Student Blog: Hubbard Street choreography up close

August 18, 2016

By Rachel Walton

Amid the various construction trucks and workers, the elegant entranceway of the Glorya Kaufman International Dance Center arose. Upon entering, I was struck by the majesty of the new building–OUR new building–truly an incredible space to dance in! Fueled with a newfound energy, I joined 28 other dancers to experience Hubbard Los Angeles. For myself and a few other Kaufman students, it was a happy reunion. On the other hand, I was immersed in a totally new environment: the new space, a new program, a new group of dancers brought together for a truly unique experience. The Ruby studio pulsed with energy as we took our first ballet class with Glenn Edgerton, artistic director of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.

It soon became evident that Hubbard Street was all about a family environment–they created a caring, nurturing atmosphere that enabled us to feel confident in our exploration of movement. Meredith Dincolo spent invaluable time meeting with and talking with us about her professional dance experience as well as her time at Hubbard Street. I felt as though this atmosphere was perfectly coordinated with the way I felt about the Kaufman program my first year–one filled with staff that supported and encouraged us every step of the way. We began working with Robyn Mineko Williams early the first day to begin the choreographic process. Icebreaker improvisation games revealed that Robyn was interested in focusing on a group comprised of individuals rather than on the collective itself. She developed an exercise dubbed “Chit Chat” that allowed individuals to play with movements based on the phrases we had learned. We would move from group to group, trying out movements and determining which small groups felt like a fit for us as well as exploring our own personal jam. Each day with Robyn revealed a totally new experience, new ideas were constantly tested, and yet there was a feel of something amazing taking shape!

Our final project culminated in a piece that we performed three times. Using different music choices, the piece became new each time we performed. Each dancers’ movements were affected stylistically by the music or sounds used. In the words of Meredith, we truly became “a pop-up company” in the span of our two weeks together. The positive energy carried with all of us as we thanked our instructors and said goodbyes to new friends. This dance journey was a perfect precursor to our sophomore year at Kaufman, and we look forward to meeting with Hubbard Street again!