Hubbard Street 2 & CityDance Conservatory Dancers at Strathmore by Breena Siegel

The CityDance Conservatory and Chicago-based Hubbard Street 2 of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago joined forces over the weekend to perform an array of celebrated works. Hubbard Street 2 is the apprenticeship program of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, a prominent dance company that began in 1974. CityDance is intent on bringing professional dance companies to share the stage with their own conservatory dancers and this weekend’s program was a fine example of their mission in action.

CityDance Conservatory Dancer Alexandra Grayson. Photo by Theo Kossenas – Media 4 Artists.

Hubbard Street 2 was the highlight of the evening. Their work was presented in three pieces: Lickety-Split, …and other stories of imperfection and Recall. The caliber of the dancing was superb. The dancers took the word movement to the next level and let their own personal styles radiate. Each dancer moved effortlessly with the music for all three pieces.

Lickety-Split, choreographed by Hubbard Street’s Alejandro Cerrudo, featured three pairs of dancers moving to the love-shaking sounds of Devandra Banhart. This wasn’t your typical triple duet. It was lively, fresh and full of funk. The dancers flowed beautifully in pairs. The dancing was especially impactful in between song changes, which allowed for moments of intimate silence where the only sound was the dancers grazing the floor.

…and other stories of imperfection came in the second act. A duet choreographed by Alice Klock and performed by Hubbard Street 2’s Felicia McBride and Andrew Wright. This piece was raw and volatile. The dancers weren’t dressed up for the performance. Their attire was simple and inviting. We could have been in a quiet private space with them, possibly their bedroom or house. The piece offered a window into what was seemingly a complex relationship between two individuals. This was illustrated in the emotionally charged and passionate body language.

Recall, the third piece presented by Hubbard Street 2 and choreographed by Robyn Mineko Williams was electrifying. It involved intentional walking, a task that the dancers effectively accomplished. At times all the dancers would be on stage walking in random directions, while one dancer amongst them broke into feverish dance. The movement felt limitless; the dancers used every part of the body with creative guise. This was a strong component of the overall choreography from Hubbard Street 2 – the dancers unashamedly stepped into daring and expressive movement.

Robert J. Priore, the Choreographer-In-Residence at the CityDance Conservatory, presented three works in the evening’s line-up: going nowhere<getting somewhere, Through the Trees, and My Heart Has Four Corners. going nowhere<getting somewhere is a work in progress that includes an array of music from Nina Simone to G. Prokofiev. Both going nowhere<getting somewhere and Through the Trees were heavy pieces with complex, layered choreography. My Heart Has Four Corners was an elegant and satisfying piece danced by two pairs. The dancers were all in red and moved succinctly with grace.

CityDance Conservatory also presented works by Kaitlin Madzelan (Talking Bones), Ashley Canterna (Morning Passage), Megan Adelsberger (I Remember), and James Boyd (Paja). Also included was Brutal Beauty, a work in development that shows great promise. Brutal Beauty is choreographed by Christopher K. Morgan, Artist in Residence at CityDance and Artistic Director of local contemporary dance company, Christopher K. Morgan & Artists. Brutal Beauty is commissioned by The Phillips Collection for their upcoming exhibit Angels, Demons, and Savages.

HS2 dancer Lissa Smith. Photo Credit Todd Rosenberg Photography.

It’s great to see a local company focused on bringing the best contemporary dance to Washington DC. It’s exciting to be in the audience witnessing the connection made first-hand. I only wish more world-renowned dance companies continue to share their artistic strength with Washington audiences.

Hubbard Street 2 & CityDance Conservatory Dancers played on November 3, 2012 at The Music Center at Strathmore’s CityDance Studio Theater – 5301 Tuckerman Lane, in North Bethesda, MD.


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