Patti Eylar: Ballet in Chicago

IMG_0010Patti Eylar kickstarted our summer interview series with a tour of her extensive archives, meticulously catalogued in photo albums and binders and arranged chronologically around her dining room table.

Patti entered Chicago’s dance scene in 1977 when she joined the Chicago City Ballet under the instruction of ballet legend Maria Tallchief. Nineteen at the time, Patti lived at the 3Arts Club with other female artists. Patti remembers Chicago as feeling like “a city without a company.” When Chicago City Ballet dissolved, Patti danced with Ballet Chicago for several years.

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Having never considered it before, Patti began teaching when Tallchief asked her to lead a creative movement class. Today, she operates Chicago Ballet Arts and teaches throughout the city at places such as the Lou Conte Dance Studio and with companies including Giordano Dance and Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre. Additionally, Patti’s repertoire includes a spot-on Maria Tallchief impression.

-Catrien Egbert

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