Newberry Library celebrates Chicago's dance history in new exhibit

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Hubbard Street Dance Chicago has been bringing the strident spirit of the city to audiences worldwide for more than four decades. Now the group's artistry is being featured in a new exhibit at the Newberry Library called "The Legacy of Chicago."

Alison Hinderliter is the exhibit's curator. She says the Second City set the stage for dance history.

"New York has the famous companies and the famous choreographers, but a lot of them came from Chicago so we were a big training ground for them in the early part of the 20th century," she said.

For example, Chicago's fantastic teachers drew Gene Kelly to the city for a short time in the 1930s.

The first recorded instance of a dance recital occurred in Chicago in 1838. Since then, the city has exploded the art of dance in all forms, from square dancing in Grant Park to indigenous dancing at a pow-wow at the Field Museum.

"We celebrate all kinds of dance that happened here," Hinderliter said.

Racism meant segregated dancing schools. Katherine Dunham was a University of Chicago graduate who excelled with her talent and African American troupe.

World-renowned prima ballerina Maria Tallchief founded the Chicago City Ballet. Her pointe shoes are in the exhibit along with those of the legendary Anna Pavlova.

You can see the Legacy of Chicago Dance at the Newberry through July 6.
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