Keller, Kate [Kitty] Van Winkle
- John Koegel
(b Providence, RI, April 28, 1937). Scholar of American dance and dance music. After studies at the Hartford Conservatory of Music, she was awarded the BA in music from Vassar College in 1959, the same year she married Robert Monteith Keller (b 1934). Keller’s interest in colonial-era dance began during the time of the Bicentennial celebrations in the mid-1970s. She and her family were living in a former tavern in Coventry, Connecticut—built in 1801—that had a 42-foot ballroom on the second floor, which was open to the public during the Bicentennial festivities in the town. Curious about what kind of dances had been held there, she and her husband began a quest to bring early American dance back to life. (Her husband has aided her in her research since that time, especially in the area of data management.)
Keller was the first scholar to thoroughly and systematically investigate American dance music of the colonial era and early Republic. She compiled a comprehensive database of dance tunes of American (and many foreign) sources from the 18th century, with Carolyn Rabson, which resulted in the ...