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Dance Notes: the accidental archivist

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Having recently tried to clean my desk, I can only regard with amazement the possibility that all the press releases, photos, and programs I accumulate might someday seem worthwhile to someone. Consider the case of Ann Barzel, a Chicago dance critic and historian who's been writing about dance locally and nationally for at least 50 years: she contributed more than 300 boxes of such materials to the Newberry Library in 1982, a collection that's still growing. Now the library is naming the dance research area the Ann Barzel Room and holding festivities in her honor.

In an associated exhibit, "Shall We Dance? Evolving Patterns in Chicago Dance," the Newberry illuminates such Chicago dance greats as Loie Fuller and Doris Humphrey, both natives, as was Bob Fosse, who took his only dance classes at a Chicago neighborhood school. One gallery of the exhibit is devoted to dance in Chicago from the 1860s to 1940, while a second covers the scene over the last 55 years. The exhibit, which runs through March 30, is free to the public; the galleries are open 8:15 to 5:30 Monday, Friday, and Saturday and 8:15 to 7:30 Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The Barzel fete is Thursday, February 1, beginning at 7 PM; it includes champagne, tours, a talk by Barzel, and a performance by the River North Dance Company; the cost is $25, $20 for Newberry Associates. The Newberry Library is at 60 W. Walton; call 255-3700 for tickets and information.

--Laura Molzahn

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