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Hubbard Street + Alonzo King LINES Ballet = Brilliant

by Maxine Patronik

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I recently attended Hubbard Street’s Spring Series in March, which was collaboration with Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet from San Francisco and the Chicago-based Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. In short, it was utterly amazing and breathtaking.

The program consisted of three pieces: Rasa performed by LINES, Little Mortal Jump performed by Hubbard St., and Azimuth, the brilliant collaboration performed by both companies.

Rasa, choreographed by Alonzo King, kicked off the program and mesmerized me immediately. Set to an original score by Zakir Hussain, it was captivating and intense. Lasting at least 40 minutes, Rasa was the perfect introduction to the style and movement quality of Alonzo King, rich and instinctual movement paired with the incredible physique of the dancers. I was probably gawking too much at their toned bodies, not to mention the stamina they had! (This made me think of the master class I took last summer with Alonzo King where he told us to work on our “artistic stamina”, and I definitely noticed this in his dancers!)

Little Mortal Jump, by resident choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo, was next in the program. It was a total departure from the previous piece, but incredible nonetheless. The quirky yet technical movements, along with these huge black boxes that were moved frequently throughout the piece, seemed to give it an almost theatrical theme to me. It was so enlightening and amusing, and the music it was set to included Beirut, Phillip Glass, Andrew Bird, Alexandre Desplat, Tom Waits, and so many more.

Finally came the anticipated collaboration, Azimuth. According to Alonzo King, “Artistically azimuth is the distance between where you are (axis mundi) and where you are headed (aspiration, goal) erased by absorbtion.” There were many more quotes and technical definitions of azimuth in the program, which I was grateful for, because I originally had no idea what the word meant! The piece started with both companies onstage, seeming very connected and unified even with different movement phrases. It was so incredible to watch as it progressed, with different groupings of dancers, a fantastic blend of two different companies. I don’t think words can measure up to how amazing it was to watch, but to get a good glimpse, be sure to watch this video!


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