Artist of the Month, October – (DANCE)
Katherine Dunham was born on June 22, 1909 in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, right outside of Chicago. She never thought about a career in dance. Instead, she consented to her family’s wish that she become a teacher and followed her brother, Albert Dunham Jr. to the University of Chicago, where she became one of the first African American women to attend this University and earned bachelor, masters and doctoral degrees in anthropology. While she was in college, she began training in dance with Ludmilla Speranzeva, formerly of the Moscow Theater, Mark Turbyfill and Ruth Page.
In 1935-1936, with support from the Rosenwald Foundation, she spent ten months investigating the dance cultures of the Caribbean. Although she traveled throughout the region, including Trinidad and Jamaica, it was in Haiti that she found special personal and artistic resonances. She returned to the United States informed by new methods of movement and expression. She then created the Dunham Technique that transformed the world of dance. Her technique fused ballet and modern technique with Afro-Caribbean styles. She is credited for bringing these Caribbean and African influences to a European-dominated dance world.
Her 1940 show at the Windsor Theatre in New York, Tropics and Le Jazz Hot, led to a featured role in the 1940 Broadway hit Cabin in the Sky, for which she also contributed choreography alongside George Balanchine. From the 1940s to the 1960s, her company toured the United States, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, and Australia, introducing global audiences to her creative interpretation of African diasporic culture. In the meantime, she established a school in New York City, where the dissemination of her Dunham Technique greatly influenced modern and jazz dance, and a permanent residence in Haiti.
Always committed to education and activism, she did not rest when the company finished touring in the early 1960s. Instead, she founded the Performing Arts Training Center (affiliated with Southern Illinois University) in East St. Louis and spent much of the next forty years of her life dedicated to the youth of that city. Throughout her distinguished career, Katherine Dunham earned numerous honorary doctorates, awards and honors.
Das, Joanna Dee. “Katherine Dunham.” Dance Heritage Coalition. N.p., 2011. Web. 15 Aug. 2016.
“Katherine Dunham – Katherine Dunham Biography.” KDCAH- Katherine Dunham Center For Arts and Humanities. N.p., 2011. Web. 15 Aug. 2016.
Artist of the Month – (MUSIC
(born August 31, 1945) is an Israeli violinist. He is regarded as one of the great violinists of the late 20th century, and is certainly one of the most famous.
Perlman was born in Tel Aviv. He contracted polio at the age of four. He made a good recovery, learning to walk with crutches. Today, he uses crutches for mobility and plays the violin seated. He studied at the Academy of Music in Tel Aviv, giving his first recital at age 10. He moved to the United States to study at the Juilliard School, and made his debut at Carnegie Hall in 1963.
Soon, Perlman began to tour extensively. He has made a large number of records, and from the 1970s began to appear on shows such as The Tonight Show and Sesame Street, as well as playing at a number of functions at the White House.
As well as playing and recording the classical music for which he is best known, Perlman has also played jazz and klezmer. He has been a soloist for a number of film scores, such as the theme of Schindler’s List, which won an Academy Award for Best Original Score. Recently, he has also begun to conduct, taking the post of Principal Guest Conductor at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
Perlman has received many honors, including Kennedy Center Honors in 2003, numerous Grammy and Emmy Awards and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.
An outstanding version of Nicolo Paganini’s 24 Caprices is among his most known recordings.