Hubbard Street Dance
Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center
Since Hubbard Street Dance Company (HSDC) maintains a reputation as a company with a well-rounded repertoire , one expected to see on its current Israeli tour a program that would justify the company's high standing. Granted, the ensemble is strong and there are some really fine dancers, but two out of three works presented were a bit on the simplistic side, with only Gnawa, by Spanish master of choreography Nacho Duato, saving the day and the company's face.
The evening opened with Off Screen (2009), by the HSDC first resident choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo. Backed by a musical collage composed of bits and pieces of film soundtracks, the choreography was obliged to hop from scene to scene, often without thematic ties or stylistic connections. In order to tie down the ends, the work relied on external means, namely set, lighting and costume design, which did little to affect the pieces inspiration.
Slipstream, by Jim Vincent, which followed, was set to music by Benjamin Britten. It was structured as a series of sketches for small group formations with easy flow and a pleasant ambiance. Its spatial architecture was pleasing but the dancing lexicon, though better detailed, adhered to well treaded paths.
However, from the very first seconds of Gnawa, which closed the evening, a new energy swept the stage. Suddenly, even the secondary dancers thrived and the company came alive, charged with the more challenging, high artistic demands. It was a rewarding moment of enlightenment. Yes, they can.
Obviously, the evening could've been up scaled with less patronizing repertoire selections.
Slightly different program are planned for the performances in Jerusalem on November 2 and 3 and in Haifa November 4 and 5.