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This post is a little on the late side, so the upshot is this: go see Hubbard Street Dance Chicago at the Kennedy Center tonight. If you like modern dance, or have been meaning to see some out but haven’t had the chance, now’s the time.
1. Because their dancers are incredible technical movers, bordering, in my opinion, on virtuosic. Clearly they’re all ballet-trained, but the movement isn’t, thank god, mostly balletic. There’s a dose of jazz in there, some funkiness, lots of gliding and flowing and hips rolling; it’s tricky, tough choreography that the dancers pull off perfectly. And not just the women; the men at least match them in style, elegance, and attention to detail.
2. Because each of the three pieces in tonight’s show is a terrific example of that rare thing: smart choreography. And not just the movements. The lighting design, composition, music, themes, and pacing are consistently interesting and unpredictable, but never indulgent. Sounds simple to pull off, but believe me, it’s not.
3. Because it’s not often that you get to see something truly beautiful that’s live onstage in front of you. Not cloyingly beautiful, not cheesily beautiful, and not necessarily stereotypically beautiful. No, it’s one of those ideal performances that starts out riveting and remains captivating throughout—the kind where your mind turns off and you’re simply there, paying attention. Particularly lovely are the closing duets in both the second and third pieces.
Was there anything I didn’t like? Sure, I’m a little over the man-lifts-woman thing: the company’s women are strong and the men are graceful, so there’s no good excuse for not switching things around from time to time. And Friday night’s performance had a technical glitch that changed the dynamics of the show a bit. That’s about it, though; frankly, I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t love this performance.
But there aren’t many tickets left, so get yours now!