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Ruth Page, photographed by Charlotte Fairchild, from an advertisement for Cantilever Shoes, 1922
|Born||March 22, 1899
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
|Died||April 7, 1991
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Page was married to attorney Thomas Hart Fisher from 1925–69, and to artist Andre Delfau from 1983 until her death in 1991. She is buried in Graceland Cemetery in Chicago. Page's brother, Irvine H. Page, was a noted physician and scientist.
Born in Indianapolis in 1899, Ruth Page made her professional debut on Broadway in 1917, then with Anna Pavlova’s Company on its tour of South America in 1918, and at Chicago’s Auditorium Theater in John Alden Carpenter’s The Birthday of the Infanta in 1919. She danced ceaselessly for the next 40 years, with Adolph Bolm’s Ballet Intime, on Broadway in Irving Berlin’s Music Box Revue, with the Chicago Allied Arts, Diaghileff’s Ballets Russes, the Metropolitan, Ravinia, and Chicago Operas, the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, Les Ballets Americains, choreographed for all but one of those companies, choreographed the 1947 Broadway show Music in My Heart, and served as director/choreographer for the various manifestations of her own Chicago-based companies well into the 1970s. Among hundreds of dance works to her credit are landmark Americana ballets, dances with words and music, and her innovative opera-into-ballets.
In 1965, she choreographed a large-scale production of The Nutcracker, which was presented annually through 1997 by the Chicago Tribune Charities in the Arie Crown Theatre and featured some of the world’s great dancers as guest artists. She danced with great partners Bentley Stone, Walter Camryn, and Harald Kreutzberg, and worked with the greatest composers and designers of the 20th century, including Aaron Copland, Darius Milhaud, Jerome Moross, Isamu Noguchi, Antoni Clave, George Wakevitch, Nicholas Remisoff, and Andre Delfau. Her ballets have been revived and performed by ballet companies throughout the United States including Chicago, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, New York, and the Dance Theater of Harlem, as well as in Europe. Ruth filmed her ballets throughout her career and several, including Frankie & Johnny, The Merry Widow, and Billy Sunday were made into award-winning television films. She is the subject of two award-winning documentaries: Ruth Page: An American Original (Otter Productions) and Ruth Page: Once Upon a Dancer (Thea Flaum Productions). The Ruth Page legacy lives on in several major archives including the Dance Division at Lincoln Center, the Ann Barzel Dance Collection at the Newberry Library and the Chicago Film Archives.
On retiring from active choreography, Page created the Ruth Page Foundation, which established the Ruth Page Foundation School of Dance, as it was originally known, and which later became the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, as it is known now.
Ruth Page Center for the Arts
Ruth Page Civic Ballet
The Ruth Page Civic Ballet is the official youth training performance company of the Ruth Page School of Dance and one of its Artists In-Residence. The company of talented young dancers is now in its 16th season and was founded in 1998 by Larry and Dolores Long, the original directors of the Ruth Page School of Dance.
Serving as a bridge between ballet training and professional performance, the Ruth Page Civic Ballet provides performance opportunities for advanced dance students from the School as a means of continuing their training. Members of the company will train in this program before moving on to national and international professional dance companies. The Civic's dancers are joined in performances by notable guest artists and choreographers, expanding their sphere of professional work.
Central to the Civic's performance schedule since 2003 is the annual presentation of The Nutcracker. Originally presented in the Arie Crown Theatre from 1965 to 1997, the Ruth Page Civic Ballet performances recreates Ruth Page's beloved original full-length staging. Exquisite dancing, stunning costumes and magical settings in the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of the Sweets, "The Nutcracker" promises world-class entertainment and holiday joy for children of all ages.
Ruth Page Award
- 2014: Diane Rawlinson
- 2012: Sid Smith
- 2011: Patti Eylar
- 2010: Chicago Dancing Festival and its founders: Lar Lubovitch, Jay Franke, and David Hero
- 2009: Pamela Crutchfield and Bill T. Jones
- 2008: Peggy Sutton and The The Mayfair Academy of Fine Arts
- 2007: Gail Kalver, Harriet Ross, and Salme H. Steinberg
- 2006: Billy Siegenfeld
- 2005: Margaret Nelson and Scott Silberstein
- 2004: Keith Elliott and Dance For Life
- 2003: Dame Libby Komaiko
- 1986: Carol Russell
- Claire Bataille
- Jan Erkert
- Winifred Haun
- Timothy O'Slynne
- Venetia Stifler
- Maia Wilkins
- "Ruth Page Center". Retrieved October 2, 2014.
- "Ruth Page Center For The Arts". Retrieved March 15, 2015.
- "Diane Rawlinson profile". ruthpage.org. Retrieved October 2, 2014.
- "Headlines". seechicagodance.com. Retrieved October 2, 2014.
- Whittenburg, Zachary. "Patti Eylar to receive 2011 Ruth Page Award". Time Out Chicago. Retrieved 2011-08-23.
- "Keith Elliott and Dance For Life". theesteemawards.com. Retrieved October 2, 2014.
- Christiansen, Richard (April 30, 1985). "Many Honors For Dance's Ruth Page". Chicago Tribune.
- Anderson, Jack (1991-04-09). "Ruth Page, Dancer, Is Dead at 92; Proudly American Choreographer". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-11-05.
- Ruth Page Dance Collection at Chicago Film Archives
- Ruth Page Nutcracker Papers at Newberry Library
- Ruth Page Works and Memorabilia at Newberry Library
- Ruth Page collection, 1918-1970 Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library
- Ruth Page papers, Additions, 1904, 1977 Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library.