One of the last things you would expect to experience during a contemporary dance concert at a prestigious theater is Lil Wayne's hottest new single, bass bumping over the speakers, as some of the world's finest dance artists take the stage. Well, that is only part of what you are in for if you can make it to the Harris Theater for Music and Dance December 6, 8, or 9 in Chicago for the world premiere of Rena Butler's latest choreographic work for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, "III.Third." Rena and the dancers of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago use "III.Third" to examine identity through culture and customs, using references to popular urban culture. DancerMusic's Kristi Licera caught up with Rena during the final week of rehearsal for III.Third to learn more. Here's what Rena told us:
Darryl Joseph is an independent producer with an intricately careful sense of how to put beats together. Originally from New York and now living in Chicago, his solo tracks are often sparse and electronic, and always elegantly designed. He's found himself more and more in demand as more and more people have heard his work, not only as a sought-after collaborator for vocalists, but also for choreographers. His gift for enthusiastic collaboration as much as for composition has led to recent projects with Stephanie Martinez, Christopher Huggins, Nick Pupillo, and now with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Choreographic Fellow Rena Butler. We asked Darryl about a lot of different things --- composing for dance, working with Rena Butler, what's up next for him, and more -- and here's what he told us.
Lou Conte not only has a name that is important to the Chicago dance community, but as the founder of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago he is someone who has changed the history of contemporary dance. He created what is today an internationally acclaimed company that dancers from all over the world dream of being a part of. I myself was one of those young dancers, and Lou helped make my dream come true by bringing me into the company just before he stepped down as director in 2000. Lou will forever hold a special place in my heart, and not only by having initiated my entire dance career. With his values and the standards to which he held his work and company, he helped shape who I am today as a dancer, artist, and now choreographer. Lou is being honored at Chicago's Dance for Life this year, and when I was given the opportunity to talk with him and ask him a few questions, I couldn't help but be thrilled at the thought. Here's what he shared with me:
One of the reasons that Hubbard Street Dance Chicago is known all over the world is because they perform all over the world. Just this summer, audiences in Mexico, Canada, and across the United State have seen them, but when it gets to be the middle of August, if you want to see Hubbard Street perform you have to come to Chicago, and it's been like that for twenty-seven years. Thats how long Hubbard Street Dance Chicago has been performing at Dance for Life -- since the first Dance for Life, and once again this year, they'll be at Dance for Life
Unique, intriguing, and compelling are three words that come to mind when describing Alice Klock. There are a lot of different sides to the Chicago-based artist; Alice is a dancer, a painter, as well as a choreographer. I recently got the opportunity to work with Alice on one of her newest creations with Hubbard Street’s Professional Program (HS Pro). During the process I chatted with her about her choreographic exploration and perspective as an emerging female choreographer. Here is what she told us:
When it comes to dance, Shannon Alvis has pretty much done it all! Not only has she danced with two of the most renowned companies in the world - Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (HSDC) and Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT), she was also a recipient of the Joffrey Ballet’s Winning Work’s Choreographic Competition in 2017. I got the chance to chat with Shannon about some of her most pivotal moments in her career as well as what she is working on next. Here is what she told us:
There are so many interwoven dimensions to Alejandro Cerrudo's creativity that we just knew we had to get a better look at them. One way to do that would be to go see Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's "An Evening of Alejandro Cerrudo" at Chicago's Auditorium Theatre, and the other, while we're waiting to do that, would be to ask Alejandro to tell us a little more about what we'll see. Here's what he told us:
Anyone interested in dance, and in how dance is changing, would want to hear more from Elia Mrak. Elia Mrak has the thorough understanding of movement and dance that you would expect from someone with his touring, teaching and performance experience, but he seems to have a special gift for weaving threads of insight from many places, and from many disciplines, into a new understanding of what dance and movement can be.
It's not difficult to imagine that in ten years or so, a story about the HS Pro Studio Showing might begin with something about some of the great dance careers that began there. Yet as probable as it already seemed that the Hubbard Street Professional Program would be turning out great dance artists, that possibility seems even more likely after their first Studio Showing.
'Pushing the boundaries' is always risky, because those boundaries often enclose what works well. Venturing beyond them requires inventing new ways of realizing an artistic vision, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's Fall Series presentation of Peter Chu's Space, In Perspective was full of hazards. But what Peter Chu and Glenn Edgerton accomplished was something to see, as they quite literally wove new perspectives of dance into, around, and on top of a very different kind of dance concert.