Katherine Dunham photo Mike van Sleen
Katherine Dunham

Katherine Dunham, 93 years old at the time of this photo, was at Jacob's Pillow as the focus of a tribute to her life and work. Ms. Dunham was one of the first African Americans to attend the University of Chicago, graduating with a doctoral degree in anthropology. Her prolific dance career began in 1934, three years after establishing her first dance school in Chicago. During her visit to the Pillow, she gave memorable lectures to the students of the school, and she was still fiery when teaching yet another class of her well-founded technique. A fabulous memory of this class was when Cleo Parker Robinson, attending the class (at age 53) along side the young students, was repeatedly called upon by Katherine to demonstrate the technique. Cleo, who can also be seen featured in my image gallery, was an avid student of the Dunham technique, therefore the perfect model to demonstrate the 'right way to do it.'