Katherine Dunham was an American dancer, choreographer and anthropologist noted for her innovative interpretations of ritualistic and ethnic dances.
Katherine Dunham was born June 22, 1909 in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. She formed a dance group that performed in concert at the Chicago World's Fair in 1934 and with the Chicago Civic Opera company 1935–1936. In 1938 she joined the Federal Theater Project in Chicago and composed a ballet. Two years later she formed an all-black company, which began touring extensively by 1943.