NOBA's Season Finale Features The Dynamic Contemporary Dance Of Hubbard Street Chicago
The New Orleans Ballet Association (NOBA) presents one of America's most prestigious companies, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (HSDC), for one performance only on Saturday, April 7 at 8 p.m. at the Mahalia Jackson Theater of the Performing Arts. An audience favorite back by popular demand and celebrating 40 years as a driving force of American contemporary dance, the company returns with a special anniversary program of master works from four decades of the company's illustrious history.
From Resident Choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo's newest creation and trailblazing first hit by the brilliant Nacho Duato to the poetic work of Crystal Pite and a jazzy swing classic by founding Artistic Director Lou Conte, this versatile and virtuosic ensemble of 16 dancers will simply "take your breath away." (The Washington Post) Led by director Glenn Edgerton, the program is "a near-perfect storm of movement, music and choreography." (Los Angeles Times) "It is a celebration of everything that Hubbard Street is and has been for the past 40 years. It puts the evolution of the company in the spotlight featuring the most beloved pieces of our history," says Edgerton.
Tickets start at $25 and are available online at NOBAdance.com; by calling (504) 522-0996; in-person at NOBA's Box Office, 935 Gravier Street, Suite 800; or through Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com. Discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more, students and seniors are also available. A pre-performance talk with Artistic Director Glenn Edgerton will begin at 7:15 p.m. on Mezzanine Level M2 of the Mahalia Jackson Theater.
The 40th ANNIVERSARY PROGRAM
In 1978, Broadway dancer and choreographer Lou Conte founded what is now Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and over the next 23 years, the company developed into one of America's premier dance companies with a stellar repertoire of works by the world's leading dancemakers. As part of the 40th Anniversary program, the company pays tribute to the early days with a revival of the longtime signature finale by Conte, The 40s. Set to bandleader Ralph Burns's rousing take on Sy Oliver's Opus One, and Burns's own V.J. Stomp, this joyous, full company work is "inventive in its use of the old standards, big-band sounds and the jitterbug dance forms of the period," raves The LA Times. "I was born in 1942 during the war, and remembering how happy everyone was when it ended, shooting guns in the air and beating on washtubs, was one of my first memories as a child, says Conte. It was a very celebratory feeling, and that's always what I tell the dancers when they are learning The 40s."
Opening the program is Jardi Tancat (1983), the breakout masterpiece by Spanish choreographer Nacho Duato originally created for Nederlands Dans Theater. Under Conte, HSDC was one of the first American companies to acquire works by Duato. Jardi Tancat means "Enclosed Garden" and is articulated by the simple set of fence posts placed around the edge of the stage. The dance is to Catalonian folksongs that were based on old popular Majorcan texts set to music and voice by Maria de Mar Bonet. The work is a poignant story of the daily life of hardship, work, love and loss of people who worked the barren land.
Glenn Edgerton was appointed artistic director in 2009 and has continued to expand the repertoire with works by internationally renowned artists and emerging choreographers. One of those celebrated voices is award-winning Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite. Pite made her choreographic debut in 1990, has created more than 40 works for prestigious dance companies worldwide and directs her own company Kidd Pivot. The duet, A Picture of You Falling, is Pite's first work added to the HSDC repertory and is "a sleek, witty, virtuosic and emotionally driven piece of dance theater that is a natural fit for Hubbard Street." (Newcity Stage) Set to the vocals of Kate Strong reading original text by Pite with music by Owen Belton, the piece demonstrates how the simplest gestures can convey profound meaning.
Also in 2009, HSDC dancer Alejandro Cerrudo became the company's first resident choreographer. Hailed by Newcity Stage as "the choreographic genius of Hubbard Street Dance," Cerrudo has created more than 14 works for the company, and has become a widely popular choreographer whose ballets are in high demand. The program includes PacoPepePluto (2011), three clever and athletic male solos to songs crooned by the "King of Cool," Dean Martin and his brand new piece, Out of Your Mind, premiering March 23-24 in Chicago as part a full-evening program honoring Cerrudo's work and career with Hubbard Street.
In the Community
From April 4-6, HSDC artist Craig Black will conduct technique classes and repertory workshops for NORDC/NOBA Center for Dance. On Friday, April 6 from 10:30 a.m. to noon, Black will teach a teen/adult ballet master class open to the community. For more information and to register for the class, visit NOBAdance.com.
About the Company
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's core purpose is to bring artists, art and audiences together to enrich, engage, educate, transform and change lives through the experience of dance. Celebrating Season 40 in 2017-18, Hubbard Street, under the artistic leadership of Glenn Edgerton, continues to innovate, supporting ascendant creative talent while presenting repertory by internationally recognized living artists. Hubbard Street has grown through the establishment of multiple platforms alongside the Lou Conte Dance Studio - now in its fifth decade of providing a wide range of public classes and pre-professional training - while extensive youth, education, community, adaptive dance and family programs keep the organization deeply connected to its hometown. These programs are models in the field of arts education, linking the performing company's creative mission to the lives of students and families. Hubbard Street also initiated the first dance-based program in the Midwest to help alleviate suffering caused by Parkinson's disease. Youth dance program classes at the Hubbard Street Dance Center include creative movement and progressive study of technique, open to young dancers ages 18 months to 18 years. At the Lou Conte Dance Studio, workshops and master classes allow access to expertise, while a broad variety of weekly classes offer training at all levels in jazz, ballet, dance fitness, modern, tap, African, hip-hop, yoga, Pilates and more.
Glenn Edgerton, Artistic Director
Edgerton joined Hubbard Street Dance Chicago after an international career as a dancer and director. At The Joffrey Ballet, he performed leading roles, contemporary and classical, for 11 years under the mentorship of Robert Joffrey. In 1989, Edgerton joined the acclaimed Nederlands Dans Theater, where he danced for five years.
He retired from performing to become its artistic director, leading NDT for a decade and presenting the works of Ji?í Kylián, Hans van Manen, William Forsythe, Ohad Naharin, Mats Ek, Nacho Duato, Jorma Elo, Johan Inger, Paul Lightfoot and Sol León, among others. From 2006 to 2008, he directed the Colburn Dance Institute at the Colburn School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles. Edgerton joined Hubbard Street as associate artistic director in 2008. Since his appointment as artistic director in 2009, he has built upon more than three decades of leadership in dance performance, education and appreciation established by founder Lou Conte and continued by Conte's successor, Jim Vincent.
Lou Conte, Founder
After a performing career that included roles in Broadway musicals such as Cabaret, Mame, and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Lou Conte established the Lou Conte Dance Studio in 1974. Three years later, he founded what is now Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Originally the company's sole choreographer, he developed relationships with emerging and world-renowned dancemakers Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Margo Sappington, and Daniel Ezralow as the company grew. Conte continued to build Hubbard Street's repertoire by forging a key relationship with Twyla Tharp in the 1990s, acquiring seven of her works as well as original choreography. It then became an international enterprise with the inclusion of works by Ji?í Kylián, Nacho Duato, and Ohad Naharin. Throughout his 23 years as the company's artistic director, Conte received numerous awards including the first Ruth Page Artistic Achievements Award in 1986, the Sidney R. Yates Arts Advocacy Award in 1995, and a Chicagoan of the Year award from Chicago magazine in 1999. In 2003, Conte was inducted as a laureate into the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, the state's highest honor, and in 2014, was named one of five inaugural recipients of the City of Chicago's Fifth Star Award. He has been credited by many for helping raise Chicago's international cultural profile, and for creating a welcoming climate for dance in the city, where the art form now thrives.