CATHERINE DUNHAM REFLECTIONS ON THE SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CONTEXTS OF AFRO-AMERICAN DANCE by Joyce Aschenbrenner
CORD, Inc. 1981 First edition, 164pp., 6 1/2" X 9 1/2
Very good +
The opening sections of this work places Katherine Dunham in the historical process of the developing Afro-American performing arts, with emphasis on dance, within the social and cultural climate of a country in which a high incidence of overt and covert racism was always present. Two sections are primarily devoted to Katherine Dunham and the manner in which she has functioned as a catalyst and creative force in the field of theater and dance under such conditions. Katherine Dunham did not reject those distinctive aspects of black life that have entertainment value when presented on the stage. Rather, through intelligent choreography and careful attention to costume and setting, she transformed every performance into an edifying, anthropological statement as well as an enjoyable, and often exciting experience. After she made her first field trip to the Caribbean... she decided to leave the classroom for the stage, to embark on a career that would allow her to share with the public the subtle and complicated meanings that she had discovered beneath the surface of the so-called primitive Caribbean. African and Afro-American dancing that had intrigued American and European audiences.