Here is a wonderful television interview with Katherine Dunham, the legendary dancer and choreographer who died in 2006 at the age of 96.
I knew almost nothing about Ms. Dunham’s life before stumbling on this video. I didn’t even know she had trained as an anthropologist.
But this 1982 program – produced by a Chicago TV station and archived at the Museum of Broadcast Communications – covers some fascinating ground, from Dunham’s glamorous life in New York, Hollywood and Paris to her passion for the people and culture of Haiti.
She attracted media attention for marrying a white man. As a lifelong social activist, Dunham was accused in the 1950s of being a Communist.
She founded a school of cultural arts in Manhattan where Eartha Kitt as a teenager learned to dance (and Marlon Brando learned to play the bongos).
Just listening to Katherine Dunham speak, you can tell she’s a brilliant woman. She lived a great life.
The full 22-minute TV show is embedded below.