Monday July 16 2:28 am

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Hubbard Street Dance - Winter Series, “An Evening of Crystal Pite”

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The stage was stark, unrelieved black, a half-circle of standing spotlights at the rear, with a glaring white spot clicking on and off illuminating the dancers in the first selection. They wore black pants and black suit jackets over white shirts. The onstage ambiance and costuming remained the same through all three pieces.

“A Picture of You Falling”, a 18-minute duet featuring Jacqueline Burnett & Elliot Hammans, is about a couple who are trying desperately to get together, but missing every opportunity to connect. Although Burnett and Hammans make ‘bonelessness’ look easy, almost sliding across the stage, every body movement features precise foot placement. Kate Strong’s comments, voiced over Owen Belton’s discordant electronic music – knees, hip, elbow, shoulder, head – are reflected by the dancers’ movements.

I think “The Other You” featuring Andrew Murdock & Michael Gross, might have been my favorite. The two dancers, almost perfectly matched – same height, same shaped face, same colored hair – frequently mirrored each other in movement. The 19-minute piece began with a short bit of Belton’s electronic music, but most of the piece was performed to Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”.

“Grace Engine” featured Craig D. Black Jr., Rena Butler, Jacqueline Burnett, Alicia Delgadillo, Kellie Epperheimer, Elliot Hammans, Alice Klock, Myles Lavallee, Adrienne Lipson, Ana Lopez, Adam McGaw, Minga Prather, David Schultz and Kevin J. Shannon. The 27-minute piece was performed to more Belton third electronic music, punctuated by roars of an engine, traffic and street noises and amplified footsteps. The dancers are constantly moving into long rippling linear connections, one formation melting into the next and the next and the next, and harshly spotlighted solos.

There is no doubt that Crystal Pite is a creative visionary with a knack for taking dancers out of their bodies, but here’s the thing - I really missed seeing the creative variety usually present in a HSD performance.

Although the Winter Series has concluded, Hubbard Street Dance’s season will continue in 2018 with the Spring Series, “An Evening of Alejandro Cerrudo” March 23rd and 24th at the Auditorium Theatre. The Summer Series, June 7th through 10th, returns to the Harris Theater with a full evening-length work reimagining Ohad Naharin’s “Minus 16”. Hubbard Street Dance is a resident company at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park, 205 East Randolph, Chicago. By the way, parking is available in the Millenium Garage at a reduced rate with a ticket validated in the lobby. A much less expensive parking option ($15) is the garage on Randolph between Michigan and Wabash ( with a short walk through the Randolph Street Station to the Harris Theater). FYI www.hubbardstreetdance.com.