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Reflections on Ann Reinking's Memorial

Updated: Apr 4

I often lament not being born a few decades earlier. There are so many dancers and choreographers I wish I could have worked with, learned from, and danced beside.

Luckily, in this city I am never far from them. This town is filled with the spirits of all the greats before us. In every theater and every studio.

Yesterday I was reminded of this when I had the privilege of attending the memorial for Ann Reinking, held at the Ambassador Theater (it was open to the public but it still felt an honor to be there). In speeches given by friends and colleagues we learned of Ann’s ballet beginnings. One anecdote I loved was hearing that as a young student, Ann was cast as a “lady in waiting” in a Royal Ballet production when the company came to town. Ann watched and absorbed the performance styles of Dame Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev from right there on stage with them. Who would have ever thought Anne Reinking and Margot Fonteyn performed on the same stage at the same time! The message? We’re all connected.

Of the few hundred people in attendance of this memorial, I could look around and identify her students and colleagues…people who are now my teachers and role models.

Then I raced down to Port Authority to catch my bus out to Jersey to spend the evening teaching my students. Kids who don’t even know they are just 3 generations removed from Ann. 4 generations removed from Fonteyn and Nureyev.

After teaching my kiddos, I raced right back into the city to be a student again and catch Jessica Lee Goldyn's class where I’m surrounded by the city’s current best and brightest in a studio where Ann taught as well. I’m grateful for the generosity of dancers who take the time to pass on what they know to keep this beautiful cycle going. It was full-circle day.

Below is the full memorial with tributes by James Naughton, Dylis Croman, Rob Fisher, Bebe Neuwirth, Ben Vereen.

Ann Reinking All That Jazz Shirts available in the

Listen to our podcast episode on Ann Reinking and Chicago here

or watch below:

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