Hubbard Street/LINES Ballet collaboration official
A year ago, on the strength of rumors and industry scuttlebutt, I surmised that Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet would join forces in the near future. But when Hubbard announced that this summer would bring King’s choreography into Hubbard’s repertoire for the first time (Following the Subtle Current Upstream, made for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 2000), I figured that was that.
This morning brought official confirmation that last winter’s buzz did in fact have legs. With significant assistance from a $50,000 award from the Joyce Foundation, San Francisco’s LINES and Hubbard Street will begin rehearsals toward the end of the 2011–12 season on a new work to be performed by members of both companies. A joint tour will follow its Chicago premiere next summer.
HSDC director Glenn Edgerton tells me by phone that he began discussing the project with King about a year ago, when Edgerton held an audition for Hubbard’s Summer Intensive at the LINES studios while King’s company was rehearsing. “I was enthralled with the way he was challenging the dancers and what he was able to get out of them,” says Edgerton.
Currently, there are no plans for the work to be “modular”; neither company will come away with its own version. “[King] came to the conclusion that, as he goes into choreographing, he doesn’t want to have, in the back of his mind, ‘Okay, now how am I going to restructure this later so Hubbard Street can take it out, and [LINES] can take it out separately?’” But if independently performable versions appear feasible “as a byproduct,” Edgerton adds, “then certainly we’d be open to that.”
It’s unlikely the creative process will occur in either company’s hometown; Edgerton says it’s the perfect occasion for residency in a university’s dance program. And rightly so: As Hubbard Street continues to perfect its fluency with gravity and natural movement, so LINES extends King’s research into an exploded, organic take on classical ballet technique. How the two styles interact could neatly encapsulate many exciting tensions within choreography today.