The Chicago Dance History Project (CDHP) seeks to investigate, preserve, and present the oral and corporeal histories of theatrical dance in Chicago. It aims to honor the vast number of national and international dance artists with roots in the city; to surface lesser-known individuals, organizations, and venues that have anchored Chicago’s strong local dance community; and to link various collections of historical knowledge and traditions with present and future generations.
CDHP pursues three primary modes of research: conducting in-depth interviews with area dancers, choreographers, educators, advocates, and others associated with the form; hosting panel discussions and other events that facilitate collaborative explorations of specific historical topics; and discovering and digitizing ephemera held by individuals within the community. CDHP also establishes partnerships with area institutions and individuals housing dance archives in order to link the various strains of knowledge maintained throughout the city.
These recorded interviews and events, along with the digitized supplemental materials, will serve as a public online library and a platform for establishing a body of original and collected research that examines how Chicago has shaped dance — and how, in turn, dance has shaped Chicago — throughout the 20th century and into the present.