The present
4 Images

A Dancing Life

The present
THE PRESENT: Among other books, Dunham — a Manhattan resident harboring hopes of returning to East St. Louis, Ill. — is the subject of an anthology that celebrates her contribution to modern dance. (Jennifer S. Altman / For The Times)
Plantation fantasy
PLANTATION FANTASY: Dunham dances in George Balanchine’s “Cabin in the Sky”; some felt she deserved a choreography credit. (Katherine Dunham Collection / Missouri Historical Society)
Sensual, cerebral
SENSUAL, CEREBRAL: Dunham, with Garland Wilson in a nightclub around 1940, was educated as an anthropologist at the University of Chicago — a fusion that led to such headlines as “Cool Scientist or Sultry Performer?” (Katherine Dunham Collection / Missouri Historical Society)
Poise
POISE: “She [had] the definitive black dance company,” Harry Belafonte says of Dunham. (Katherine Dunham Collection / Missouri Historical Society)
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