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329 West 18th Street Suite #610
Chicago, Illinois 60616
(312) 243-1808

August 25, 2011


CFA is seeking preservation sponsors for two new collections, showcasing the work of two Chicago artists: Dancer/choreographer Ruth Page and experimental/feminist filmmaker JoAnn Elam.

Still from DANSE MACABRE (1923) starring Ruth Page and Adolph Bolm

Ruth Page (1899-1999) was a primary figure in Chicago’s dance history.  Almost 1,000 moving image items make up this major artistic collection of dance performances and oral histories.  The films span from 1922 through the 1990s and include interviews with Ruth Page and others that orbited her world.   See how you can become a preservation partner of the Ruth Page Dance collection by contributing funds in her name at CFA’s donation page.

Still from Joann Elam’s RAPE (1975)

JoAnn Elam (1949-2009) was a central figure in the history of Chicago’s experimental and documentary film communities.  The body of work she left behind contains 735 moving image and audio items as well as notes, letters and other ephemera.  At the start of her career Elam made two bold and defining films, RAPE and LIE BACK AND ENJOY IT, which are probing examinations of sexual assault and the representation of women.  Her final unfinished work, EVERYDAY PEOPLE, is about labor practices in the U.S. post office from the 1970s to the 1990s and focuses on issues of gender and labor activism in Chicago.   Become a sponsor of the JoAnn Elam Collection by contributing funds in her name at CFA’s donation page.

August 5, 2011


LOVE SONG (1947)

“Ruth Page (1899-1999) embraced a life of artistic restlessness, in which a quest for the new, with a refusal to conform to any one style of dance, became her legacy.  Emanating from Chicago, the visionary work of Ruth Page influenced the growth of theater design, opera ballet, and dance.  She achieved worldwide recognition as a true pioneer of dance in America.”

- Lon Gordon, Professor of Fine Arts at Illinois State University

Stunning in size and scope, this moving image collection documents and preserves the dance legacy and artistic circle of choreographer, Ruth Page, named by the Dance Heritage Coalition as one of America’s 100 Irreplaceable Dance Treasures.  The largest collection of moving image materials related to Ruth Page, it is a worthy complement to the vast manuscript collection that resides at the Jerome Robins Dance Division of the New York Public Library and the Newberry Library in Chicago.

This collection contains rehearsals and performances that date back to 1922 including footage of Rudolph Nureyev soon after his defection from the Soviet Union, Balinese dances filmed during Page’s 1928 Asian Tour, and performances of The Merry Widow on the Ed Sullivan Show.  It also contains numerous interviews with dance critics such as Clive Barnes and John Martin, dancers such as Larry Long, Delores Lipinski, Anne Kisselgoff and Maria Tallchief, and a comprehensive series of interviews and oral histories with Page herself that date from 1957 through 1987.  Among the dozens of Ruth Page ballets that are contained in this collection is a 35mm print of Bolero danced in 1928 at Ravinia in Highland Park, IL.  To our knowledge, this is the only existing moving image representation of that performance.