre

    Bal Nègre
    In December, after a nine-month tour, Bal Nègre opens at New York's Belasco Theater. It receives glowing reviews.
    Bal Nègre attracts attention from European producers, which leads to the company's first European tour and results in an invitation by Doris Duke, the tobacco heiress, to appear in Mexico under a contract with Teatro Americano.
  • Bal Negre

    Bal Negre
    Premiere City: New York
  • Nostalgia

    Also Known As Nostalgie.
    Premiere Venue: Temple Theatre.
    Premiere City: Portland, Oregon.
  • Caribbean Backgrounds

    The Katherine Dunham Experimental Group presents Caribbean Backgrounds at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
  • Windy City

    Dunham choreographs the musical play Windy City, which premieres at the Great Northern Theater in Chicago. The show concerns the character and vitality of the people of Chicago and is said to have influenced Jerome Robbins's choreography for West Side Story.
  • Publishes "Dances of Haiti"

    Dunham's thesis written for the University of Chicago in 1937, is translated into Spanish by Javier Romero and published as Las danzas de Haití as a special issue of Acta antropológica 2.4 (Mexico, 1947). It will subsequently be published in French as Les danse d'Haïti, (Paris: Éditions Fasquelle, 1950), and in English as Dances of Haiti (Center for Afro-American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, 1983).
  • Rhumba Trio

    Rhumba Trio is premiered at Mexico's Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes.
  • C'est lui

    Premiere Venue: Martinique Club
    Premiere City: New York
  • Rhumba Trio

    Premiere Venue: Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes.
    Premiere City: Mexico City.
  • Bal Nègre

    Bal Nègre plays at the Geary Theater in San Francisco.
  • Angelique, Blues Trio, and Veracuzana

    Dunham choreographs Angelique, Blues Trio, and Veracuzana for engagements at Ciro's nightclub in Hollywood. Veracruzana will be included in later revues and will become one of Dunham's most popular numbers.
  • Casbah (Film)

    Dunham and her company appear in the film Casbah, a romantic tale of jewel thieves in Algiers starring Yvonne de Carlo, Tony Martin, and Peter Lorre. Dunham (uncredited) appears as Odette; Eartha Kitt appears as herself. Dunham choreographs and stages two scenes: the Ramadan Festival and the Casbah Nightclub.
  • London Tour

    Dunham appears with her company in London at the Prince of Wales Theatre in A Caribbean Rhapsody, a music and dance revue. Theater critic David Lewin notes that "A first-night audience was bewildered, enthralled, wildly enthusiastic about a new-type musical which exhilarates with its speed and animal primitiveness" and observed that Dunham "scored the greatest hit since Danny Kaye" (Daily Express, 6 May 1948).
  • "The State of Cults among the Deprived,"

    Dunham delivers an address, "The State of Cults among the Deprived," to the Royal Anthropological Society in London.
  • Blues

    Also Known As Floyd's Guitar Blues
    Premiere City Hollywood
  • Ragtime

    Premiere Venue: Ciro's.
    Premiere City: Hollywood.
  • Company Performs in Brussels

    Dunham and her company perform at the Alhambra Theater in Brussels.
  • premieres Jazz in Five Movements

    Dunham premieres Jazz in Five Movements at the Théâtre National de l'Opéra in Paris. One of the dances on the program, Tango, is later performed as an independent work.
  • Botta e risposta (Film)

    Dunham and her company appear in the Italian film Botta e risposta. Louis Armstrong, Fernandel, and Isa Miranda are also featured. Two numbers from the Dunham repertory, Batucada and a segment of Jazz in Five Movements, are included.
  • Afrique

    Dunham choreographs Afrique and a new version of Adeus Terras while in Rome.
  • Afrique

    Premiere city: Rome
  • Jazz in Five Movements

    Premiere Venue: Théàtre National. Premiere City: Paris.
  • New York City Performance

    Sol Hurok presents Katherine Dunham and Her Company in a dance revue in three parts, a prologue, and ten scenes at the Broadway Theater in New York. The opening-night program includes Afrique, Choros , Adeus Terras, Batucada , Veracruzana, Flaming Youth, Barrelhouse , Jazz in Five Movements, and L'Ag'Ya . Afrique and Barrelhouse are subsequently dropped, and Rites des Passage and Shango are substituted. The show closes after thirty-eight performances.
  • South America Tour

    Dunham and her company tour South America, Europe, and North Africa (1951-1953).
  • Southland

    Against advice, Dunham premieres her ballet Southland at the Teatro Municipal in Santiago, Chile. Its story centers on the lynching of a black man falsely accused of raping a white girl in the American South, and Dunham's dramatic treatment of it is shocking. Under pressure from the U.S. embassy, which objects to the negative picture of American society it gives to foreign audiences, the ballet is removed from the program.
  • Frevo

    Premiere City: Paris.
  • named a chevalier

    Dunham is named a chevalier of the Haitian Légion d'Honneur et Merite.
  • "Afternoon into Night"

    Dunham's short story "Afternoon into Night" appears in Bandwagon (June 1952). It is later reprinted in Best Short Stories by Negro Writers, edited by Langston Hughes (Boston: Little, Brown, 1967)
  • Denmark Performance

    Dunham and her company perform in Denmark to high critical acclaim. Aftenbladet (12 July) claimed that the performance was a gift to Copenhageners, "the richest and most varied theater evening offered us in a long time."
  • Acaraje for Hommage à Dorival Caymmi

    Dunham choreographs and performs in Acaraje for Hommage à Dorival Caymmi in Arachon, France.
  • Barcelona Performance

    Dunham and her company perform at the Windsor Palace in Barcelona
  • Begins North America Tour

    Dunham and her company tour North Africa (1952-1953).
  • Afrique du Nord

    Dunham choreographs Afrique du Nord, which she and her company perform at the Cave Supper Club in Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • Cover of Ballet magazine

    A photograph of Dunham appears on the front cover of Ballet magazine (March 1952).
  • Tour of U.S. and Mexico

    Dunham and her company tour the United States and Mexico.
  • Dora

    Premiere Venue: Cave Supper Club. Premiere City: Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Honey in Honeycomb

    Premiere Venue: Cave Supper Club. Premiere City: Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Tour Europe and South America

    Dunham and her company tour Europe and South America (1954-1955).
  • Mambo (Film)

    Mambo (Film)
    Dunham and her company appear in two European films. Mambo, an Italian film starring Silvana Mangano, includes rare footage of the company in classroom demonstrations of Dunham Technique.
  • Die Grosse Starparade (Film)

    Die Grosse Starparade, a German film also known as Liebessender, includes three numbers from the Dunham repertory: Choros (nos.1 and 4), Shango , and Tropics.
  • Tour Mexico

    Tour Mexico
    Dunham and her company tour Mexico.
  • Música en la noche (Film)

    Along with Carmen Amaya and her flamenco dancers, Dunham and her company appear in the Mexican film Música en la noche. The Dunham Company dances Dora and Cakewalk. The film is released in the United States in 1958.
  • Los Angeles Performance

    Dunham and her company perform in the Greek Theater, Los Angeles.
  • Sol Hurok presents Katherine Dunham and Her Company

    Sol Hurok presents Katherine Dunham and Her Company in a dance revue in three acts and twelve scenes (i.e., Caribbean Rhapsody) at the Broadway Theater, New York. Dance critic Walter Terry writes, "Miss Dunham presents one of the handsomest productions you are likely to see in these parts" (New York Herald Tribune, 23 November 1955). Terry singles out three numbers for special praise: Veracruzana, Rituals (i.e., Rites of Passage), and Barrelhouse. The show closes after thirty-two performances.
  • Floyd's Guitar Blues

    Floyd's Guitar Blues
    Premiere Venue: Ciro's. Premiere City: Hollywood.
  • Jazz Finale

    Premiere Venue: Ciro's. Premiere City: Hollywood.
  • Carnival Dances

    Premiere Venue: Broadway Theatre
    Premiere City: New York
  • Tour Australia and New Zealand

    Dunham and her company tour Australia and New Zealand (1956-1957).
  • Tour East Asia

    Dunham and her company tour East Asia.
  • Green Mansions (Film)

    Dunham provides choreography for the film Green Mansions, starring Audrey Hepburn and Anthony Perkins. Neither she nor her company appears in the film, which was released in 1959.
  • "A Touch of Innocence: Memoirs of Childhood"

    Dunham's third book is published: A Touch of Innocence: Memoirs of Childhood (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1959; reprint, University of Chicago Press, 1994). In a note to the reader she says that "this book is not an autobiography. It is the story of a world that has vanished. . . . And it is the story of a family that I knew very well, and especially of a girl and a young woman whom I rediscovered while writing about the members of this family."
  • Third European Tour

    Dunham and her company embark on their third major European tour, which takes them to Denmark, Germany, France, Greece, and other countries.
  • Karibische Rhythmen (Television)

    The Dunham Company's third European tour ends in Vienna. Because of bad management by their impresario, the company is stranded without money. To raise funds, Dunham quickly negotiates contracts for television shows and a club date.
    Dunham and her company appear in a German television special, Karibische Rhythmen . It includes Afrique, Rhumba Trio, Samba, Choros (nos. 1 and 4), Floyd's Guitar Blues , Strutters' Ball, and Cakewalk .
  • The Dunham Company disbands

    The Dunham Company disbands. Dunham will assemble pick-up companies for later special events, but 1960 effectively marks the end of the continuous history of a company of dancers trained by her in Dunham Technique and coached by her to perform Dunham choreography.
  • Last appearance on Broadway

    Katherine Dunham, a few former Dunham dancers, and the Royal Troupe of Morocco appear in a new revue, Bamboche!, at New York's 54th Street Theater. (The title is a Haitian term for "a get-together to have a good time.") After eight performances, the show closes. It is Dunham's last appearance on Broadway.
  • Bamboche!

    Bamboche!
  • Anabacoa

    Dunham choreographs Anabacoa for an engagement at Club Antilles in the Hotel Chalfonte–Haddon Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
  • Aida

    Dunham choreographs a new production of Aida for the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
  • Anabacoa

    Premiere Venue: Haddon Hall
    Premiere City: Chalfonte
  • "The Crime of Pablo Martínez"

    Dunham's short story "The Crime of Pablo Martínez" appears in Ellery Queen's Magazine.
  • The Bible (Film)

    Dunham provides choreography for the film The Bible, directed by John Huston and produced by Dino de Laurentiis. Dance sequences in two scenes, the Festival and the Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, are conceived, choreographed, and staged by her. Neither she nor any of her dancers appears in the film.
  • Artist-in-residence at Southern Illinois University

    Artist-in-residence at Southern Illinois University
    Dunham becomes artist-in-residence at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
  • Stages Charles Gounod's opera Faust

    In February, Dunham stages Charles Gounod's opera Faust at Southern Illinois University, changing the scene to World War II Germany. Her dramatic interpretive dances include students playing basketball with a skull, bodies hanging from wires, and the devil (Mephistopheles) roaring across the stage on a motorcycle. After two performances on the Carbondale campus, the production is repeated at Monticello College in Alton, Illinois.
  • New York performance

    Katherine Dunham reassembles some of her dancers for a New York performance on the occasion of American Ballet Theater's twenty-fifth anniversary gala.
  • Deux Anges Sont Venus

    Dunham directs Albert Husson's musical comedy Deux Anges Sont Venus, starring Charles Aznavour, at the Théâtre de Paris.
  • Directs Ciao

    Dunham directs Ciao, Rudi in Rome.
  • U.S. representative in Dakar

    Trains the National Ballet of Senegal. Appointed adviser for the first World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture, also known as the World Festival of Negro Arts (Festival des Arts Nègre), held in Dakar in April. For the first time, the U.S. State Department gives Dunham official status in naming her U.S. representative to the festival in Dakar. In Senegal, Dunham meets Mor Thiam, a master drummer, whom she invites to teach in East Saint Louis.
  • Creates a Performing Arts Training Center

    The Equal Opportunity Commission, as part of the Southern Illinois University's Experiment in Higher Education, funds Dunham's proposal for creating a Performing Arts Training Center (PATC) in East Saint Louis, which eventually results in an educational center, children's auxiliary company, and a semiprofessional dance group that would tour the midwestern, southern, and eastern United States.
  • Professional Achievement Award

    Dunham is named a grand officier of the Haitian Légion d'Honneur et Merite and receives the Professional Achievement Award from the University of Chicago Alumni Association. She is also appointed honoree on the President's Council on Youth Opportunity in Washington, D.C.
  • Directs A Dream Deferred and Ode to Taylor Jones

    Dunham directs A Dream Deferred and Ode to Taylor Jones in East Saint Louis with the Youth Dance Group from her Performing Arts Training Center.
  • Dance Magazine Award

    Dunham receives a Dance Magazine Award. Other honorees at the award ceremony are Erik Bruhn, a Danish ballet dancer recognized as a premier danseur noble, and Lucia Chase, one of the founders of American Ballet Theater.
  • "Island Possessed"

    "Island Possessed"
    Dunham's fourth book is published: Island Possessed (New York: Doubleday, 1969; reprint, University of Chicago Press, 1994). It is a series of vivid and detailed descriptions of the people and culture of Haiti.
  • receives the Dance Division Heritage Award

    Dunham receives the Dance Division Heritage Award from the American Association for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation.
  • Directs Treemonisha

    Dunham directs the world premiere of Scott Joplin's opera Treemonisha at Morehouse College, Atlanta. The following summer the opera is staged at Wolftrap Farm Park for the Performing Arts, Vienna, Virginia, using an orchestration by William Bolcom, and is later given at Kiel Opera House in Saint Louis, where Kenneth B. Billups conducts.
  • receives an honorary doctorate of humane letters

    Dunham receives an honorary doctorate of humane letters from MacMurray College, Jacksonville, Illinois.
  • National Center of Afro-American Artists Award

    Recieves National Center of Afro-American Artists Award from the Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts, Boston.
  • "Kasamance: A Fantasy"

    Dunham's fifth book is published: Kasamance: A Fantasy (New York: Odarkai Books, 1974). An allegorical African tale for young people set in Senegal, it is illustrated by Bennie Arrington after original drawings by John Pratt.
  • Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame

    Dunham is named to the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame
  • Entertainment Hall of Fame Foundation

    Dunham is named to the Entertainment Hall of Fame Foundation
  • Lectures in Venezuela

    Dunham lectures at the International Institute of Ethnomusicology and Folklore in Caracas, Venezuela.
  • International Women's Year Award

    Dunham is given the International Women's Year Award, United Nations Association, Saint Louis Chapter.
  • Visiting Professor at Berkeley

    Dunham is visiting professor of Afro-American studies for the spring quarter at the University of California at Berkeley.
  • honorary doctorate of literature from Atlanta University.

    Dunham receives an honorary doctorate of literature from Atlanta University.
  • Dance Pioneer Award

    Dunham receives the Dance Pioneer Award given by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
  • "Kaiso! Katherine Dunham: An Anthology of Writings"

    Kaiso! Katherine Dunham: An Anthology of Writings, edited by VèVè A. Clark and Margaret B. Wilkerson, is published in a limited, numbered edition of 130 copies by the Institute for the Study of Social Change, University of California at Berkeley.
  • presented the Albert Schweitzer Music Award

    In January, Dunham is presented the Albert Schweitzer Music Award "for her contributions to the performing arts and her dedication to humanitarian work." The award is given to her at "A Katherine Dunham Gala" at New York's Carnegie Hall. Organized by Glory Van Scott, the gala features performances by former Dunham Company members in their original roles as well as instructors and students from her Performing Arts Training Center in East Saint Louis..
  • receives three honorary doctorates

    Dunham receives three honorary doctorates of fine arts: from Westfield State College in Massachusetts, from Brown University, and from Dartmouth College.
  • Opening of the Katherine Dunham Museum

    Opening of the Katherine Dunham Museum
    The international opening of the Katherine Dunham Museum in East Saint Louis is attended by former members of the Dunham Company and representatives from Senegal, Haiti, and other foreign countries.
  • Divine Drumbeats: Katherine Dunham and Her People (Television)

    Katherine Dunham's work Rites de Passage is taped for Dance in America in a program titled "Divine Drumbeats: Katherine Dunham and Her People," WNET-TV, New York.
  • receives a CBS grant

    Dunham receives a CBS grant for her Children's Workshop in East Saint Louis.
  • National Dance Week Award

    Dunham receives the National Dance Week Award from the Dance Concert Society.
  • receives an honorary doctorate of fine arts

    Dunham receives an honorary doctorate of fine arts from Washington University, Saint Louis, Missouri
  • retires from Southern Illinois University.

    Dunham retires from Southern Illinois University.
  • Receives an honorary doctorate of fine arts from Southern Illinois University

    Dunham receives an honorary doctorate of fine arts from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and is awarded the grande croix of the Légion d'Honneur et Merite by the Haitian embassy.
  • Kennedy Center Honors

    Kennedy Center Honors
    In December, Dunham is one of five recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C. Dunham and her fellow honorees – singer Frank Sinatra, actor James Stewart, stage and movie director Elia Kazan, and composer and critic Virgil Thomson – watch from the Presidential Box, where they are seated with President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan.
  • receives an honorary doctorate of laws from Lincoln University

    Katherine Dunham receives an honorary doctorate of laws from Lincoln University.
  • receives honorary doctorate of fine arts

    Katherine Dunham receives an honorary doctorate of fine arts from Howard University.
  • The Dunham Technique Seminar is inaugurated

    The Dunham Technique Seminar is inaugurated. These annual seminars serve to codify and formalize Dunham Technique and are usually taught by Dunham and members of her company.
  • Distinguished Service Award from the American Anthropological Association

  • the Southern Cross, Award

  • Award of Honor and Merit from the Government of Brazil

  • the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award

  • Medal of Artistic Merit in Dance Award

    The Medal of Artistic Merit in Dance, given by the International Council on Dance, UNESCO; and the Oral Self-Portrait from the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.
  • The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater produces The Magic of Katherine Dunham

    The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater produces "The Magic of Katherine Dunham," which opens the Ailey company's 1987-1988 season. Among the works reconstructed under the supervision of Dunham are Choros, L'Ag'Ya, Shango, Flaming Youth, 1927, and Cakewalk.
  • Ebony Magazine American Achievement Award in Fine Arts

  • Candice "Trailblazer" Award

    Dunham receives the Candice "Trailblazer" Award from the National Coalition of One Hundred Black Women.
  • honorary doctorates of fine arts

    Dunham is awarded honorary doctorates of fine arts from Tufts University and Buffalo State College.
  • Founder of Dance in America

    Dunham is named a Founder of Dance in America and is honored as such at the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, New York. External Link
  • officier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres

    The governments of both Haiti and France designate Dunham as an officier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in their respective countries. She is also named as recipient of the President's Award of the National Council for Culture and Art, New York.
  • National Medal of the Arts

    In November, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., President George Bush makes the fifth annual presentation of the National Medal of the Arts to nine people in various fields of arts and letters. Dunham is honored "for her pioneering explorations of Caribbean and African dance, which have enriched and transformed the art of dance in America."
  • receives an honorary doctorate of humane letters

    Katherine Dunham receives an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Spelman College in Atlanta
  • Caribbean Award

    Katherine Dunham receives the prestigious Caribbean Award from the government of Trinidad and Tobago.
  • honorary doctorate of humane letters

    Dunham receives an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Chicago State University.
  • artist-in-residence and lecturer

    artist-in-residence and lecturer
    Katherine Dunham becomes artist-in-residence and lecturer at the University of Hawaii.
  • honorary doctorate of fine arts

    Dunham receives an honorary doctorate of fine arts from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
  • Smith Award

    Smith Award is presented to Dunham by representatives of the Smithsonian Institution.
  • a grant from the Illinois Arts Counci

  • Named America's Irreplaceable Dance Treasures

    Katherine Dunham is named one of "America's Irreplaceable Dance Treasures" by the Dance Heritage Coalition. The Library of Congress receives $1 million from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to undertake the Katherine Dunham Legacy Project.
  • Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival Honors Dunham

    In honor of Dunham's ninety-third birthday, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, in western Massachusetts, organizes a special tribute with American and African dancers and musicians.
  • honorary doctorate of fine arts

    Dunham receives an honorary doctorate of fine arts from Harvard University.
  • Kaiso!: An Anthology of Writings

    Kaiso!: An Anthology of Writings
    Kaiso!: An Anthology of Writings by and about Katherine Dunham, edited by VèVè A. Clark and Sara E. Johnson, is published by the University of Wisconsin Press. A greatly expanded and updated edition of the 1978 publication, this new work is a volume of Studies in Dance History, a monograph series sponsored by the Society of Dance History Scholars and funded by the Katherine Dunham Legacy Project at the Library of Congress.