My husband, Bernard, treated me to dinner at Tesori and a performance of One Thousand Pieces by the Hubbard Dance Company for my birthday. Here’s my take on the performance. The Tesori restaurant review is coming soon.
When the curtain opens, a solo dancer is going through the motions of a typical day in a Chicagoans life. Assuming that we all wakeup, put on a suit and commute to a office. When the soloist leaves the stage, a series of duos move in and out of the set structured around panes of glass. The tightly orchestrated movement was most impressive.
There were two dancers I enjoyed quite a bit and looked forward to their time on the stage. The male dancer, David Schultz is a diminutive blond of lithe build and fluid grace. I have been to many dance performances but I was never more captivated by a dancer.
There was a female dancer who captivated me to the same degree. Unlike the male dancer’s display of precise and fluid grace, hers were marked by a display of impressive physical strength and control. As she moved, my eyes were drawn to the the sharp contrast of muscle against soft curves. She often danced solo as if her strength did not require a partner. Strong and independent, during scenes of life in the city, she presented the single, independent woman.
As the curtain closed on Act I, the woman next to me gasped and pointed upwards. Following her eyes, I noticed the dancer from the opening scene descending from the ceiling by a harness. He was dressed in his suit as before and began to deliver dialogue in a lyrical vibrato. His speech started with “the day has ended and now we must quiet the mind from the noise and anxiety of the day”. He goes on to set the tone for the next act drawing the image of lovers on a park bench at sunset discussing their love for each other.
ACT II: DANCING ON WATER
The curtain opens to show three panels covered by flowing mist. The setting is a rainy night. Three dancers enter center stage; one man and two women. Their movements include slides across the stage. It took me a few moments to notice that I was actually hearing water splashing as they danced. My husband turned to me and asked, “are they dancing in water”? With just as much awe, I answered “yes”. It was arresting and creative. Sure, dancing in water has been done before but with the night setting, wispy fog and haunting music, the scene was truly captivating.
I connected with this act on a visceral level. As a child, I was always intrigued by the rain; often wishing that I could play in the drops. As an adult, this love affair with rain has not abated. How many of us have wished that we could dance in the rain? I appreciated the show of creatively and a reminder of my childhood fantasy. The audience clapped enthusiastically as the curtain came down.
FINAL ACT: TWITCH
This was the final act which took place after intermission. Although my husband and I left at intermission, Chicago Magazine has made a video of the performance available. Upon watching the video, it’s apparent that the last act is not much different than the Act I. It simply depicted the individuals and groups who once repeated the life movements separately joining as one large group moving in unison.
All in all, One Thousand Pieces was a display of choreopgraphed repitition — but maybe that is the point. As we go about our lives everyday, we complete the same routines constructed of rehearsed movements. Maybe what the artist himself was saying is that peering into one thousand window panes across the city would provide reflections of ourselves and insight into the very similar lives of others.
- Premier of Hubbard Street Dance One Thousand Pieces (Chicago Magazine)
- Video clip of the closing act – Twitch