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Katherine Dunham
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    (June 22, 1909-May 21, 2006)
    Born in Glen Ellyn, Illinois
    Died in New York City, New York
    Founder, Katherine Dunham Company
    Nicknamed 'La Grande Katherine' and 'Matriarch and Queen Mother of Black Dance'
    She suffered a nervous breakdown (1949).
    She was divorced.
    Her legs were insured for $1 million.
    While married to second husband, John Pratt, she romanced world-class playboy Porfirio Rubirosa, who also dated troupe dancer, Eartha Kitt.
    At 82, she went on a hunger strike to protest the treatment of Haitian immigrants.
    She was an innovator in Modern Dance.
    She pioneered Ethno Choreology, studying dances native to a specific race or ethnicity.
    Legendary Alvin Ailey was a protégé.
    She rejected a Hollywood contract because it called for her to exclude darker-skinned dancers.
    In 1963, she became the first African-American to choreograph for the Metropolitan Opera.

Credit: Black Chic

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