Last week I had the pleasure of ushering at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Volunteering as an usher is a great way to see shows around the city for free (my little secret to you). And the MCA is a great place to see performances because they have a wide variety of productions from theatre to dance.
I was lucky enough to see danc(e)volve: New Works Festival by Hubbard Street Dance. Although there were a few times that the ensemble pieces lacked synchronicity, the great thing about contemporary dance is quite often there are many things happening on the stage at once. This helped to mask the moments that needed the dancers to be in sync. I also witnessed a dancer lose her footing in one piece, but I don’t think anyone else noticed. Despite having said all of this, I still enjoyed the show. However I must admit that the choreography was not that innovative. Especially after recently having seen a private rehearsal by Hubbard Street Dance where the choreography was inventive and intriguing. The story that was told in the rehearsal piece was much more clear to follow than any of the ones at danc(e)volve: New Works Festival. Yet, it was fascinating how the choreography was able to convey humor at times without the use of dialogue. One audience member I spoke to who has been following Hubbard Street Dance for decades told me that she’s noticed the choreography become more emotive over the years. I would also have to say that I did not like the video plopped in at the end of the first act. It was endearing to see the teachings and relationships the company made while travelling the world, however I think only a short clip of the film would have sufficed. I would have preferred to see more dancing instead.
In both the rehearsal and the performance, there were male duets that were not only athletic but also sensitive and creative. But kudos must go out to all the dancers for their abilities and stamina.