Eclectic Hubbard Street to premiere 'Diphthong'

Tuesday, September 30, 2003


Special to the Journal-World

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago will premiere "Diphthong," a work choreographed by Hubbard Street dancer Brian Enos and co-commissioned by the Lied Center.

Lied Center officials decided years ago that if they wanted to keep performers on their stage, they'd have to invest in the creation of new art.

They're anticipating an exciting return on one of their investments when Hubbard Street Dance Chicago comes to town Saturday as part of the venue's New Directions Series.

Lied Center administrators co-commissioned "Diphthong," the penultimate piece on Saturday's program, and will see the dance for the first time that evening. Hubbard Street dancer Brian Enos created the piece in June during Inside/Out, the company's choreographic workshop. It premiered in workshop form at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Ill., in August. But Lied Center audiences will be the first to see the dance in finished form.

The piece, created for six dancers dressed in camouflage-inspired costumes, capitalizes on the texture of music by world-fusion group Zap Mama, Enos says.

"The music is very rich. There's a lot going on, and there's a lot of nuance to it. Really the piece for me is about showing what I see visually to that music," he explains on the phone from Chicago. "It's very much about the group energy and the feeling of all the dancers as a group creating one unified sound, if you will."

Past Event

'Dipthong' performed by Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

  • Saturday, October 4, 2003, 7:30 p.m.
  • Lied Center, 1600 Stewart Drive, KU campus, Lawrence
  • All ages / $23 - $28


Enos began his dance training at 14 and has studied with the Houston Ballet Academy, Maria Vegh, the Santa Rose Junior College and Sara Stuber. At 15, Enos choreographed his first work for the Houston Ballet, becoming the youngest choreographer in the company's history. In 2001, as a winner of the National Choreographic Competition, Enos created "Whip" for Hubbard Street 2, and he joined the main company of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in July 2002.

Though Enos' training is in ballet, he says "Diphthong" fuses ballet and modern, creating the unique blend for which the 25-year-old company has come to be known, especially since Jim Vincent took the reins as artistic director in 2000.

"He's really had a push to bring in more European choreographers and also newer choreographers because he's really interested in finding out what's happening in dance and what's new and up-and-coming as well as keeping around the old classics, the pieces that have been around, that are staples of the company that the company's really known for," Enos says of Vincent. "When it started, it was very much a jazz company. It's really changed since then, and it's become much more eclectic."

Eclectic repertoire

"counter/part," Vincent's inaugural choreographic work for the company, will open Saturday's program. The work, which premiered at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago in April 2002, is set to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Following intermission, the company will present "KISS," choreographed by Susan Marshall, director/choreographer of Susan Marshall & Company since 1982. "Diphthong" will be followed by a second intermission, and "Full Grown Man," choreographed by Trey McIntyre with music by Beck Hansen, will wrap up the show.

Enos, who will dance in "counter/part," says the company's diverse repertoire makes his job interesting.

"I really craved that diversity in work when I was dancing with Houston Ballet because as much as I love classical ballet, it sort of reached a point for me where I was ready to branch out. I was already starting to go in a different direction with my choreography, and I really wanted to be dancing that kind of work as well," he says.

"I think it's a challenge, but I think it's a good challenge, and it keeps us all very much on our toes. ... I think that it's a really strong group in terms of the ability to assimilate to any style of dance."

Return engagement

That's one of the attributes that lured the Lied Center to invite the company back for a third time. Their first appearance was under the direction of company founder Lou Conte; two years ago, they came to Lawrence under Vincent's new vision.


Special to the Journal-World

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Lied Center. The company will premiere "Diphthong," a work co-commissioned by the Lied Center and choreographed by company member Brian Enos.

"This is a very exciting and dynamic company. Our audiences saw them and liked their work the last time, and we think those audiences will come and we hope other audiences will be brought in by them as well," says Tim Van Leer, executive director of the Lied Center.

"Part of this is being able to watch a company grow and for an audience to grow at the same time, as opposed to just seeing somebody for the first time and really enjoying it and never seeing them again."