Hubbard Street Dance Chicago | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago 

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It's generally acknowledged that a beat-for-beat correspondence between music and dance can get old. But if the music is complex enough, dancing that follows its inflections can be deeply satisfying. When Spanish choreographer Nacho Duato sets his pieces to the Catalan songs of Maria del Mar Bonet, her exquisite timing and shadings form the perfect framework for his lyrical movement. Their collaboration Jardi tancat ("Enclosed Garden") was first performed by Hubbard Street in 1998; during its 25th-anniversary spring season, the company is premiering their Cor perdut ("Lost Heart"). Watching artistic director Jim Vincent rehearse the three casts for this male-female duet, I was struck by its simultaneous freedom, lightness, and groundedness. When the woman walks upstage she does so heel to toe, like a peasant, and Vincent tells the women dancers at one point that their fluttering hands should look not like a peacock but like someone "pushing the chickens" in front of her. Watching each other dance or moving together, the couple is both plebeian and ethereal; in one phrase, the woman grabs the man around the waist and then floats in a big circle around him, almost as if orbiting him by accident. I'm not quite sure whose heart is broken here--maybe both their hearts are broken--but the dancing is filled with tender and violent gestures: caressing and slapping alike. Also new to the company is Jiri Kylian's No More Play, the earliest of his black-and-white ballets. These two works will be performed on "International Masters," a program that also includes revivals of Jardi tancat and Daniel Ezralow's Super Straight Is Coming Down, Ohad Naharin's Passomezzo, and Kylian's Sechs Tanze ("Six Dances"). See the listing for pieces that are on the next program, "All-American Favorites," which starts Tuesday, April 1. The third and final program of the season, "Passionate and Provocative," runs through April 13. Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph, 312-902-1400. "International Masters" runs through March 30: Friday, 8 PM; Saturday, 3 and 8 PM; Sunday, 3 PM. $25-$70.

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