Adventures of a Travelling Historian – Chicago

So to get to Chicago I decided to take historical research to a new level and in a bid to relive the Ballets Russes tour I got the train. The 18 hour from D.C. to Chicago. While train travel may have been glamorous in 1916 – it is not now. It was however a lot of fun – I sat in the observation car, attempted to sleep, fixed my mad train hair in the ladies lounge and finally ate breakfast in the dining car.

Once I arrived in Chicago I did what every good historian should do … I went to the Harold Washington Library!

They have a fantastic dance collection. I found my two current research subjects – Barton Mumaw and Nijinsky – side by side!

On the Saturday I found the Joffrey Ballet. I wasn’t able to visit but I stuck my head into the lobby!

I was also able to catch up with some of the tap artists and students that had performed at the Pillow over the summer. Chicago has a great tap scene. I went to see some of the amazing work that Jumaane Taylor and his colleagues are doing at the Harold Washington Cultural Center. maddrhythms

MADD RHYTHMS Brochure FAll 2016 HWCC

In search of more dance I went to the Ruth Page Center for the Arts where the Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival was running. This was a very interesting production showcasing 10 contemporary dance companies and choreographers including:

  • Synapse Arts
  • Elements Contemporary Ballet
  • Brady Van Patten and Zachary Bird
  • RE|Dance Group
  • Jesse Factor
  • Brandon Coleman
  • Rebecca McLindon Blanchard
  • Corinne Imberski
  • Ariel Lembeck
  • Aaron McGloin Dance

Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival

The center is named after Ruth Page (b. 1899 – d. 1991) who danced with Anna Pavlova on the 1918 tour of South America and with the Ballets Russes and Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo – she was also very involved in the Chicago dance scene throughout her life.

Two paintings of Ruth Page in the lobby of the center.

Next stop Indianapolis …