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Dance Sun Jan 22 2012

Memory and the Memorable: danc(e)volve: New Works Festival


Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's Taryn Kaschock Russell and Terence Marling. Photo by Todd Rosenberg.

On an unusually warm early January afternoon, dancers in Hubbard Street Dance Chicago prepared for their latest performance engagement, a festival of new choreographic works at the Museum of Contemporart Art, Chicago (MCA). Robyn Mineko Williams, a company member and second-time choreographer, led her group of four men and two women through a pulsing, sensual rehearsal of Recall, her new work for danc(e)volve: New Works Festival, curated by Hubbard Street Artistic Director Glenn Edgerton. Co-presented by MCA stage and Hubbard Street, the festival feature new choreographic work by developing choreographers from a guest artist as well as Hubbard Street dancers and directors.

In this 15-minute debut, Mineko Williams incorporates the music of Chromatics and Chris Menth into a work wherein dancers perform from different points of view and explore how such individual perspectives can distort or clarify one's perceptions of memory.

Mineko Williams began working on the piece last spring, but the bulk of the creative process occurred in late November. Although she claimed that her memory is more feeling-based, the foundation of Recall was born in those few days of brainstorming as part of the Inside/Out Choreographic Workshop.

"I had months to marinate with those images," she said.


Hubbard Street dancers Ana Lopez, Jesse Bechard and David Schultz in Terence Marling's twice (once). Photo by Todd Rosenberg

Her own memory from those days in the spring also worked as an inspiration as Mineko Williams later focused on the ways in which individuals remember events and information and how they interact with other people based on those memories.

"People are wired the same way, but see things in very different ways," she said. "They can have the same moment, but interpret it in very different perspectives."

Besides the processes of memory, her other sources of inspiration - such as Pac Man - are diverse and eclectic, a perfect representation of her own emerging perspective as a new choreographer. However, the people around her - and their unique gestures - proved to be compelling choreographic material.

"I like to observe what people do, their habits and natural affectations," she said. "Their personal gestures...I find those very interesting. It helps me create characters."

Using the people around her as inspiration helped solidify the structure of her work and thereby made the choreographic process less complicated for this now emerging talent.

"I wanted to do something that was more my natural movements, rather than thinking about it too much," said Mineko Williams. "I wanted to approach it by what my gut says, and what my gut would make other people do."


danc(e)volve: New Works Festival
continues from January 26 - 29 at the MCA Stage. The two-week long festival features nine new works, including a new piece for HS2 by Alejandro Cerrudo. Additional works were choreographed by Jonathan Fredrickson, Alice Klock, Johnny McMillan, Terence Marling (rehearsal director), and Taryn Kashcock Russell (Director of HS2). 2011 National choreographic Competition winners Penny Saunders and Clebio Oliveira are also scheduled to premiere works.

The MCA Stage is located at 220 East Chicago. Performances begin at 7:30pm and tickets are available for $35 (a limited quantity of $10 student tickets are also available). Tickets can be purchased through the MCA Box Office at or by phone at 312-397-4010, or through the Hubbard Street Box Office at or by phone at 312-850-9744.

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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