Visceral Histories Analyzing Transmission through Katherine Dunham’s Dance Repertory

1. Abstract

This paper attends to intergenerational and intercultural travel of dance-based knowledge in the diasporic practice of choreographer Katherine Dunham, in order to contend that digital methods can evidence and elaborate bodily experience in visceral histories at the crossroads of dance and digital humanities. Using data manually curated from Dunham’s extensive archives, we seek to better understand dynamic processes of movement circulation, from body-to-body transmission among company members, to in- and outflows as the company toured the globe. We situate the research within the challenges of using data to attend to bodies and embodied experience. Then we turn to two key areas of data curation, visualization, and analysis to consider how diaspora moved through Dunham's works and through the bodies of performers: the embodied practices through which Dunham’s performers contributed to developing and maintaining her choreography, and the ways in which the repertory itself transmits embodied knowledge across generations and cultures.

Bench Harmony (, The Ohio State University and Kate Elswit (, University of London, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Theme: Lux by Bootswatch.