Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (HSDC) continues its 2020-21 43rd season with a virtual premiere presentation of new work from former Hubbard Street dancer and acclaimed choreographer Jonathan Fredrickson, debuting on Thursday, December 3 at hubbardstreetdance.com. The film will be streamed again Saturday, December 5 and Sunday, December 6, and has been made free to the public.
The film, entitled The Sky Was Different, will debut on Thursday, December 3 at hubbardstreetdance.com and will be streamed again Saturday, December 5 and Sunday, December 6 with all streams made open to the public. The work was conceived, co-directed and choreographed by Fredrickson while working remotely from his current home in Wuppertal, Germany. Fredrickson often rehearsed late into the night to accommodate the schedule of the dancers in Chicago, while also working as a full-time dancer at Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch. This 50-minute surrealist film was co-directed with former Hubbard Street dancer Tobin Del Cuore of Imagination + Muscle Production Company. In addition to featuring complex choreography, this highly personal piece incorporates original poetry written by the dancers under Fredrickson’s direction, discussing their experiences during the global pandemic. Accompanying the film is an original composition by Oleg Stepanov, a composer and dancer from Wuppertal. Cinematographer Alex Birnie shot the film at Schweikher House in Schaumburg and C5 Create With No Limits, where rigorous precautions were taken for the safety of the cast and crew.
“I see myself in the work in a way that I was really not anticipating. The film has become somewhat autobiographical, even though it is born from the personal stories of the artists of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago,” said Fredrickson. “Isolation, reflection, introspection, loss and love are themes that make up The Sky Was Different, and I believe many of us can relate to those emotions now. For me, the film is about change — recalling where you once were, while anticipating that things will not be the same.”
“It’s great to come home to Hubbard Street Dance Chicago now, after having been away for five years,” he added. “I really wanted to get to know the Hubbard Street dancers of today, to explore the fullness of them. Knowing them became inspiring and opened the door to making something happen. I would give them prompts, and they would respond, and we would move through their stories, their reflections, their poems, and their texts. The piece was born from those ideas.”
Jonathan Fredrickson was born in Corpus Christi, TX. He attended California Institute of the Arts where he received his BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography. Fredrickson danced with the Limon Dance Company from 2006-2011, and created two works on the company during his time there, The Edge of Some World and Chrysalis. In 2010, he was a winner of Hubbard Street’s National Choreographic Competition and was also honored as one of Dance Magazine’s “25 To Watch.” He then danced with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago from 2011 – 2015, where he was commissioned to create two new works on the company, Untitled Landscape and For the Wandered. His work has been shown in festivals such as Hong Kong Dance Festival, Reverb Dance Festival, and White Wave, and he has created for school programs like California Institute of the Arts, CalState Fullerton, Limon Institute, and Sundance/Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre. He joined the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch in 2015, where he has been performing her work internationally, and creating for the company’s choreographic platform, UNDERGROUND, with the works Epilogue and Afternoon Forest Birds.
Hubbard Street Dancers featured in the film include Alyssa Allen, Craig D. Black Jr., Jacqueline Burnett, Elliot Hammans, Alysia Johnson, Adam McGaw, Andrew Murdock, Abdiel Figueroa Reyes, David Schultz and Kevin J. Shannon. After each showing of the film, various artists involved in the film will join viewers for a live talkback section featuring a Q&A.
The Sky Was Different can be viewed for free on the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago website. Viewers can receive a link to the screening by registering at hubbardstreetdance.com.