I see Hubbard Street 2 as the train that Taryn (Taryn Kaschock Russell, Director, HS2) so often compares the company to. Most of the time it’s moving at warp speed, sometimes it’s relentlessly chugging along, and sometimes the group stops for much needed rest, but only sometimes. The conductor may be different, the passengers get on or off, but the idea behind it and the goal that it is presented with each year is the same: to take these nine (for the first time this year!) young and brilliant artists to their next beginning. It is to take them to what lies ahead. Although of course Hubbard Street Dance Chicago is the goal of most, if not all HS2 members, the train doesn’t only stop there. Each person eventually gets in their own personal car and takes themselves where they’ve needed to go all along, with or without being aware of it.
This is what I have come to know at the ripe age of 24; things happen the way they are going to happen. People believe that they happen because you want them to or don’t; that we can make anything we want happen regardless of our surrounding environment. Others believe we have no control over anything; that life is set for us and that we’re along for the ride. Still more believe that life consists of random occurrences; that we are made of timing and location. My thoughts are somewhere in the middle of the circulating ideas. My experience has shown me that compassion and hard work can get you where you want to go. It has shown me that you truly don’t need a shiny school or a sense of self-importance. It has shown me that with kindness and ambition in your back pocket anything is possible.
Being a member of Hubbard Street 2 changed everything. The two years I spent there, in every aspect and with every individual I encountered, enabled me to move on, to be ready for the next, to be ready for more and to seek it out. It not only gave me the tools and experience I needed but also gave me the confidence and the belief that I had what it took then and that I have something to offer now.
So I say goodbye to Hubbard Street. I was sad to leave the beautiful people who I’d come to know and love, but I am excited for the wonderful individuals I have yet to meet and for the experiences that are yet to be. Hubbard Street showed me that goodness is plentiful and most definitely immeasurable.
A final welcome to the new incarnation of HS2: enjoy the present moment and enjoy the journey to the future!
On a break from teching “Harold” for the first time. One of my first pictures after moving to Chicago. Nick Korkos
by Felicia McBride
I had the wonderful opportunity recently to teach at Hubbard Street’s Iowa City Summer Program for dancers between the ages of 14 and 17. Lissa and I came in at the beginning of the third week of the program to teach some of HS2’s rep. Johnny joined me for the fourth and final week. Overall the experience was wonderful. Getting the chance to see these dancers grow in such a short amount of time is absolutely amazing.
This was my third experience this year in working with and teaching other dancers. Previously we were at the North Carolina School of the Arts in February helping our opposites learn our parts and improve upon them throughout our creation process with Maurya Kerr.
We were also in Stevensville, Michigan in March teaching the dancers at Lakeshore High School. We spent a week at Lakeshore High having multiple improv workshops with many of the high school students. We also created a piece on their most advanced dancers which was added to our program that we performed that weekend.
All three experiences were so different in their own way but all had the same lessons to be learned. I realized that being at the front of the room, being watched and observed by younger dancers, gives me the power to change them.
Whether I change their dancing or maybe just who they are as people, or who they may become one day, I have the chance to be apart of it. I had to bring myself to a new standard, a much higher one. I made it my responsibility and obligation to coach these dancers and show them how great they could be.
In return, whether they knew it or not, they showed me what I could do and how great I could be. Being able to watch young dancers take what you have to say, apply it and see a significant improvement is a such a rewarding thing. It added new color and perspective to my own life that I will always have with me now.
It’s a moment in life that you store in a special place, maybe your heart or your back pocket, that you can always look back on but will always keep pushing you forward.
First Tour/Last Tour
American Dance Festival Dressing Rooms
Another tour for the books, one more to go.
We got to travel with the main company last weekend to the American Dance Festival in Durham, NC. On the program were two performances by the main Company (Quintett, Little mortal jump, Too Beaucoup) and our second-to-last Harold and the Purple Crayon:A Dance Adventure. There were full houses at each show and standing ovations both nights.
But the highlight of the trip was meeting William Forsythe. He was the recipient of the Scripps/ADF Life Achievement Award, and as our director Taryn put it, “an articulate, intelligent, insightful human.”
How incredible is it that within the last three weeks we’ve worked alongside the main Company in process with Alonzo King and mingled with William Forsythe? Two years ago, if anyone had told me I would be in this position I most likely would have laughed and dreamed about it. But this is reality. This is what our life is now. Words can’t describe.
Here’s to one last tour to Aspen, Colorado and cheers to the end of my first full season as a professional dancer!
Happy 4th of July everyone!
HS2 Dancers rehearsing Emilie Leriche’s choreography forInside/Out
Last weekend was Hubbard Street’s annual performance of Inside/Out.
It’s a show created solely from within the Company; dancers and directors choreographing, and it’s a process I was proud to be a part of.
I am sometimes known to change things. To make them more “me,” to ask if we could “do it this way” or perhaps “watch it once and tell me what you think.” With any choreographer that comes in to work with HS2, I of course try my hardest to do what they ask (always loving when it’s not just simple mimicking of steps). But in the case of the last month, in the case of Inside/Out, I feel much more connected to the works being created. Much of the time a friend will laugh at me and say “no, no, this way is fine,” but the other 40% they will truly look at what I am doing and saying and take it into consideration. This is what I love most about this process. Not that I get to change things that I don’t like, but that people consider each other. That it becomes personal to the nth degree. Hubbard Street continually shows its members how much they matter and how valuable their voice is.
This is what I treasure most about dance in general. For me it’s never been about how high someone’s leg can go or how many turns they can do (probably because I’m not super flexible and certainly not a turner), but much more about how they can alter my state of being and what kind of experience they are having right in front me, right in front the entire audience; if they themselves are being changed. That is what I look for when going to a performance and that is what I found over and over again when watching the program last weekend. Choreographers and dancers allowing everything they have to pour into their work, some of which were created in less than two weeks. It’s this commitment that makes going to work every day such a gift.
Taryn Kaschock Russell is Hubbard Street 2’s Director. She reflects here on the end of the season.
I don’t say goodbye.
One of the most difficult parts of directing Hubbard Street 2 is that the Company is more of a mode of transportation than a destination. The passengers are all looking to be moved forward on a very specific track that will take them to someplace far away from where they boarded…
Every year, the company is reinvented; each group, different.
It is the collective energy, the hunger for growth, the investment in change that defines HS2 and everyone involved is transformed, including me.
These artists inspire; they learn with open eyes, open minds and open hearts. Their energy is contagious and can be acquired as quickly as a cold or flu… although once you become infected, there is no cure – you are forever changed.
And as we arrive at this next destination and watch as a few of these passengers depart, we know that we all came together for a beautiful ride…
This is it. Johnny and I are doing this together for the last time.
It felt like something in me became tinted, like the inside of an old car with a bad paint job. Not really sad because I know I’ll see him again, but just not as bright. I’m so freaking happy for him it’s incredible. He deserves this so much, he is incredibly talented and I have learned so much from him in just these 8 months. So of course I’m happy! But knowing this was it caused me to have one of the most emotional and incredible performances I have had. Dancing with Johnny is always an amazing experience, truly incredible. This weekend, though, was different.
I was thinking about things before I climbed onto Johnny’s back. I usually have thoughts going through my head around this time before our duet. Do I need love right now? Or am I angry or frustrated? How is my monster going to look tonight? It was different tonight. I was losing him. Losing Johnny.
When we crawled onto stage with me wrapped around his back I held on extra tight. I bear-danced in the moonlight with him knowing it was going to be the last time we bear-danced together. I hit my chest so hard with my sadness and frustration. I held his head like it was the most fragile thing that I wouldn’t let anything happen to. And those explosions from my chest only happened because it was all building inside me until I couldn’t hold it.
The stage finally went black after Johnny’s last explosion and he grabbed my hand as we both walked to the wing. I couldn’t look or talk to anyone. I ran straight for the crossover and balled my eyes out. I was holding back tears after my third explosion and couldn’t hold them in any longer. They just came pouring down, it was like my eyes were trying to get rid of all the water in my body. I was getting rid of something… something sad.
I just couldn’t believe that we weren’t going to do this again. It’s not fair. It’s not fair that it’s the last time, or that I only got to dance with him for 8 months. It’s not enough time. I missed him so badly already. I didn’t realize this was all going to end until this very moment.
He’s truly amazing, unlike anyone I’ve ever met.