New Voices Soar With Legendary Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

December 28, 2023
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in BUSK

Check out these featured facts before the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago performance on Jan 25 at Northrop.

Lou Conte

Archival photo courtesy Lou Conte Dance Studio (LCDS).

Hubbard Street’s Globetrotting Grooves Return

Born out of a desire to bring highly entertaining dance performances to senior centers across Chicago, acclaimed dancer, choreographer, and teacher Lou Conte assembled a group of just four women in 1977, calling them the Hubbard Street Dance Company. After capturing the hearts of the local community, the company steadily grew with the help of the founding executive director, Barbara Cohen, and took on a life of its own. Despite being based in Chicago, the company has performed in more than 19 countries and 44 U.S. states, bringing their ever-evolving contemporary dance repertoire to communities across the globe! This will be the company’s fourth performance at Northrop—their most recent being in our 2017-18 season. Read what Lou Conte had to say about performing at Northrop back then.

The Artistic Baton

Artistic Director, Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell, began her professional dance career at the age of 19 in none other than the main company of Hubbard Street. Not only has she performed all across the United States, dancing at the White House State Dinner honoring the President of Kenya, Mwai Kibaki, as well as the 12th Annual Kennedy Center Gala with Nancy Wilson and Liza Minelli, but Fisher-Harrell has performed all over the world. She’s even danced on Sesame Street! After a remarkable career as a dancer and educator, Fisher-Harrell ascended to Artistic Director of Hubbard Street in 2021. She became the first woman and person of color to inhabit that role within the company. Amidst a worldwide pandemic, Fisher-Harrell committed to expanding the company’s repertoire and building upon its strong roots while ushering in a new era for Hubbard Street.

Photo by George Lange.

Aszure Barton’s Beat

The highly acclaimed, Canadian-born choreographer Aszure Barton creates process-focused, innovative works and is bringing her talents to Northrop with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s performance of BUSK. Earlier this year, Barton was named Hubbard Street’s next Resident Artist, marking 20 years since her Hubbard Street debut went on to win Hubbard Street’s National Choreographic Competition. Barton credits this win as the moment that inspired her to pursue a full-time career in dance. Since then, Barton has gone on to choreograph for the Threepenny Opera revival on Broadway, various film and installation works, and participate in international outreach projects such as Kenya’s Earth Project: Healing the Rift, a ceremony honoring the environment.

Hubbard Street Dance teacher and student work on movement together.

Photo courtesy of Hubbard Street Dance.

Dance for every-BODY

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago is on a mission “to awaken the human spirit through contemporary dance.” Their Adaptive Dance Program strives to increase accessibility and support for everybody in the world of dance. Through expanded online and in-person classes with developmentally appropriate and visually specific supports and customization, Hubbard Street’s Adaptive Dance Programs include Sensory and Spectrum Friendly and adaptive ballet instruction, videos, and guides. Known also for their Parkinson’s Project, a dance program with free weekly classes for those with Parkinson’s disease, Hubbard Street expands opportunities for everyone to succeed at and enjoy dance.

Lasting Connections and Familiar Faces

Among Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s expansive repertoire, audiences will have the chance to see works by Rena Butler, Lar Lubovitch, Kyle Abraham, and Aszure Barton. Audiences may recognize these artists from previous Northrop appearances and partnerships. The acclaimed Chicago native, Rena Butler, has most recently been featured in Northrop’s presentation of Hubbard Street Dance: Chicago Dance Films, bringing the artistry and activism of dance to communities amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. The versatile, New York City-based Lar Lubovitch has brought the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company to Northrop as early as 1977, mesmerizing audiences with his signature lush aesthetic. The highly creative and awarded Kyle Abraham presented A.I.M by Kyle Abraham at Northrop in collaboration with the Walker Art Center, sharing his avant-garde, genre-defying work with the community; and Hubbard Street’s newest Resident Artist, Aszure Barton, most recently ignited audiences with her highly innovative, emotional, sensual, and humorous Aszure Barton & Artists repertoire in 2016.


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This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.