Wynne Delacoma on “transactional” writing

Reporter Wynne Delacoma covered music and dance at the Chicago Sun-Times for nearly two decades. Critics, she maintains, play a vital and compassionate role in the life of a work. No matter how many times she may have seen a production of Swan Lake, “it was always someone’s first.” Wynne characterizes dance writing as “transactional” and sought to include readers in the conversation. Did she … Continue reading Wynne Delacoma on “transactional” writing

Mort Kessler Does It All

August 8 was “Giordano Research Day” for the CDHP crew, interviewing two gentlemen who were part of the company’s earliest years. The day began with original Giordano Dance Company member Mort Kessler. Mort came to Chicago in his late teens and met Peg Giordano while working as a hairdresser on Michigan Avenue. His friendship with Gus and Peg Giordano was instantaneous, as was his involvement … Continue reading Mort Kessler Does It All

Patti Vickerman, In Her Father’s Footsteps

For Patti Vickerman, performance is a family business.  Her mother performed in New York City as a singer before Patti and her sister were born. Her father, Jim Byrnes, taught Patti to dance and the two of them performed as a duo for fifteen years. Their act, in vaudeville tradition, incorporated tap dance and comedic bits which featured Patti’s signature “deadpan” punch lines. Jimmy Byrnes … Continue reading Patti Vickerman, In Her Father’s Footsteps

Reggio “The Hoofer” McLaughlin

On August 1, the CDHP interview team met with Reggio “The Hoofer” McLaughlin at Old Town School of Folk Music, where he has taught tap since the 1990s. A proud Chicago native, he was introduced to tap dance at Jackson Park, where his sister was taking lessons. “It was love at first sight.” As a teenager, he paid for his own lessons with Jimmy Payne … Continue reading Reggio “The Hoofer” McLaughlin

CDHP’s Summer Interview Tour

This summer the CDHP production team worked hard to conduct at least one interview a week. In our quest for fascinating tales of dance, we criss-crossed the city, from the Newberry Library to the distant suburbs. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing profiles of all nine of our interview subjects, along with pictures from our interviews and the archives. We’re very excited to introduce … Continue reading CDHP’s Summer Interview Tour

Dance and Design with Margaret Nelson

This week we had the honor of interviewing Chicago production and design luminary, Margaret Nelson, for the CDHP oral histories archive. Margaret recounted for us her many years as a lighting designer in the dance community, working in spaces as distinct as Links Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Navy Pier. While remaining one of the most sought after designers in Chicago dance, she has shared her expertise with students … Continue reading Dance and Design with Margaret Nelson

Conversations on Chicago Dance: Founding and Sustaining a Company

On April 27, 2016, CDHP and many members of the community gathered at the Newberry Library to hear from three founding artistic directors – Joel Hall, Dame Libby Komaiko, and Hema Rajagopalan – about what it takes to sustain a dance company in Chicago. Why start a company? “I craved dance,” Joel Hall simply stated. He started Joel Hall & Dancers in 1974. That same … Continue reading Conversations on Chicago Dance: Founding and Sustaining a Company