Paula J. Peters

Student Historian

Paula J. Peters is currently a M.F.A. candidate in Dance at the University of Washington. Prior to completing her B.F.A. in Dance through the Professional Dancers Program at Cornish College of the Arts, Ms. Peters performed professionally with Spectrum Dance Theater in Seattle, Washington for fourteen years; dancing and staging works by choreographers of national prominence. She has taught ballet, jazz and modern dance as a visiting lecturer at the University of Washington and as an adjunct instructor at Cornish College of the Arts. Ms. Peters’ M.F.A. thesis, “All That Jazz: Forces and Figures in the American Popular Entertainment Industry,” investigates the deep contributions that African American dancers/choreographers have made to the American popular entertainment industry.


Lorenzo “Rennie” Harris (1963- )

Image Ownership: Public Domain Rennie Harris, hip hop dancer, artist, teacher, artistic director, choreographer, and founder of Rennie Harris Puremovement (RHPM), was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1963. At the age of 15, Harris began teaching workshops and classes at universities around the country, educating … Read MoreLorenzo “Rennie” Harris (1963- )

Gary Coleman (1968-2010)

 Gary Coleman and Conraid Bain from "Different Strokes" tv show Image Courtesy of ©Bettmann-Corbis Gary Coleman, best known for his child star status from the hit television sitcom Diff’rent Strokes, was born on February 8, 1968, and raised in Zion, Illinois. A talent scout for … Read MoreGary Coleman (1968-2010)

Joseph Vernon [“Big Joe”] Turner (1911-1985)

Image Ownership: Public Domain Big Joe Turner, known by many as the “Boss of the Blues,” was born Joseph Vernon in Kansas City, Missouri, on May 18, 1911. Turner is considered a major contributor to the development of the sound of Kansas City Jazz, and … Read MoreJoseph Vernon [“Big Joe”] Turner (1911-1985)

Alonzo King (c. 1952- )

Image Ownership: Public Domain Alonzo King, Founder/Artistic Director/Choreographer of Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet in San Francisco, California, is a world-renowned contemporary ballet choreographer for stage, film, opera, and television. King has created works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Frankfurt Ballet, … Read MoreAlonzo King (c. 1952- )

Arthur Mitchell (1934- )

Arthur Mitchell, 1955 Image Ownership: Public Domain Arthur Mitchell, co-founder and Artistic Director Emeritus of Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH), America’s first African American ballet company, was born in New York City, New York on March 27, 1934. Under Mitchell’s direction, Dance Theatre of Harlem … Read MoreArthur Mitchell (1934- )

Bill T. Jones (1952- )

Image courtesy of Kevin Fitzsimons/Wexner Center for the Arts Bill T. Jones, Artistic Director/Co-Founder/Dancer/Choreographer of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company was born on February 15, 1952 in Bunnell, Florida. Jones’ prolific career as a choreographer has brought him international acclaim. Awards include: 2007 Tony … Read MoreBill T. Jones (1952- )

William Henry/Master Juba Lane (1825-c. 1852)

Image courtesy of Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library William Henry Lane is credited as one of the most influential figures in the creation of American tap dance. Lane developed a unique style … Read MoreWilliam Henry/Master Juba Lane (1825-c. 1852)