On March 2nd and 3rd, 2019, two internationally-renowned and innovative contemporary dance companies, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (HSDC) and Cuba’s 6-year old Malpaso Dance Company, (MDC) shared the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University’s landmark stage at 50 E. Ida B. Wells Drive, Chicago as part of the theatre’s Made in Chicago 312 Dance Series.
The engagement featured two world premieres: Elemental, a work for MDC created by Chicago-based choreographer and former Hubbard Street dancer Robyn Mineko Williams commissioned by the Auditorium; and The Windless Hold, set on HSDC, choreographed by Malpaso Artistic Director Osnel Delgado, and commissioned by HSDC.
In the first half of the program, HSDC reprised Williams’ 2017 piece Cloudline, and Osnel Delgado performed his duet piece Ocaso. Cloudline, called “visually stunning” by See Chicago Dance, is set to music by Olafur Arnalds, Sufjan Stevens, Emitt Rhodes, Alice Sara Ott, and Julie London. Ocaso chronicles the evolution of a relationship in the aftermath of a catastrophic event and is set to music by Autechre, Kronos Quartet, and Max Richter.
The afternoon show on March 3rd opened with Cloudline, which has been called “a gorgeous recounting of paralyzing emotions and the risks one must take to achieve a higher level of human consciousness.” The piece begins and closes with 7 HSDC principals enveloped in a breeze-blown layer of parachute silk. To music of various composers, some reminiscent of Latin dances, the HSDC dancers enmesh, lift and bear each other about in a complicated and fast-paced series of passionate encounters.
Ocaso (Twilight) has been described as perhaps Delgado’s most complete work, “With its engaging choreography, compelling narrative of a couple’s life together and adroit dancing”.
At the dance’s inception, Osnel Delgado and Alicia Delgadillo present their backs to the audience before entangling in a wonderfully intricate duet. Throughout, their arms define space as they execute a myriad of complex maneuvers; they twist, turn, roll, fall to the floor, and he lifts her impressively from impossible stances.
The first half of the program flew by and the second brought the world premieres of Elemental and The Windless Hold, both showcases for MDC and HSDC, who share the ability to convince an audience they can do virtually anything dance choreography requires. Both works are inspired by feelings about lost loved ones, both convey a sense of intimacy and immediacy, both are set to an intense and poignant soundcape.
While Elemental calls up a kaleidoscope of life images amid taped Havana street sounds, Windless surrounds an incredibly fluid central duet, stunningly and poignantly executed by Adrienne Lipson and Andrew Murdock. The program closed with all the dancers converged on stage, triumphantly moving about in excited half- steps and bowing to well-deserved ovation.
Kudos to lighting designers Burke Brown, Matt Miller, and Manuel Da Silva, for brightening the space; to Loosebrains sound design and Robby Haynes, musical supervisor, for the aural ambience and Branimira Ivanova for the terrific costumes.
For information and tickets to all the great programming at The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, go to www.auditoriumtheatre.org