Ann Barzel Dance Research collection




Newberry Library


211.0 Linear feet




Barzel, Ann

Biographical note

In the 1940’s, Barzel became sought after as a knowledgeable and gifted lecturer on dance, as well as a teacher of dance technique. From 1945 to 1961 she took the train to Milwaukee every Saturday and taught ballet classes at the Adele Artinian School of Dance. She lectured on the history of dance at the University of Chicago, Columbia College, and many other institutions. It was during this time that she was also making a regular career out of reviewing dance, theatre, and nightclub events in Chicago. She was dance critic for the Chicago Times, 1946-1950, when she joined Chicago’s American (later Chicago Today), 1951-1974. Barzel also wrote for Dance Magazine for 40 years, covering dance events in the Midwest for the magazine. She wrote for the Lerner Skyline newspapers (Chicago weekly) from 1974 through 2003, for Ballet Review, Ballet Annual, Dance News, and for various other international dance publications.

From 1956 to 1975 she served on the advisory panel for dance for the State Department’s International Cultural Agency, and from 1966 to 1974 as dance consultant for the Illinois Arts Council. Barzel was a founder of the Ballet Guild of Chicago and has served on the boards of many dance and arts-related organizations, such as the Chicago Dance Council, Free Street Theater, Urban Gateways, and Wisdom Bridge Theater. Barzel has frequently been called upon to act as judge, panel participant or field reporter for international dance events. In 1975, Miss Barzel was given an award by the Association of Illinois Dance Companies in recognition of her service to dance in Illinois, and in 1979 she was granted the Governor’s Award for service to the arts. She was placed on the lifetime honors list by the Chicago Dance Arts Coalition in 1986, was recipient of the 1994 Vaslav Nijinsky Medal sponsored by the Polish Artists Agency in Warsaw, and was sole honoree at the 1995 “Toast” to the Cultural Center, sponsored by Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs.

Scope and Contents note

Materials collected by dance critic Ann Barzel, documenting the history of dance in Chicago and worldwide. Research collection includes brochures and other publicity, newsclippings, programs, souvenir books, audiovisual material, posters and prints, photographs, scrapbooks, and artifacts.

Processing Information note

This collection was surveyed as part of the Black Metropolis Research Consortium's Survey Initiative on 2011 April 6 by Lisa Calahan.