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"'Chicago has the opera and the symphony, what they need is a ballet.' If I've heard that one time, I've heard it a dozen."

women ballerinas wearing pointe shoes in a black and white photograph

Patti Eylar is a dancer, educator, and philanthropist. She moved to Chicago from California in the late 1970s to dance for the Lyric Opera Ballet. She was a founding member of the Chicago City Ballet under Artistic Director Maria Tallchief and danced with Ballet Chicago from 1987-1993. Eylar has served on the boards of many dance organizations, teaches at several Chicago dance studios, and co-directs Chicago Ballet Arts. In 2011, she received the Ruth Page Award for her contributions to the Chicago dance community. 


June 27, 2017: Patti Eylar’s interview surveys the Chicago ballet scene from the 1970s to the present from her perspective, first as a dancer for the Chicago City Ballet and Ballet Chicago, then as a teacher and board member for various dance organizations. She recalls working with Maria Tallchief and Dan Duell and traces the effects of history on the current Chicago dance landscape.

"'She would walk into a room and you would know. You would feel her presence."

"We were small, but we were pretty good

at what we did...We were here...

we were a real thing!"

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