Dance enthusiasts who recognize the name Aszure Barton may affiliate her with “BUSK,” the thrill-ride evening-length piece that rightfully joined the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s repertoire two years ago. Audiences of Hubbard Street’s fall series, “Of Peace,” playing November 2-5 at the Harris, will see a different facet of the sought-after choreographer’s gemlike practice.
Barton, who embarks this season on a three-year stint as resident artist for Hubbard Street, is reviving “return to patience,” a piece she created in 2015 for students at the Juilliard School. “I’d been wanting to revisit it and it’s been a matter of finding the right group of people,” she says. “‘return’ is about creating space to listen. I made it on younger dancers and they were just incredible, especially considering their age. Coming back to it, I didn’t have expectations and it was nice to return and have a deeper understanding.”
Working with the seasoned artists of Hubbard Street went swiftly by comparison. “They’re so incredibly smart, these dancers,” Barton says. “Their means of arriving is so much more efficient. There’s an understanding instantly of what the goal is. As a dancer, I wasn’t as good at being completely present and not judging, but being with the movement.”
Barton worked closely with Jonathan E. Alsberry, whom she’s known for eighteen years, on staging “return” with Hubbard Street. Time and patience were very much part of the process—all the dancers learned all the parts of the piece. “It’s a process of having everyone learn all the language all of the time. Giving everyone the opportunity to speak is important to me in the process. Now we’re staging particular people in particular parts.”
The score for “return” is by Caroline Shaw, composed around elements of the Chopin Mazurka. “There’s a lot of space in it,” Barton says,” which is how I chose that music, it supports the atmosphere I wanted to create.”
“return” will be presented alongside reprises of Darrell Grand Moultrie’s ode to classical and gospel influences “Dichotomy of a Journey” and Lar Lubovitch’s splashy “Coltrane’s Favorite Things.”
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s Fall Series, “Of Peace,” at the Harris Theater, 205 East Randolph. November 2-5, Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday & Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 3pm. $15-$110. Tickets here.