Hubbard Street’s spring season finds the company in fine, taut form, even if their “Sublime Sentiments” program (running through April 2) lacks a knockout piece. The program closer, Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin’s fascinating and frustrating “Minus 16,” opens with a cinematic coup de theatre. The company, in Hasidic costume, repeatedly rises from chairs in a violent wave, to the accompaniment of a loud and frenetic Israeli folk song. The piece later refreshingly breaks down the fourth wall as “volunteers” are coaxed out of the audience to dance with company members. But between these two inspired movements, we have to endure an interminable and awkward sequence of solos accompanied by the dancers’ taped confessional monologues. For better or worse, none of the other pieces make the impression that “Minus 16” does. U of C alum Erin Derstine acquits herself wonderfully in the premiere duet “Float.” With Isaac Spencer, her witty and agile movement lends charm to this delicate, almost David Lynchian piece, set to an Icelandic pop song. Both opener “Petit Mort” and “Strokes Through the Tail” mix sinuous and engagingly novel passages with overly clever conceptual moves. Throughout the program, the sheer passion of the company overwhelms the limitations of their material. (John Beer)
This production is now closed.