Happy Birthday to Ann!

Birthday gal!

Broadway legend, dancer, singer, actress and choreographer Ann Reinking turns 62 today.? Reinking is in town helping Thodos Dance Chicago (TDC) rehearse for the return of last season’s premiere The White City:? Chicago’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, which they are performing this Saturday at the McAninch Arts Center at the College of Du Page (tickets: 630.942.4000).

Last night I had the unbelievable luck and privilege of being invited (thinks to Jay Kelly of LC Williams and Assoc who handles PR for TDC) to a private gathering at Artistic Director Melissa Thodos and her husband Rick Johnston’s home in the Gold Coast in honor of Ms. Reinking.? The small gathering of twenty or so people included a few TDC board members, Emmy-winning filmaker Chris Olsen and an array of Chicago dance legends:? Ron De Jes?s, Cheryl Mann, Michael Anderson, Stephanie Martinez Bennit and Broadway and Chicago theater veteran Mitzi Hamilton.? I especially enjoyed having a fun, “off the record” conversation over wine with Hubbard Street director Glenn Edgerton and was honored to sing Happy Birthday to Ms. Reinking (we joked that she was cringing inside at the group being so off key).

Many thanks to Melissa, Rick and Jay – and a happy birthday to Ann!

 

Moving Up

Dancers David Schultz & Alice Klock in "I Can See Myself in Your Pupil". Photo by Todd Rosenberg.

For two of the three new dancers added to Hubbard Street Dance Chicago‘s (HSDC) roster this season, it was a new road traveled.? Alice Klock and David Schultz – 23 and 24 respectively – are the first two dancers to move up the HSDC chain from summer intensive students to members of HS2 to being promoted to the main company.? All in two years.

Both dancers hail from Michigan, but the similarities in dance beginnings end there.? Schultz stated dancing at five taking tap (he wanted to be Donald O’Connor), then began taking ballet classes with his older brother Nick.? Once hooked, he took numerous summer workshops that eventually led to an apprenticeship (while still in high school) and then a full-time position with the Grand Rapids Ballet, where he danced for over four years.? Klock didn’t start dancing until age 11 with ballet classes.? She quickly took to the form and three years later attended a summer program at San Francisco Ballet, where she decided she wanted to be a professional dancer.? She went to Interlochen Center for the Arts for high school and after two years at Dominican University, figured it was time to start her professional career.

Here’s where there stories come together.? Both attended the HSDC summer intensive in 2009 and were asked to join the second company HS2.? Landing here happen almost by accident, but now they couldn’t be happier.? “I’d known a little bit about the company, but once I got here, I realized how much I really loved the whole philosophy and the rep,” says Klock.? Schultz agrees.? “Just learning the rep I thought ‘this is it’!? This is what I want to do.”? Their success ties into the larger HSDC mission of nurturing the next generation of artists.? “David and Alice are great examples to a bigger mission of mine, which is to mentor young dancers and prepare them for a profession in dance rather or not they continue with Hubbard Street or not,” says Artistic Director Glenn Edgerton.? “They’ve matured so quickly in all ways, both in their dancing and also in their understanding of how to approach their work creatively and practically.? I feel we have been able to tap into their talents and start to challenge them toward their potential.”? That potential will be challenged this season with having to learn the previous repertoire that includes masters like Ohad Naharin, Nacho Duato and Jir? Kyli?n, as well as new company works by a range of choreographers from Resident Choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo to the legendary Twyla Tharp (her world premiere hits the stage this Thursday, Oct 13th).

Alice Klock & David Schultz in "Harold and the Purple Crayon". Photo by Todd Rosenberg.

No one is more proud of these two dancers than HS2 Director Taryn Kaschock Russell, “I’m so proud of them!”? After thriving under her guidance in the second company, Klock attributes much of their success to her.? “Taryn is amazing,” she says before class last Tuesday morning.? “She’s such a caring and passionate leader.? Taryn really looks at each dancer in the second company and finds what exactly it is that will take them to the next step.? Because of that, we progressed really quickly.”? With this close bond, Kaschock Russell was the perfect person to ask what it is about these two that impressed her.? On Schultz:? “He is a never-ending ball of energy and curiosity.? He is willing, always.? He has grown exponentially over the course of two years and added texture and versatility to his already dynamic stage presence.? He soaked up every bit of information that he could get his hands on from me and all of the choreographers and colleagues he worked with.? Don’t get me wrong, he’s also a handful – in a wonderful way.? You have to keep your eye on that one.”? On Klock:? “Alice has an intelligence that often stops me in my tracks.? When I first began working with her, I was taken by her physical beauty and long lines.? When she attended the summer program, she was very timid and a bit like a young fawn on those beautiful legs of hers.? During her two years with HS2, she went from that understated shy presence, unsure of her place in the room, to eating up the stage with her every movement.? She commands attention, her stance is strong and her gaze unyielding. ”

Come see Klock, Schultz, along with new HSDC company member Garrett Anderson this week (Oct 13 – 16) at the Harris Theater (205 E. Randolph)as Hubbard Street presents their Fall Series.? On the program, a world premiere SCARLATTI by Twyla Tharp, Nacho Duato’s Archangelo and Walking Mad by Johan Inger.? Tickets can be purchased by calling 312.850.9744, 312.334.7777 or by visiting the Harris Theater box office.

HSDC Announces 2011-2012 Season

HSDC dancer Jessica Tong in Sharon Eyals "Too Beaucoup". Photo by Todd Rosenberg.

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (HSDC) announced its 2011-2012 season today. Some Twyla, some Nacho, some Forsythe, some old, some new, a little Harold, LINES and a lot of Cerrudo. On paper, it already looks amazing. On stage, it is not to be missed. Under the direction of Glenn Edgerton, HSDC has continued to show an international audience why they are one of the best. Flawless technicians, intuitive artists, open and honest performers and consummate professionals.

Next season opens with the company at the Harris Theater in October. Nacho Duato’s gorgeous Arcangelo (if you were lucky, you saw it last fall), Johan Inger’s Walking Mad and a world premiere from Twyla Tharp (working with the company again after a 15 year absence) launches the new season. HSDC switches it up for the Winter Series in January, by performing a slew of new works on the MCA Stage and presenting danc(e)volve: New Works Festival. Edgerton will curate the show featuring pieces picked from the company’s Inside/Out Choreographic Workshop, two winners from the annual National Choreographic Competition and HS2 will perform a world premiere from HSDC Resident Choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo.

Springtime brings HSDC back to the Harris for a power-packed program bringing back Sharon Eyal’s techo-intense Too Beaucoup (a huge hit from this year’s Spring Series), Alonzo King’s Following the Subtle Current Upstream (which audiences will see in the upcoming May Summer Series) and another world premiere by Cerrudo, his 10th in four years as Resident Choreographer (keep them coming please!).

In December, HS2 bings back the delightful children’s program Harold and the Purple Crayon: A Dance Adventure. Choreographed by HSDC dancer Robyn Mineko Williams and HSDC Artistic Associate Terrance Marling, Harold wowed the sold-out crowds at its premiere, enthralling parents and kids alike. (Case in point: I’m not sure who enjoyed it more – me or my 6-year-old goddaughter!) Rounding out the season, the company revisits Cerrudo’s Maltidos and Ohad Naharin’s THREE TO MAX (which just had its premiere in March) and presents the much-anticipated company premiere of William Forsythe’s Quintett. Of course, this is just the Chicago concert series. The company is always busy touring, cultivating the collaborations with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (now in its 9th year) and the Art Institute of Chicago and doing community outreach through the Chicago Public Schools.

Merde to HSDC for what will undoubtedly be another outstanding season of dance!

HSDC Announces 2011-2012 Season

Dancer Jessica Tong in "Too Beaucoup". Photo by Todd Rosenberg.

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (HSDC) announced its 2011-2012 season today.? Some Twyla, some Nacho, some Forsythe, some old, some new, a little Harold, LINES and a lot of Cerrudo.? On paper, it already looks amazing.? On stage, it is not to be missed.? Under the direction of Glenn Edgerton, HSDC has continued to show an international audience why they are one of the best.? Flawless technicians, intuitive artists, open and honest performers and consummate professionals.

Next season opens with the company at the Harris Theater in October.? Nacho Duato’s gorgeous Arcangelo (if you were lucky, you saw it last fall), Johan Inger’s Walking Mad and a world premiere from Twyla Tharp (working with the company again after a 15 year absence) launches the new season.? HSDC switches it up for the Winter Series in January, by performing a slew of new works on the MCA Stage and presenting danc(e)volve: New Works Festival.? Edgerton will curate the show featuring pieces picked from the company’s Inside/Out Choreographic Workshop, two winners from the annual National Choreographic Competition and HS2 will perform a world premiere from HSDC Resident Choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo.

Springtime brings HSDC back to the Harris for a power-packed program bringing back Sharon Eyal’s techo-intense Too Beaucoup (a huge hit from this year’s Spring Series), Alonzo King’s Following the Subtle Current Upstream (which audiences will see in the upcoming May Summer Series) and another world premiere by Cerrudo, his 10th in four years as Resident Choreographer (keep them coming please!).

In December, HS2 bings back the delightful children’s program Harold and the Purple Crayon: A Dance Adventure.? Choreographed by HSDC dancer Robyn Mineko Williams and HSDC Artistic Associate Terrance Marling, Harold wowed the sold-out crowds at its premiere, enthralling parents and kids alike.? (Case in point:? I’m not sure who enjoyed it more – me or my 6-year-old goddaughter!)? Rounding out the season, the company revisits Cerrudo’s Maltidos and Ohad Naharin’s THREE TO MAX (which just had its premiere in March) and presents the much-anticipated company premiere of William Forsythe’s Quintett.? Of course, this is just the Chicago concert series.? The company is always busy touring, cultivating the collaborations with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (now in its 9th year) and the Art Institute of Chicago and doing community outreach through the Chicago Public Schools.

Merde to HSDC for what will undoubtedly be another outstanding season of dance!