Joann Kealiinohomoku

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Joann Kealiinohomoku
Joann K.gif
Joann W. Kealiinohomoku, 1997
Photo by John Running
Born Joann Wheeler
May 20, 1930
Kansas City, Missouri
Died December 2, 2015
Flagstaff, Arizona
Occupation Anthropologist

Joann Wheeler Kealiinohomoku (also known by other orthographic variation including Keali'inohomoku) (1930–2015[1]) was an American anthropologist and educator, co-founder of the dance research organization Cross-Cultural Dance Resources. She has written and/or edited numerous books and articles, including contributions on dance-related subjects to multiple encyclopedias, such as writing the entry for "Music and dance in the United States" in the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Some of her best-known works are "An anthropologist looks at ballet as a form of ethnic dance" (1970) and "Theory and methods for an anthropological study of dance" (1976). An associate professor of anthropology at Northern Arizona University, she was named professor emerita in 1987. In 1997, she received the first annual award for "Outstanding Contribution to Dance Research" from Congress on Research in Dance.[2] In 2000, the CCDR collection was named by President Bill Clinton's White House Millennium Council, as something that needed to be preserved under the "Save America's Treasures" program.[3]


She was born Joann Marie Wheeler on May 20, 1930 in Kansas City, Missouri, to George V. and Leona Lavena (Moore) Wheeler.[4] Wheeler attended grammar school in Des Plaines, Illinois[5] and Whitefish Bay High School in the village of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. She later studied at Northwestern University, receiving a Bachelor of Specialized Studies degree in 1955, an MA in 1965, and a PhD from Indiana University in 1976, with her dissertation being "Theory and methods for an anthropological study of dance."

In 1953, she married Thomas Samuel Kealiinohomoku, and they had one child, Halla, before divorcing in 1963. She was the dance reviewer for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin from 1960 to 1963. In 1970, she published one of her best-known works, "An anthropologist looks at ballet as a form of ethnic dance".[6]

Kealiinohomoku served on the Board of Directors of Native Americans for Community Action in Flagstaff, Arizona from 1977 to 1982. She was also a member of the Society of Ethnomusicology, where she was co-founder of their Southwestern Chapter. From 1974–1977 she was on the Board of Directors of the Congress on Research in Dance, and in 1981 was co-founder of Cross-Cultural Dance Resources, a dance research organization in Flagstaff, Arizona, where she was a permanent member of the board of directors.[7] In 2008, it was announced that the CCDR collection was to be transferred to the Herberger College of the Arts at Arizona State University Dance Department in Tempe, Arizona for permanent curation.

In 1992, Kealiinohomoku was the series advisor for Dancing, an eight-part public television series on Thirteen/WNET, which first aired in 1993.


Selected works[edit]

  • 1967, "Hopi and Polynesian dance: a study in cross-cultural comparison,"Ethnomusicology, 11:343-368
  • "Music and dance of the Hawaiian and Hopi peoples", Richard L. Anderson and Karen L. Field (editors). Art in small scale societies: contemporary readings: pp. 334–348. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.: Prentice-Hall 1993
  • "Theory and methods for an anthropological study of dance", 1976 PhD dissertation, published in book form in 2008
  • “The would-be Indian,” Charlotte J. Frisbie (editor), Explorations In ethnomusicology: essays in honor of David McAllester, pp. 111–126. Detroit Monographs in Musicology Number 9. Detroit: Information Coordinators in Detroit. 1986

Encyclopedia articles[edit]

  • 1970, "Hula" The Encyclopedia Americana 14:542, Danbury, Connecticut: Grolier, Inc. reprinted in subsequent editions., 2002
  • 1994, "Dance," Native America in the Twentieth Century: An Encyclopedia, Mary B. Davis, ed. Garland Reference Library of Social Science, vol. 452:164-169. NY & London: Garland (corrected paperback edition in 1995)
  • 1995, "Dance in traditional religions," HarperCollins, Encyclopedia of Religion, Jonathan Z. Smith, general ed., Sam D. Gill, area ed.: 304-307. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco
  • 1996, "Gestures," American Folklore: an encyclopedia, Jan Harold Brunvand, general editor: Garland Reference Library, of the Humanities vol. 1551:333-335. NY & London: Garland.
  • 1998, "Gertrude Prokosch Kurath" " Hopi dance", "Primitive dance." Selma Jeanne Cohen (founding editor), International encyclopedia of dance, New York: Oxford, University Press.
  • 1998, "Folk dance," Academic American Encyclopedia, 8:199-201. Barbara Winard, editor. Danbury CT: Grolier. 2002
  • 2001, “Music and dance in the United States,” pp. 206–222, volume 3, The United States and Canada, Ellen Koskoff, editor. The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, NY & London: Garland Publishing Co.
  • 2002, "Hula," Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, Danbury, Connecticut
  • 2008, "Folk Dance", online entry in Encyclopædia Britannica


  1. ^ "Joann Wheeler Keali'inohomoku". 2015. Retrieved December 29, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "CORD Awards". Congress on Research in Dance. Archived from the original on 2008-05-31. Retrieved 2008-06-08. 
  3. ^ "Irreplaceable Treasures". Information Bulletin. Library of Congress. August–September 2000. Retrieved 2008-06-08. 
  4. ^ "Joann Wheeler Kealiinohomoku", Marquis Who's Who, 2007
  5. ^ Kealiinohomoku, Joann W. (September 2005). "More thoughts on race". Dance Magazine. 79 (9): 16. 
  6. ^ Popper, Regina (1989-07-02). "A forecast of dance's future". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Joann Kealiinohomoku, a cultural anthropologist who directs Cross-Cultural Dance Resources in Flagstaff, Ariz., and who in 1970 wrote an essay titled An Anthropologist Looks at Ballet as a Form of Ethnic Dance. 
  7. ^ "Joann Kealiinohomoku biography". Cross-Cultural Dance Resources. Retrieved 2008-06-08. 
  8. ^ Johnson, Robert (2000-08-09). "Dance notes". Star-Ledger. 
  9. ^ Collins, Karyn D. (2000-08-20). "Dancing into greatness". Asbury Park Press. Preservation awards went to the Katherine Dunham Center in East St. Louis, Il., Cross-Cultural Dance Resources in Flagstaff, Ariz., and the Halla Huhm Foundation in Honolulu. 
  10. ^ "President Clinton announces FY2000 Save America's Treasures grants". National Archives. Retrieved 2008-06-03.