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Hubbard Street Dance Chicago 43rd Season to Kick Off With New Piece by Rena Butler

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New full company piece to debut online October 22.

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's (HSDC) 2020/21 43rd season will begin Thursday, Oct. 22 a 6 p.m. with a virtual premiere presentation of new work from former Hubbard Street dancer and acclaimed choreographer Rena Butler.

The piece will be streamed again Saturday, Oct. 24 at 6 and Sunday, October 25 at 2.

Butler's 25-minute work, entitled "A Tale of Two," was filmed by Talia Koylass. It features music by composer Darryl Joseph, as well as songs by vocalists Shawnee Dez and Alencia Norris. The work is performed by the full HSDC company, featuring cameos from former HSDC dancer Jessica Tong, recently named HSDC's Associate Artistic Director, Jonathan Emanuell Alsberry, HSDC Artistic Liaison, as well as Butler. In addition to the presentation of the filmed piece, there will be a live, interactive conversation with Butler and other members of the creative team. The choreography, casting, rehearsals and filming all taking place during the pandemic required the dancers to perform outdoors at a distance from one another, or in groups of dancers who reside together, while wearing masks.

"Oftentimes growing up during the summertime in Chicago, it was difficult to differentiate whether the loud bangs at social gatherings were fireworks or gunshots. Amidst the multiple pandemics of this year - with protests and the attention to racial disparity, I was compelled to make a work that examined my curiosity of why Chicago constantly feels like two cities in one -from the glamour of the Magnificent Mile to the rampant gun violence that heavily affects our youth and the generations to come within disparate communities. It has always seemed that there has seldom been attention to these communities in Chicago impacted with grief from gun violence," said Butler. "The work seeks to explore the aspects that fuel this cultural dichotomy, thus making Chicago feel like a segregated experience."

Butler's passion for choreography stems from her desire to use her voice to participate in the world rapidly changing around her. Butler's collaborators are some of the biggest influences on her work because of how unique and individual all of them are. "Representation in diversity of body type, complexion, gender and culture is incredibly important so that the viewer can recognize their self and connect to the conversation-whether through art or otherwise," said Butler. "Everyone has their own distinct way of seeing and receiving the world events around them; it makes it so much more fulfilling to investigate with a diverse group of collaborators, because it is essentially a dialogue dissecting the state of humanity-a wonderful, eclectic and invigorating exchange."

Hubbard Street will stream free of charge through Vimeo and on hubbardstreetdance.com, where viewers can RSVP for the event to receive a link via email.


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