In the Beginning (1988 – 1994)

    • 1988 Lane Alexander and Kelly Michaels establish alexander-michaels/Future Movement – a tap and modern dance repertory company
    • 1990 am/FM presents the first Human Rhythm Project (HRP) at Northwestern University and the Gus Giordano Dance Center, featuring 2 days of classes and 1 concert. The proceeds are donated to Open Hand/Chicago
    • 1992 Scholarship Program begins with four scholarship students
    • 1993 HRP moves downtown, offering 3 concerts at the Harold Washington Library Auditorium and 7 days of classes in an abandoned dance studio on Wabash Ave
  • 1994 HRP launches National Tap Day concerts and moves the week-long festival downtown to the Harold Washington Library Auditorium

. . . the beat accelerates . . . (1995 – 1998)

  • 1995 Kelly Michaels passes away and am/FM’s annual program – the Human Rhythm Project – becomes the sole activity of the company. Four new works are commissioned in Kelly’s honor and the Scholarship program is expanded to $10,000.
  • 1996 The name “am/FM” is retired and Chicago is added to HRP. The festival expands to two full weeks and EIGHT concerts selling more than 3200 tickets at the HWLA. The JUBA! Award is initiated.
  • 1997 CHRP moves the festival classes and concerts to the Athenaeum Theatre and presents its first international company – Sheketak – from Israel.
  • 1998 Pulse Production invites CHRP to co-produce a PBS documentary with WTTW/ITVS and “JUBA!” is filmed at the summer fest. TARGET and American Airlines become first major corporate sponsors.

. . . CHRP rebounds . . . (1999 – 2001)

  • 1999 CHRP skips a beat (no summer fest) while completing post production of JUBA! Richard Weinberg donates $50,000 and becomes the first Honorary Founder
  • 2000 JUBA! is aired nationally on PBS and receives an Emmy nomination for outstanding documentary. The summer festival and National Tap Dance Day Concerts are resumed. ArtsBridge invites CHRP to join the non-profit incubator at the Athenaeum and CHRP opens its first office.
  • 2001 The Winter Tap Jamboree is initiated and a long-term collaboration is initiated with MCA, Columbia College, and Northwestern University that will enable CHRP to present annual programs in multiple venues throughout the city.

. . . the Project soars . . . and then . . . (2002 – 2010)

  • 2002 – 2007 CHRP builds a multi-venue, year round presenting season including Global Rhythms at the Harris Theater, initiates outreach programs with Gallery 37, Chicago Park District and Urban Gateways, takes a cast of 80 dancers and musicians to China and becomes the first year-round presenter of American tap and percussive dance in the world. The budget grows from $167,000 – $1.1 million.
  • 2008 – 2010 The real estate/banking bubbles burst, CHRP embarks on a major organizational culture shift, reduces programming and completes a three-year strategic plan in time for its 20th Anniversary. The culture shift and plan emphasize board leadership, professionalization of staff, individual donor cultivation, earned income and the creation/acquisition of a new facility.

. . . sustaining CHRP’s future , , , (2011 – 2012)

  • 2011 The Collaborative Space for Sustainable Development concept captures the imaginations of major funders, art partners, and CHRP board. Pam Crutchfield’s lead gift catalyzes support within the dance/funding communities as an intensive search leads to the Fine Arts Building in the heart of the city.
  • 2012 Support for staff, general operations and capital for what is now known as the American Rhythm Center surpasses the $1.2 million mark including a $310,000 gift by Elain Cohen and Arlen Rubin. The ARC begins limited operations in July and hosts a grand opening in September.

. . . next steps . . . (2013 – 2015)

  • 2013 – 2015 Classes at the ARC take root and CHRP begins the process of charting next steps as it approaches its 25th Anniversary. A comprehensive campaign to support all of CHRP’s program, staff, capital and reserve needs is drafted with funding consultants at the Grant Park Group, Adela Sajdel is hired as CHRP’s first Executive Director.