Over the past two decades, Madison has become a second home for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.
The Wednesday, March 20 performance with Alonzo King's LINES Ballet marks the 24th appearance by the contemporary dance ensemble at Overture Center (and before that, the Civic Center).
“You create a relationship with not only the theater but with the community, the public,” said Glenn Edgerton, the company’s artistic director. “Being a more contemporary, progressive company, it resonates with the feel of Madison. These are people with dance and theater experience.
“The audience gets us — the response is so warm and generous.”
While Overture Center’s season has occasionally been light on dance, Hubbard Street is the one ensemble that seems to always find a space. The company visited every year between 1994 and 2002 and 2004-2010.
Hubbard’s last visit was in February 2012, at which the dancers performed two long works: “Three to Max,” a 40-minute set of pieces by Ohad Naharin, and “Too Beaucoup” by Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar.
Part of Hubbard’s appeal may be that they are not a single-choreographer company like those led by Martha Graham, Paul Taylor and Alvin Ailey.
That variety immediately attracted Kristen Brogdon in the late 1990s, when she was still a student at the UW-Madison Bolz Center for Arts Administration.
“I remember being bowled over by the incredible fluency of the dancers,” said Brogdon, who has worked with Hubbard Street since 2007, as general manager since 2011. “To see the versatility of the dancers ... and the concept that a company could do such wide-ranging choreography all in one program, it was remarkable.”
Brogdon points to both Hubbard Street’s geographic location and the range of its programming as part of why the company has been so successful here.
“It’s still rare for an American company to offer that variety and aesthetic difference,” she said. “The audience knows the repertoire of Hubbard Street almost as well as our Chicago audience, and has also gotten to know the dancers.”
Hubbard Street is deliberate about its outreach, too. There have been workshops for nondancers, talkbacks before the shows, improvisation classes and more. People who attend workshops become future ticket-buyers.
“The behind the scenes work we do in the community ... it’s very important,” Edgerton said. “We come there and I feel like we integrate.”
Wednesday’s program includes a new collaboration between Hubbard Street and LINES Ballet, choreographed by LINES artistic director Alonzo King. “Azimuth” has had two performances so far, in Berkeley and Chicago.
Also on the program will be King’s “Rasa” from 2007 and “Little Mortal Jump” from Hubbard Street, a piece by Alejandro Cerrudo that premiered in March 2012.