Page, Ruth, 1899-1991. Papers. 1956-1965
Ruth Page, American dancer, choreographer, and director of ballet companies, was born in 1899, the daughter of a physician in Indiana. Her dance studies began with local teachers in Indianapolis. Like many a young girl, she was inspired by seeing Anna Pavlova perform, and actually did perform with the legendary dancer's troupe during a tour to South America in 1918. Her training continued in Chicago with Adolph Bolm who created The Birthday of the Infanta for her, dancing the role with Bolm's Ballet Intime at the London Coliseum in 1920. Her varied performing career included being premiere danseuse with Chicago Allied Arts from 1924-1927, Irving Berlin's Music Box Revue, a brief time with Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, touring the Orient and Moscow in the late 1920's, solo tours throughout the United States, touring with Harald Kreutzberg 1932-1933, and premiere danseuse with the Chicago Grand Opera Company from 1934-1937. Chicago was her base, having married the successful lawyer Thomas Hart Fisher, who also managed her dance career affairs. With her partner Bentley Stone, she formed Page-Stone Ballet Company in Chicago in 1938. Page was one of the first to tackle American themes in her dances including the ballad of Frankie and Johnny (choreographed with Stone), Poe's poem The Bells, and the story of a revivalist preacher Billy Sunday. She worked with the Chicago Lyric Opera and toured a Chicago Opera Ballet company, introducing many great dancers to the American public, including Rudolf Nureyev's New York City debut in March, 1962. With the resources of a successful husband, she commissioned scores from Aaron Copland, Darius Milahud and others, designs from Isamu Noguchi, Pavel Tchelitchev, and André Delfau, whom she married in 1983, many years after the death of Thomas Fisher. She wrote two books, Page by Page and Class. The recipient of the Dance Magazine Award (1990), the Illinois Gubernatorial Award (1985) and several honorary degrees, she died in Chicago April 7, 1991.