DANCE REVIEW: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago at Jacob's Pillow
Review by Seth Rogovoy
(Becket, Mass., August 26, 2010) – The ever-popular Hubbard Street Dance Chicago brought the curtain down on the summer season at Jacob’s Pillow with an atypically dark and serious program of dances choreographed by Batsheva Dance Company director Ohad Naharin, Aszure Barton, and Hubbard’s resident choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo. The company’s dancers, however, were for the most part a bright spot, even when the choreography and lighting challenged dancegoers’ emotions.
With work by Barton and Naharin on the program, the serious nature of the dances didn’t come as any surprise. In fact, the Barton work, a new piece called Untouched, was by the choreographer’s standards downright light in its aesthetic embrace of a theatrical royalty, with a rich, scarlet curtain like the kind found in old movie palaces serving as a backdrop, and the hint of Shakespearean shenanigans found throughout the dance.
Naharin’s work, Tabula Rasa, danced to music by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, served as an exhibition of the company dancers at their best. In various solos, duets, and ensemble numbers, the dancers displayed their flawless technique as well their individuality of expression. In particular, Meredith Dincolo stood out from the pack – partly because she is way tall, but also because she seems to stand shoulders above the rest. She’s one to keep an eye on.
Cerrudo’s dances, Deep Down Dos and Blanco – both world premieres – were more formal exercises, and as such they were somewhat undermined, ironically, by his own corps of dancers, in that their diversity of size, shape, and style worked against the parallelism that such formalism relies upon to get across.
Seth Rogovoy is Berkshire Living’s award-winning editor-in-chief and cultural critic.