Bob Fosse, Katherine Dunham Postage Stamps Released 7/28


On July 28, 2012 - National Dance Day - the U.S. Postal Service® will pay tribute to four influential choreog­raphers who changed the art of dance: Isadora Duncan, José Limón, Katherine Dunham, and Bob Fosse. Designed to look like posters advertising a performance, the stamp art captures the luminosity and mystery of a live dance per­formance.
The stamp design for Isadora Duncan reflects her inter­est in classical Greek dance forms and shows the seem­ingly effortless style that she developed. Radical for its time, her linking of movement and expressiveness gar­nered her worldwide critical acclaim.

José Limón is shown in a performance pose. He fre­quently drew inspiration from history, literature, and reli­gion, and used natural movement and gesture in his choreography. His virile, powerful works elevated the importance of the male dancer in modern dance. Many of Limón's works are considered classics and continue to be performed today.
Founder of one of the first African-American dance companies in the United States, Katherine Dunham was the first choreographer to develop a formal dance tech­nique that combined Caribbean and African dance ele­ments with aspects of ballet. She is shown in a pose from her critically acclaimed ballet L'Ag'Ya.

Bob Fosse, celebrated for directing and choreograph­ing musicals on both stage and screen, is shown on the set of Sweet Charity (1969). Fosse received one Oscar, three Emmys, and nine Tony awards during his career. Yet per­haps his greatest contribution was in making dance acces­sible to millions.

Isadora Duncan (1877–1927)

Isadora Duncan was born in San Francisco in 1877. Dancer, adventurer, revolutionary, and ardent defender of the poetic spirit, Duncan has been one of the most endur­ing influences on contemporary culture. Ironically, the very magnitude of her achievements as an artist, as well as the sheer excitement and tragedy of her life, tend to dim our awareness of the originality, depth, and boldness of her thought.

Virtually single-handedly, Duncan restored dance to a high place among the arts. Breaking with convention, she traced the art of dance back to its roots as a sacred art. Duncan is credited with inventing what later came to be known as Modern Dance.

José Limón (1908–1972)

José Limón was born January 12, 1908, in Culiacán, Mexico. At age 7, he moved to the United States, where he later studied with Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman and danced with their company (1930–1940). He estab­lished his own company in 1947, with Humphrey as artistic director. The company toured worldwide during Limón's life and remained active after his death
Katherine Dunham (1909–2006)<

Katherine Dunham was born June 22, 1909, in Chicago. She became one of the first African-American women to attend the University of Chicago, where she earned a doc­toral degree in anthropology.

Dunham spent years in the Caribbean studying all aspects of dance and the motivations behind it. Although she traveled throughout the region, including Trinidad and Jamaica, Haiti is where she found personal and artistic res­onances. Dunham revolutionized American dance in the 1930's by going to the roots of black dance and rituals, transforming them into significant artistic choreography that speaks to all. She was a pioneer in the use of folk and ethnic choreography and one of the founders of the anthro­pological dance movement. She showed the world that African-American heritage is beautiful. She completed groundbreaking work on Caribbean and Brazilian dance anthropology as a new academic discipline. She is credited for bringing these Caribbean and African influences to a European-dominated dance world.

Bob Fosse (1927–1987)

Bob Fosse was born June 23, 1927. He began perform­ing in vaudeville as a child, and by his early teens was on stage in a variety of burlesque shows. He began studying dance at a small neighborhood institution but soon moved on to the Frederick Weaver Ballet School, an academy where he was the only male enrolled. Fosse was one of the twentieth century's great choreographers.

As an artist, Fosse was known for his thoroughly mod­ern style, a signature one could never mistake for anyone else's. Snapping fingers are omnipresent, so are rakishly tilted bowler hats. Both hip and shoulder rolls appear fre­quently, as do backward exits. Swiveling hips and strutting predominate, as do white-gloved, single-handed gestures. Fosse himself often called the en masse amalgamation of these moves the "amoeba," and that word as much as any describes his particular style, at once fluid and angular.

National Dance Day was created by Nigel Lythgoe, executive producer and judge for the So You Think You Can Dance television series. In 2010, Washington, DC, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, a long-time pro­ponent of healthy lifestyles, introduced a National Dance Day resolution to promote dance education and physical fitness across the U.S.
National Dance Day is an annual event and "grassroots initiative in the United States to encourage the nation, young and old, to move!" This event occurs annually on the last Saturday of July. The first National Dance Day occurred on July 31, 2010, and the second annual event occurred on July 30, 2011.

This year's event will take place on Saturday, July 28.