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
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
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 …