Kevin Shannon and Alice Klock of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in “Little mortal jump” by Alejandro Cerrudo. Photo by Todd Rosenberg
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago fascinated last weekend with their 2012 Spring Series at Harris Theater. A new creation from HSDC’s resident choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo served as the centerpiece of the evening, neatly situated between Alonzo King’s “Following the Subtle Current Upstream” (2011), and Sharon Eyal’s “Too Beacoup” (2011). From sensuous, to suspenseful, to surreal, HSDC exhibited why they exist at the forefront of contemporary dance.
Cerrudo’s “Little mortal jump,” prove a mysterious and winding dance narrative. Its period costuming, magical storyline, and ability to both to intrigue and endear audiences from the first moments makes it a remarkable new work. HSDC’s Kevin Shannon kicks off the wonder by emerging from the audience, performing briefly on stage, then plunging into the darkness of the orchestra pit. Large black cubes sit conspicuously on stage as the curtains open; they move and transform in function throughout the piece. Quirky little bits such as Shannon and Alice Klock sticking to the large black cubes in Velcro suits, and their slow peeling free, punctuate a work that is at once playful, yet vaguely dark. The music takes the dance story on divergent paths, weaving through a vast array of incongruent pieces.
While HSDC’s dancing and acting throughout the work is full of both technique and personality, Ana Lopez and Jesse Bechard shine in a lovely duet. Lopez slips past Berchard, and slides through his arms like a cunning and lovely fish that flits within his grasp, only to swim off again. “Little mortal jump” succeeded in displaying HSDC’s theatrical talents, and enrapturing the audience, which provided a zealous standing ovation.
HSDC also enthralled audiences with reprises of last year’s favorites. King’s “Following the Subtle Current Upstream” provides no shortage of features, in which each HSDC dancer impresses in rapid succession. In an effusion of non-stop stage presence and lovely technique, dancers plunge into the most fluid progressions, as if bubbles gliding through water, then flit about as though pixies, weightlessly skimming the surface.
I savored every second of the visual stunner “Too Beaucoup,” choreographed for the company by Eyal last year. HSDC first performed during the company’s 2011 Spring Series, and the surrealist masterpiece once again held me spellbound with its other-worldliness. Dancers twitch and spasm against techno beats to profound effect. Repetitive movements meeting and diverging from a beating-heart bass line heighten. Every inch of stark costuming (down to the eerie white contacts), which is somehow both overtly revealing and desexualizing all at once, add to the surreal, science fiction feel of this work. “Too Beaucoup” was a gratifying cap to an already unforgettably and wholly mesmerizing evening.