“The Italian term, impresario, simply means to be a connector. In the 18th century, responsible for hiring a composer, gathering costumes, musicians,
Helen was serious about continuing the Rondo on a larger scale, and even formed a 501(c)(3) not for profit corporation “To educate the members in the appreciation of the various arts and to stimulate interest in art in all its forms.” She also dreamed up a small facility to house the Rondo – with a tea room and performance space, and had an architect draw up her plan. But it was not to be. In Sybil’s words, “Circumstances were such that we never had another Rondo performance, but actually the five events seemed to make a complete whole.”
Architecture was a deep interest for Helen, who had photographed notable architects from FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT to MIES VAN DER ROHE and had worked with ROBERT SEYFARTH in the design of the Morrison residence in Northbrook. In 1951 she decided to design and supervise the building of Sybil’s new studio-residence, after finding no architect whom she felt had any idea what a dancer needed. (According to Sybil, “Her grandfather was an architect and Helen simply did things by instinct and a lot of talking.”) It was rare for any dancer to have a studio-residence like Sybil’s, and it was featured in Dance Magazine in November 1953.
Photography was Helen Morrison’s primary focus, but as her collaboration with Sybil grew, other dimensions of her artistry began to emerge. Besides serving as Sybil’s lighting designer, she next took on stage design in 1957, reworking the space where Sybil’s early group dances were performed at the Winnetka Community House. When Sybil became Artist-in-Residence at the National College of Education in Evanston in 1963, she had full use of their Arnold Theatre with stage dimensions matching those of Carnegie Hall. When the college decided to redo the stage, Helen handled the selection and purchase of all equipment, saving thousands of dollars and creating a perfect setting for Sybil’s company. By 1969 Helen was even listed occasionally as costume designer.