Hubbard Street Dance returns to Aspen for two nights
The Aspen Times
IF YOU GO …
What: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
Where: Aspen District Theatre
When: Friday, July 20 & Saturday, July 21, 8 p.m.
How much: $36-$94
Tickets: Wheeler Opera House box office; aspenshowtix.com
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago has established itself among the most innovative and boundary-pushing contemporary dance companies in the U.S. over the past 40 years.
The Chicago-based company has been coming to Aspen for about half that time. Hubbard Street was among the first guest companies that Aspen Santa Fe Ballet brought to town in 1999 and has been a key influence on the locally based company.
Hubbard Street resident choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo has made new works here with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, most recently the 2015 ballet “Silent Ghost.” The companies have often swapped choreographers and ideas and, recently, a dancer: the former standout Aspen Santa Fe Ballet company member Craig Black joined Hubbard Street this season, uniting with his husband in the Chicago company’s ranks.
Hubbard Street returns to the Aspen District Theatre tonight and Saturday night, in a three-piece program celebrating its 40th anniversary presented by Aspen Santa Fe Ballet.
The weekend’s lineup includes an expanded, 45-minute version of Ohad Naharin’s 2000 piece “Minus 16”; Cerrudo’s latest, titled “Out of Your Mind”; and the acclaimed Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite’s “Solo Echo.”
I spoke to Hubbard Street artistic director Glenn Edgerton in a recent phone interview from Chicago.
Aspen Times: This tour marks Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s 40th anniversary. How have you been celebrating?
Glenn Edgerton: We’ve had a great year. We started celebrating last summer with a retrospective program where we brought some of the late works from Lou Conte, our founder, and we had a program that had an overview of four decades at Hubbard Street, and we had a site-specific program choreographed by Peter Chu where we took over the Harris Theater. The performance started in the lobby, and from there people were routed through various pathways in the building and everyone ended up on the stage. That was fun and unique for the audience to realize they were onstage when the curtain came up.
And we did a full evening of Crystal Pite’s work. And in the spring we did an all-Cerrudo program and an all-Naharin program, called “Decadance/Chicago,” a collage of his repertoire.
AT: Here in Aspen, we’ve gotten to know Hubbard Street quite well over the years, through guest performances and Cerrudo’s work with the Aspen dancers. Tell me about the relationship between the companies. What does Aspen Santa Fe mean to Hubbard Street?
GE: Tom Mossbrucker and Jean-Philippe Malaty (Aspen Santa Fe’s artistic and executive directors) are my oldest friends. I’ve known Aspen Santa Fe from its inception when they were in Snowmass, where it was just a small little school. I recall the beginning. I was out there teaching with Aspen at the start. So I have a fondness and a great admiration for what Tom and JP have done. It’s phenomenal how they’ve made it into an international company. I’m so proud of their accomplishments. And I know the dancers. I’ve worked with them and set one of (choreographer Jiri) Kylian’s works there several years ago. Tom and I are often talking about choreographers, sharing videos of people who are interesting for their company and ours. It’s a constant conversation about the dance world. Aspen Santa Fe Ballet is one of my favorite companies in the U.S.
AT: You’ve been looking back during this 40th anniversary season. What are you looking forward to at Hubbard Street?
GE: I want to be a catalyst to make dance as universal an art form as, say, baseball or football or the symphony or going to the museum. Let’s say you come to Aspen, you know Aspen for skiing, the same way someone comes to Chicago for the Cubs or the great restaurants. But I don’t want someone to leave without seeing Hubbard Street. I want them to think of it as a destination for dance.
AT: How do you do that?
GE: You constantly need to create a cultural event with every showing. I’m always trying to make it more then just a repertory program, more of a cultural experience. That’s one of my lofty goals: making Hubbard Street the most innovative dance company we can be and that there is. That innovation is only yet to be seen. And you can only do that by creating new work with great choreographers and emerging choreographers and in collaboration, too. We did a program several years ago with Second City, people still talk about that. We’re looking toward how to collaborate with other organizations of like minds. Soon we hope to bring together Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and Hubbard Street, as well.
Marilu Henner won’t be able to appear in Theatre Aspen’s production of “Love Letters” on Saturday at Paepcke Auditorium.