"Kaiso," a term of praise that is the calypso equivalent of "bravo," is a fitting title for this definitive and celebratory collection of writings by and about Katherine Dunham, the legendary African American dancer, choreographer, anthropologist, and social activist. Originally produced in the 1970s, this is a newly revised and much expanded edition that includes recent scholarly articles, Dunham's essays on dance and anthropology, press reviews, interviews, and chapters from Dunham's unpublished volume of memoirs, "Minefields". With nearly a hundred selections by dozens of authors, "Kaiso!" provides invaluable insight into the life and work of this pioneering anthropologist and performer and is certain to become an essential resource for scholars and general readers interested in social anthropology, dance history, African American studies, or Katherine Dunham herself. Katherine Dunham numbers among the most influential dance artists and scholars of the twentieth century. Trained as an anthropologist at the University of Chicago, Dunham combined her interest in dance and anthropology by linking the form and function of Caribbean dance and ritual to their African sources.
Her research provided the core for what would become known as the Katherine Dunham Technique of Dance, which integrated African and Caribbean styles of movement with ballet and modern dance. Her career as a dancer and choreographer encompassed Broadway reviews, appearances in several films, and choreography for the New York Metropolitan Opera. Also a recognized social activist, Dunham staged several highly publicized hunger strikes, and often incorporated speeches against discrimination into her stage performances.