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An injury fails to hinder Hubbard

HUBBARD STREET DANCE CHICAGO, Kingsbury Hall, Saturday.

While an injury among the dancers of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago caused a change in the program Saturday, the audience didn't mind. The work that replaced Susan Marshall's dangling pas de deux "Kiss" was Julian Barnett's "Float," a new work that, according to the program, is "in preview."

As it turned out, "Float" was an audience favorite. The dancers — Erin Derstine and Isaac Spencer — moved restlessly across the stage to a music score by Orvar Smarson and Gunnar Tynes.

Striking and sporadic at times, the moves brought to mind Jerome Robbins' progressive work in "West Side Story."

The twist, however, came toward the end when the dancers used a microphone to lip sync and eventually sing some of the lyrics of the techno-based soundtrack.

The night began with Jiri Kylian's "Petit Mort," which means, of course, "Small Death."

Death was represented by women in black, gliding 16th-century gowns, which were used as props as much as costumes. The women would step out of the gowns and dance in corsets with the men.

The men used fencing foils, not so much as weapons in a duel as a symbol for armory, as they danced with the women — or more accurately, as they danced with death.

Artistic director Jim Vincent's "Uniformity" was the company's more overt protest piece, something Vincent has never really done before.

The opening duel was basically an office-politics work. Two suits struggled with their eyes fixed on a projected currency note and a leather chair. The work continued into a school-yard yarn, with the girls and boys dealing with the politics of class and gender.

The finale was an anti-war, military fatigue-inspired psychedelic groove, done to Jimi Hendrix's "Crosstown Traffic."

Closing the evening was Nacho Duato's exotic "Gnawa." The work, inspired by the North African healer, became a spiritual ritual of life. The dynamic movements became a community working together to find inner peace.

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago demonstrated its diversity with these four works and gave Utah audiences a night to remember.


E-mail: scott@desnews.com