Joan Myers Brown to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

Joan Myers Brown, Founder and Executive Artistic Director of The Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO), will receive the lifetime achievement award from the Katherine Dunham Center for Arts and Humanities in East Saint Louis, Illinois at its 5th Annual Awards Gala on August 4, 2012. The award celebrates the 103rd birthday of Katherine Dunham and the release of the United States Postal Services stamps honoring Ms. Dunham, to take place on July 28th in Los Angeles. This award to Ms. Brown is in honor of her contributions “in keeping the Dunham spirit and legacy alive.” Ms. Brown is also the Founder of the International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) and the International Conference of Black Dance Companies.

Ms. Dunham served as a mentor to Ms. Brown in the formation of Ms. Brown’s dance school, dance company, and the IABD. “Ms. Dunham’s favorite quote is one I live by,” says Ms. Brown, “Just do what you do.” Ms. Brown says, “I have been challenged with racism, sexism and classism but each day I am challenged I am inspired by Ms. Dunham’s legacy.”

The 29th Annual Dunham Seminar will be held in East St. Louis with the 20th year of the certification of the Dunham technique. It also celebrates the 20th anniversary of Ms. Dunham’s 47-day fast against the Haitians’ repatriation. Ms. Dunham was an anthropologist, an activist, as well as a dancer, teacher, and choreographer. She and her company toured more than 60 countries in the 1930’s and 40’s, an unbelievable feat for a black artist at that time.

Across the nation and around the world, The Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO) is celebrated for its innovation, creativity, and preservation of predominantly African-American traditions in dance. It provides world-class dance instruction, promotes emerging dancers and choreographers, and engages its many communities through performances and outreach activities. Founded in 1970, PHILADANCO is recognized for its artistic integrity, superbly trained dancers, and electrifying performances. For more information, please call 215.387.8200 or visit

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