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ACT II: A second look at area stages — Hubbard St. Danc(e)volve

Andrew Wright is among dancers who created works for “Dance(e)volve.” | Cheryl Mann photo

Andrew Wright is among the dancers who created works for “Dance(e)volve.” | Cheryl Mann photo

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When: Thursday through June 9 and June 13-16

Where: Museum of Contemporary Art Theater, 220 E. Chicago

Tickets: $35

Info: (312) 397-4010;

Running time: 110 minutes, with one intermission

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Updated: June 3, 2013 11:41AM

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago has performed the work of many of the great contemporary choreographers on the international scene, from Ohad Naharin, Jiri Kylian and Jorma Elo to Twyla Tharp and William Forsythe. It also has nurtured such younger masters as Aszure Barton, Sharon Eyal and company member Alejandro Cerrudo.

But its quest to identify and support emerging choreographic talent is an ongoing pursuit, enhanced by three separate initiatives:

† Danc(e)volve: New Works Festival, featuring “all new choreography by dancers and for dancers” (running Thursday through June 16 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Theater).

† The Inside/Out Choreographic Workshop, a more informal showcase that gives company dancers a chance to try their hand at dancemaking (with two performances on July 6 at the UIC Theater, 1044 W. Harrison).

† And its annual National Choreographic Competition, which this year has received 80 submissions from around the country and will result in a new work devised for HS2, Hubbard Street’s second company.

Now in its second year, the danc(e)volve: New Works Festival will feature six pieces by five intriguing Hubbard Street personalities. The choreographers include Robyn Mineko Williams (who spent 12 years dancing with the company before retiring last summer); Penny Saunders (another veteran dancer, who just had a baby son with husband and fellow dancer Pablo Piantino, and who is about to resettle in Seattle, where Piantino will pursue a master’s degree); Terence Marling (a former Hubbard Street dancer who, since 2010, has been the company’s artistic associate and rehearsal director); Jonathan Fredrickson (who joined Hubbard Street in 2011); and Andrew Wright (who became part of HS2 in 2011, soon after graduating from Point Park University).

Also on the program will be a 10-minute multimedia presentation designed to give a flavor of Hubbard Street’s spring 2013 tour to Spain and North Africa as part of the U.S. State Department’s DanceMotion USA program. (Only part of the company went abroad; others stayed at home to work on danc(e)volve pieces.)

Here, in the choreographers’ words, is a brief look at what they have created:

Robyn Mineko Williams’ “Grey Horses” (19 min.)

“This is my second piece for the main company, and my idea for the music came first. I made the acquaintance of a Chicago composer and guitarist, Robert F. Haynes, and brought him a three-minute recording of Enrico Caruso singing an Italian aria that was recorded in 1917. I asked him if there was something he could do with it, and he took tiny samples and musical phrases from it, scratches and all, added percussion, and came up with a 19-minute piece. He understood my aesthetics right away, even though he has seen very little dance. My piece, for four men and two women, has five sections, and it has something to do with the idea of mortality, and the marks that people and places leave on you.”

Penny Saunders’ “Adalea” (15 min.)

“This dance touches on some universal human themes of fear and desire, but when I tried to sum that up for a title it sounded so pretentious that I just used the name my husband and I made up when we thought we might have a daughter. [They had a son, named Elias.] I actually created the piece very quickly because I had to get it done before the baby was born, so I began by drawing on some material I had created for a male duet, and expanded it for more dancers. In my head I had images of war — people fighting each other — with a droning noise to start, and then music by Vivaldi and Bellini and others. But on some level it’s a quick look at five stages in a love affair.”

Terence Marling’s “stop … stop … stop” (6 min.) and “ditto” (9 min.)

“Both these works are trios, but not in the standard sense. One is a duet with an ancillary person; the other is a pair of duets with the third man ‘shared.’ “Stop ... stop ... stop’ was inspired by the beautiful, endearing personalities of my dancers, who tend to start sentences and never finish them, and who I observed as they dealt with the unknown when we were on tour in Germany. The other, for a man and two women, also draws on the dancers’ personal qualities, but the big challenge was to live up to the music I use near the end — a small section of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4.”

Jonathan Fredrickson’s “For the Wandered” (18 min.)

“I began with the idea of lost or feral children, using a mix of electronic music, a Bach fugue and a Beethoven piano sonata. But the work, for three women and two men, evolved into a look at a community of equals in which things are constantly shifting. Forming part of the ‘community’ — sort of a lost civilization amidst ruins — are small, gray, fabric-mache sculptures created by Melina Ausikaitis.”

Andrew Wright: “Agape” (17 min.)

“I was reading about the different kinds of love and found this Greek word, ‘agape.’ But as I began work on the piece it became more personal — an exploration of my past two years with Hubbard Street and my relationship to my peers. I’ve used four women and two men, and a wide range of music — from strict piano, to electronic, to strings, to a sort of nebulous vocal background. I never expected to work as a choreographer; it just happened. And I’m already playing around with a more theatrical piece for the Inside/Out program.”

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