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Dance Touring and Embodied Data: Some Approaches to Katherine Dunham’s Movement on the Move

Elswit, Kate and Bench, Harmony (2019) Dance Touring and Embodied Data: Some Approaches to Katherine Dunham’s Movement on the Move. Current Research in Digital History, 2. ISSN 2637-5923

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Abstract

This article represents the first stage of a larger research project that considers the kinds of questions and problems that make the analysis and visualization of data meaningful for the study of dance in a historical context. We pursue this work through the exemplary case study of mid-century African American choreographer Katherine Dunham and the global legacy of her international touring. In this short piece, we focus on a dataset we manually curated to document Dunham’s location nearly every day for the four years between January 1st, 1950 and December 31st, 1953. We use this daily itinerary to consider patterns of her travel and their implications, engaging with dance both as a mode of thinking about archives of moving bodies, and as an object of historical study.

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