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"Art for Heart's Sake"

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Choreographer/dancer Paul Christiano is mounting a show to benefit the Make-A-Wish foundation. I'm posting his advertising e-mail because it makes an eloquent statement about the place of the arts in our world:

Please join Paul Christiano and over thirty members of the Chicago dance community for an evening of kinetic editorials on life's most inexhaustible subject.

Friday, May 26 8:00 PM & Saturday, May 27 8:00 PM


The Ruth Page Center

for the Arts

1016 N. Dearborn

Chicago, IL 60610

Ticket Prices:

$15.00 (Adults)

$10.00 (Students/Seniors)

Ticket Information:

(312) 337-6543

$1.50 service charge for credit card purchases

Dear Friends of Fine Arts,

As indispensable as the Performing Arts were to my life, I'd always regarded Arts & Entertainment as a non-essential commodity (e.g., When educational institutions fell on hard economic times, the Music Program was usually the first to be sacrificed). Surely mankind required little more than food, water, and shelter to survive. The Arts are a self-indulgent luxury, I'd concluded, a means for the artist to expand his ego, to hear himself talk via clay, paint, chords, or celluloid. As a professional dancer, I'd frequently felt the need to shroud my head in the presence of doctors, parents, schoolteachers, the myriad service professionals who worked tirelessly to refine and provide humanity's essential commodities. Who was I, essentially, but a circus freak who derived fulfillment from being the center of attention? What was I giving back?

A couple years ago, I donated a piece of choreography to Faubourg Ballet Theatre (Hanover Park, IL) for a dance concert fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. (For those not familiar with the charity, Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of terminally ill children [those falling short of cancer cures, of course] to help cultivate some semblance of a life beyond radiation treatments and hospital food. There are, as you can imagine, far more wishes submitted than are capable of being granted. Donations help to rectify that imbalance.) For the first time in my professional career, I didn't feel the need to apologize for being a dancer. I started researching the charity on my own, and discovered to my astonishment an overwhelming number of terminally ill children who longed to immerse themselves in the Arts, if only for a day. If Arts & Entertainment can mean that much to a dying child, I reasoned, perhaps I should re-evaluate the essentialness of my profession. If a terminally ill child speaks for anything, it's for Quality of Life. Since my first exposure to Make-A-Wish three years ago, I've rediscovered the art of dance as an opportunity to garnish the bare necessities with the qualities that make life all the more precious: Humor, Insight, and (when a choreographer hits his mark) Beauty.

Venetia Stifler, Director of the Ruth Page Foundation, Chicago's most prestigious school of ballet, has graciously donated the Foundation's in-house theatre to me for two evenings Memorial Day Weekend. Margaret Nelson, Production Manager for Dance Chicago, the city's most widely-attended dance festival, and a number of her colleagues, have generously volunteered their technical expertise, and over thirty members of the Chicago dance community are currently sweating it out free-of-charge to help me reconstruct four of my signature works (formerly in the repertories of The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, River North Chicago Dance Company, Thodos Dance Chicago, and Illinois Ballet Theatre) and launch one premiere to be presented Friday, May 26 and Saturday, May 27, at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts.


Art For Heart’s Sake


No person truly succeeds who does so only to improve the quality of his own life. Please consider attending this concert a small step toward achieving richer success.


Paul Christiano

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