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Interview With Katherine Dunham

Nov. 18, 1999
Dunham, Katherine (Spoken-word CD - 1999)
Interview With Katherine Dunham
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[Testing of recording equipment and statement of date as November 18th]. Katherine Dunham and Constance Valis Hill speak about photographs they are looking at of the musical comedy Cabin in the sky; Dunham tells an anecdote about having to alter their costumes in Boston, Mass.; an anecdote about Dooley Wilson and Ethel Waters; more discussion of photographs; the song Honey in the honeycomb including the extent of George Balanchine's contribution to the choreography set to that scene; Balanchine's first seeing her company [Katherine Dunham Company] in Chicago; the influence on her style of her training with Ludmilla Speranzeva; Balanchine's idea, originally, to have a Russian song in the opening scene in Cabin in the sky; reminiscences of Balanchine and Vernon Duke; more on the choreography in Cabin in the sky; the nature of the collaboration with Balanchine including the origins of Balanchine's idea for the Egyptian ballet [the scene set to My old Virginia home on the Nile?]; [short gap]; more on the choreography of Honey in the honeycomb; the racism she encountered in Hollywood; her thoughts on the relationship between her Plantation dances and Agnes de Mille's Americana dances; her admiration for ballet and its role in her work; Balanchine, her work Octoroon ball, and racism in the U.S.; discussion of possible reconstruction of Honey in the honeycomb; tells an anecdote about Ethel Waters and the dance set to the song Dem bones; more on Honey in the honeycomb; how helpful Balanchine was to her; the influence of the Chauve Souris theatrical troupe on nightclub acts in the U.S.; not being consulted with respect to the film version of Cabin in the sky [ends abruptly].
Authors: Dunham, Katherine
Title: Interview with Katherine Dunham
Nov. 18, 1999
[sound recording]
Publisher: 1999
Characteristics: 1 sound disc (ca. 63 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
Notes: Sound quality is good to fair. There is a faint extraneous hiss due to distortion in the original recording, and Katherine Dunham's voice is occasionally difficult to understand. There is also occasional extraneous noise
Interview with Katherine Dunham conducted by Constance Valis Hill on Nov. 18, 1999, in New York City. The interview was conducted as part of Hill's researching of the musical comedy Cabin in the sky in connection with the Popular Balanchine project
Summary: [Testing of recording equipment and statement of date as November 18th]. Katherine Dunham and Constance Valis Hill speak about photographs they are looking at of the musical comedy Cabin in the sky; Dunham tells an anecdote about having to alter their costumes in Boston, Mass.; an anecdote about Dooley Wilson and Ethel Waters; more discussion of photographs; the song Honey in the honeycomb including the extent of George Balanchine's contribution to the choreography set to that scene; Balanchine's first seeing her company [Katherine Dunham Company] in Chicago; the influence on her style of her training with Ludmilla Speranzeva; Balanchine's idea, originally, to have a Russian song in the opening scene in Cabin in the sky; reminiscences of Balanchine and Vernon Duke; more on the choreography in Cabin in the sky; the nature of the collaboration with Balanchine including the origins of Balanchine's idea for the Egyptian ballet [the scene set to My old Virginia home on the Nile?]; [short gap]; more on the choreography of Honey in the honeycomb; the racism she encountered in Hollywood; her thoughts on the relationship between her Plantation dances and Agnes de Mille's Americana dances; her admiration for ballet and its role in her work; Balanchine, her work Octoroon ball, and racism in the U.S.; discussion of possible reconstruction of Honey in the honeycomb; tells an anecdote about Ethel Waters and the dance set to the song Dem bones; more on Honey in the honeycomb; how helpful Balanchine was to her; the influence of the Chauve Souris theatrical troupe on nightclub acts in the U.S.; not being consulted with respect to the film version of Cabin in the sky [ends abruptly].
Original Version: Original format : 1 micro sound cassette (ca. 63 min.; 2 channels). Originally recorded in 1999
Funding Information: Preservation was funded by Marianna L. Collins, 2010-2011
Linking Entry Complexity: Forms part of: Popular Balanchine collection. Audio materials
Local Note: Related materials including a transcript of all or part of this interview may be found in the Library's archival collections cataloged under the subheading Cabin in the sky, in Popular Balanchine dossiers, 1927-2004; call number: *MGZMD 146. The transcript was prepared by the George Balanchine Foundation and may have been edited
A subsequent interview with Katherine Dunham conducted by Constance Valis Hill on Jan. 15, 2000, is cataloged in the Library's Oral History Archive under the call number: *MGZTL 4-2715
Archive original: *MGZTCO 2-2714 (microcassette)
Immediate Source of Acquisition: Gift. George Balanchine Foundation
Subject Headings: Audiotapes Dunham, K Musicals. Cabin in the sky African Americans in musical theater Katherine Dunham Company Duke, Vernon, 1903-1969. Cabin in the sky. Honey in the honeycomb Duke, Vernon, 1903-1969. Cabin in the sky Dunham, Katherine Balanchine, George
Topical Term: Audiotapes
Musicals
African Americans in musical theater
Additional Contributors: Hill, Constance Valis
Donor Note: Marianna L. Collins, 2010-2011
Found in: Popular Balanchine collection
Oral history archive
Research Call Number: *MGZTL 4-2714
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