Hubbard Street Dance Presents RE/CONNECT: Program A Review — Minimalist Stagecraft Spotlights Talent

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As the dynamics of the song change from pianissimo to fortissimo, and the articulation of the pianist transitions from staccato to legato, glissando, and back again, each dancer matches their movements to the music. At times, it feels like each dancer is channeling the musical notes with such specificity that they themselves have been programmed with the sheet music akin to a player piano.  

This is Little Rhapsodies choreographed to Robert Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes, Opus 13 as performed on piano, and the third of four performances in Hubbard Street Dance’s first major live programming since the pandemic. 


Simple Design Elements Let Hubbard Street Dance’s Choreography Take Center Stage

In this piece as in all four performances of RE/CONNECT, the way in which minimalist stagecraft choices were used struck this reviewer as perfect choices to highlight the talent and raw physicality at the heart of Hubbard’s storied dance company.  While costuming and lighting are present in each of RE/CONNECT’s works, the design remains minimal from piece to piece. Simple lighting effects that change the positive and negative space on the stage floor or highlight a specific space for a soloist subtly support the pieces on stage while allowing the focus to remain on each choreographer’s work and the movement of each dancer.  The power of this stagecraft to highlight the dancers’ prowess was all the more engaging because each of the four performances were otherwise so varied, one from the other.

In the opener, As the Wind Blows, (choreographed by Amy Hall Garner) all begins with arresting silence.  Each dancer is silhouetted against a scrim—radiantly lit in a sunrise burst of oranges, yellows, and blues. We then begin to hear the work’s tapestry of music by Laura Nashman, Carl Craig, Francesco Tristano, and Aaron Copland), Music and movement combine to convey the desired themes of resilience and joy that the choreographer notes in the program book by saying “we still have to stay the course and do what we do.”

In some ways the performance that followed -- Ohad Naharin’s B/olero—continued this theme of reflecting on the every day—in this case a gesture-rich movements that reflect and refract the dynamics of domesticity.  There are  just two of Hubbard Street’s dancers: Alyssa Allen and Jacqueline Burnett. Unlike other works that choose Maurice Ravel’s Bolero, this version feels almost carnivalesque with the predominant instrument being a sci-fi synthesizer propelling the music and the dance in a more stylized manner. 

Darrell Grand Moultrie’s Dichotomy of a Journey rounds out the evening of dance, leaving the evening on a joyous high note thanks to the lyrics of gospel-infused musical choices like Encourage Yourself by Donald Lawrence, as performed by The Tri-City Singers. Moultrie comments in the program that “this is a really difficult moment, but also a beautiful moment for those of us who have the opportunity to share art.” For this reviewer, getting to experience four diverse dance pieces certainly underscored the vitality thar stems from convectively experiencing art.

Whether you’re new to contemporary dance or are eager to catch up on live performance after two years sheltering in place, RE/CONNECT is an excellent option to consider. Showcasing the diverse work of four different choreographers, Program A exposes viewers to world premiere works and old favorites, making it a welcome introduction or return to Hubbard Street and the world of dance.


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Program A: Thru March 6, 2022
Program B: March 9 through March 13, 2022


Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

220 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611




For tickets and more information visit Hubbard Street Dance’s website.


Photos courtesy of Hubbard Street Dance. 


Brent Ervin-Eickhoff

About the Author: Brent Ervin-Eickhoff

Brent fell in love with storytelling as a 2nd grader, making a movie about wizards in his backyard with his mother's borrowed camcorder. Since then, he has worked on countless creative projects as a filmmaker, writer, and stage director. In all of his work, Brent's goal is to foster creative experiences that offer others a deeper understanding of the impact their choices have on the world around them.

When he isn't working on a creative project, Brent enjoys trying out new recipes, attending live concerts, and playing Ultimate Frisbee. While he wouldn't claim to be particularly athletic, competing in pick-up games where "spirit of the game" is just as important as skill is right up his alley.

Read more about him and other Picture this Post writers on the Picture this Post Masthead.

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