Katherine Dunham Museum May Close Unless Funds Are Raised

Katherine Dunham

The Katherine Dunham Centers for Arts & Humanities needs your help! The East St. Louis, Illinois–based Katherine Dunham Museum is in danger of closing. After the electricity was nearly turned off over an unpaid $486 bill, many generous Dunham fans stepped forward to raise that amount. Now that the museum has faced its immediate financial problems, however, there are still recurring costs—totaling $1,800 to $2,000 each month—that need to be addressed. The organization is asking for donations online or via check, which can be made out to “Katherine Dunham Centers for Arts & Humanities” and addressed to:

PO Box #6

East St. Louis, IL 62202

(KDCAH is a 501©3 organization, so any donations are tax-deductible.)

The Katherine Dunham Museum houses Dunham’s extensive collection of symbolic and functional art from more than 50 countries. Costumes, photographs, programs, letters, awards and mementos from Dunham’s multifaceted career as an anthropologist and dancer are all on display. (Keep your eyes peeled for DT’s December History column—Katherine Dunham is the subject!) With enough donations, the museum will be revitalized—it will be open for regular hours, with paid staff.

Teacher Voices
Photo courtesy Rhee Gold Company

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, there has been a shift in our community that is so impressive that the impact could last long into our future. Although required school closures have hit the dance education field hard, what if, when looking back on this time, we see that it's been an incredible renaissance for dance educators, studio owners and the young dancers in our charge?

How could that be, you ask?

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Teachers Trending
Photo by Yvonne M. Portra, courtesy Faulkner

It's a Wednesday in May, and 14 Stanford University advanced modern ­dance students are logged on to Zoom, each practicing a socially distanced duet with an imaginary person. "Think about the quality of their personality and the type of duet you might have," says their instructor Katie Faulkner, "but also their surface area and how you'd relate to them in space." Amid dorm rooms, living rooms, dining rooms and backyards, the dancers make do with cramped quarters and dodge furniture as they twist, curve, stretch and intertwine with their imaginary partners.

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Getty Images

Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

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