Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s core purpose is to bring artists, art and audiences together to enrich, engage, educate, transform and change lives through the experience of dance. Celebrating its 38th season in 2015–16, Hubbard Street continues to be an innovative force, supporting its creative talent while presenting repertory by major international artists.
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago grew out of the Lou Conte Dance Studio at LaSalle and Hubbard Streets in 1977, when Lou Conte gathered an ensemble of four dancers to perform in senior centers across Chicago. Barbara G. Cohen soon joined the company as its first Executive Director. Conte continued to direct the company for 23 years, during which he initiated and grew relationships with both emerging and established artists including Nacho Duato, Daniel Ezralow, Jiří Kylián, Ohad Naharin, Lynne Taylor-Corbett and Twyla Tharp.
Conte’s successor Jim Vincent widened Hubbard Street’s international focus, began Hubbard Street’s collaboration with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and cultivated growth from within, launching the Inside/Out Choreographic Workshop and inviting Resident Choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo to make his first work. Gail Kalver’s 23 years of executive leadership provided continuity from 1984 through the 2006–07 season, when Executive Director Jason Palmquist joined the organization.
Glenn Edgerton became Artistic Director in 2009 and, together with Palmquist, moved this legacy forward on multiple fronts. Inside/Out is now part of a three-pronged strategy for building repertoire, the Choreographic Development Initiative, aimed at being a national model for artistic development while proactively diversifying contemporary concert dance.
Partnerships with the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and other institutions keep Hubbard Street deeply connected to its hometown. To the company’s repertoire, Edgerton has extended relationships with its signature choreographers while adding significant new voices such as Kyle Abraham, Mats Ek, Sharon Eyal, Alonzo King, Crystal Pite, Victor Quijada and Gustavo Ramírez Sansano.
The main company’s 18 members comprise one of the only ensembles in the U.S. to perform all year long, domestically and around the world, while four progressive Summer Intensive Programs bring young artists into its ranks. Hubbard Street 2, its second company for early-career artists, was founded in 1997 by Conte and Julie Nakagawa. Now directed by Terence Marling, HS2 cultivates young professional dancers, identifies next-generation choreographers, and performs domestically and abroad in service of arts education, collaboration, experimentation and audience development.
Hubbard Street’s Youth, Education and Community Programs are national benchmarks for partnership, dance education and urban school research. In 2008, the Parkinson’s Project became the first dance class in the Midwest for those affected by Parkinson’s disease and, with The Autism Project pilot in 2014, it’s now part of Hubbard Street’s growing Adaptive Dance Programs. Youth Dance Programs for students ages 18 months to 18 years emphasize creative expression and are offered year-round at the Hubbard Street Dance Center.
At the Lou Conte Dance Studio — where Hubbard Street began in 1974 — workshops and master classes allow access to expertise, while a broad variety of weekly classes offer training at all levels in jazz, ballet, modern, tap, African, hip-hop, yoga, Pilates® and dance fitness. Visit hubbardstreetdance.com to learn more.
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago last performed for La Jolla Music Society in the Dance Series on February 29, 2008.