Historically charged with reflecting and responding to the human condition, art is notoriously adept in absorbing the inflections of political unrest, fluctuating between suggestion and escapism in rapturous waves. In the case of dance, repertory work that may have once felt light-hearted even five years ago can suddenly feel steeped in sobering innuendo.
So it would make sense that Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s poignant showing of both new and restaged works at the Granada Theatre would feel uncannily like reading the morning edition of the New York Times. There’s Nacho Duato in the International section, creating an elegant case for Catalonia’s embattled bid for independence in the vibrantly executed “Jardí Tancat.” Or “Violoncello,” his satirical Op-Ed piece about a woman’s body being propped up like an instrument (literally, a cello) and used by a man to wield (political) power over her.
Robyn Mineko Williams’s “Cloudline” can be found in Sunday’s Modern Love column, a gorgeous recounting of paralyzing emotions and the risks one must take to achieve a higher level of human consciousness.
And, finally, there’s William Forsythe’s “One Flat Thing, reproduced,” the cover story about a newly discovered utopian society where the virtues of harmony and unification reign confidently over a futuristic landscape of shimmering steel. Here, gender roles have been flatlined to reveal a seamless exchange of instinctive respect and affecting reverence for each member of the tribe, and the results are hauntingly beautiful.