Katharine Dunham and L’ag’ya

The peoples of the Caribbean welcomed Katharine Dunham and shared their dance cultures with her; her obligations toward them figure in her danced testimonies to their hospitality.

Her solo in L’ag’ya (1938) was not a collusion with colonial ideologies of appropriation—it was a testament to the immediacy of performance and the importance of maintaining a welcoming openness in the face of the overwhelming idea of infinity.

This according to “Hospitality and translation in Katherine Dunham’s L’ag’ya” by Ramsay Burt, an essay included in Proceedings: Society of Dance History Scholars (Stoughton: Society of Dance History Scholars, 2003) pp. 8–11. Above, Dunham with Vanoye Aikens in L’ag’ya in 1938; below, excerpts from Dunham’s solo from a silent 1947 film.

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Filed under Dance, Ethnochoreology

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