Theater archives



High-Octane, Charismatic Dancing Seeks Choreography To Match

Hubbard Street 2, the second company of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, may be chamber-size, but its young dancers possess enough exuberance to fill a stadium. The group cultivates robust technique—evidently built from training in a mix of genres—and strong, blessedly unaffected personalities. It also prides itself on commissioning work from young dance makers. Five pieces, constituting HS2’s New York debut program, proved to be too much of the same thing. The choreography set lots of lusty energy in motion with insufficient originality and equally limited depth. Alex Ketley’s Trace Fulfillment defined the prevalent theme of youth in its gorgeous vitality being subjected to the troubles of its age and turmoil of our times. Millicent Johnnie’s Dirti Rok inflected the subject irresistibly with rhythms from African-derived dancing, while Aszure Barton co-opted minimalism for her noirish I and designed costumes that cannily played urbane tuxedos against bare skin.

Gemütlich Singing Seeks Matching Dance In Novelty Item Uptown

Claiming that its pretty young soprano star Robin Bartunek can dance as well as sing, the Euro-Operetta Company staged Johann Strauss Jr.’s 1899 The Ballerina Fanny Elssler for a couple of performances in public school auditoriums. The production was acted (in English) in a quaint, florid style that was appropriate, if unevenly applied, with makeshift decor, out-of-period costuming, and lighting that left much of the action in obscurity. But the singing (in German), to modest piano and violin accompaniment, was delicious. As for the dancing, Bartunek gave herself a little chaste-nymph solo that might have been designed to link the discrete steps being mastered by second-year pupils in a ballet academy prioritizing simplicity and tidy execution. No reference here to the legendary Elssler’s sensuous allure. No nod even to the lush waltzing that’s the national dance of Straussville. Just a display of the neatest, sweetest pair of legs you ever did see.