Katherine Dunham was born in the Chicago area on July 22, 1909. Her parents were Fanny and Alfred Dunham. Fanny Dunham was a French Canadian. Alfred Dunham her father was a slave from West Africa. Katherine Dunham started very early wanting to learn how to dance. At the age of eight Katherine found out that her church was having financial problems and decided to raise money. She choreographed a dance to raise money for church. It was said that she had never thought of a career in dance but at that time who would. Katherine then went on to college to follow in the footsteps of her older brother. She was pursuing a bachelor’s degree to become a teacher.
She was one of the first black women to attend University of Chicago. While attending college she found herself interested in dance even more. Katherine then changed her major and proceeded to get a degree in Anthropology. She earned her bachelors, masers and Doctorate in this major. While attending she became a student of Ludmilla Speranzeva. Ludmilla was a Katherine Dunham’s first ballet teacher. She taught Katherine everything about ballet while in college. Once Katherine graduated she opened up her first business. The business was called The Negro Dance group which she opened in 1933. This school was filled with young black dancers. This school was not very successful but Katherine continued anyway. The dance company appeared in the Chicago Beaux Arts Theater in ‘A Negro Rhapsody’. This is where the company performed with Chicago Opera Company. This school didn’t last long because of the lack of financial assistance. Then in 1934 the school was reopened as Ballet Negre. As Katherine founded Negre Ballet. She was asked to become the dance director of the New York Labor Stage. In this time Katherine was known as a great dancer. She had revolutionized American dance and added the rituals and black to the American dance. She showed a different component that made her unique....