It was a night of celebration in the Harris Theater, which is Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s home theater. My coworkers Daniel, Miranda and I were in our seats and could feel the excitement buzzing -- everyone was ready for the opening night of Hubbard’s 40th anniversary season. The curtain opened, and off we went on a journey through Hubbard Street’s past and present with a collection of pieces from Hubbard Street through the years.
In the first half of the evening, we were presented with One Flat Thing, reproduced choreographed by William Forsythe. The movement was thick in nature, complex and intricate by design, and expertly performed by the Hubbard Street dancers. Just the image of 20 metal tables perfectly aligned on stage is striking, but then the dancers maneuver, jump, slide and glide over them, and I was immediately sucked in.
The second half continued further back into the earlier days of Hubbard Street, with an energetic and contagiously joyous The Golden Section, choreographed by Twyla Tharp. With the dancers dressed in golden ‘80s work-out gear complete with golden leg warmers and tennis shoes, they shimmy, shake, and high kick with full-on energy and enthusiasm. I could not stop smiling the entire time -- both because of the incredible athleticism, as well as the classic ‘80s vibe.
Next we arrived at the pieces choreographed by Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s founder, Lou Conte. A throwback to Hubbard’s earlier days, Georgia was a sweeping, nostalgic duet performed to Hoagy Carmichael’s “Georgia on My Mind,” sung by Willie Nelson.
Finally, with The 40s, Hubbard Street truly knows how to go out with a bang. This piece was full of stylized movement, black and white bowties, Broadway flash, and jazz hands -- all executed by some of the best contemporary movers around. You’ll be toe-tapping and smiling the whole way through, and I guarantee you leave with a pep in your step.
The whole evening was celebratory -- recognizing 40 years of an amazing leader in the contemporary dance world, but also a look at dance in general -- how it’s evolved, grown, shaped, and moved us. You will not want to miss these pieces and more performed by Hubbard Street Dance when they return to the Northrop stage in January. There’s a little something for everyone, and a whole lot of dance to celebrate.
Forty looks good on you, Hubbard Street. You certainly age well. Here’s to many more!