You can see why local choreographer Harrison McEldowney (creator of "the Milly") and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago are a good fit: Hubbard Street has always had a silly streak, often with a retro flavor. Consider its signature piece, artistic director Lou Conte's The 40s, with its big-band music and playful dancers skittering across the stage, as well as David Parsons's popular opera spoof The Envelope and Jiri Kylian's whimsy set to Mozart, Sechs Tanze, with its flying powder and bewigged dancers. McEldowney is just as eager as these choreographers to get laughs but more interested in romantic comedy--that much was obvious with his early hit for the River North Dance Company, Perfidia, in which a sly woman cheats on her partner in plain view. Now he's made Group Therapy for Hubbard Street, a dance about four couples with relationship issues that premiered last spring, and Let's Call the Whole Thing Off, a duet about a couple in a love-hate romance that will premiere during the company's Ravinia engagement: these shows include plenty of leavening for the company's more serious dances, like Nacho Duato's Na floresta ("The Forest") and Rassemblement ("The Gathering"). Wednesday and Thursday, September 2, at 8: Let's Call the Whole Thing Off and Group Therapy, Na floresta, The 40s, and Kevin O'Day's lyrical duet To Have and to Hold. Next Friday and Saturday, September 3 and 4, at 8: Let's Call the Whole Thing Off, Rassemblement, Sechs Tanze, and Daniel Ezralow's Read My Hips. Children's concert Saturday, September 4, at 3: a lecture-demonstration featuring The Envelope, Na floresta, Sechs Tanze, and Let's Call the Whole Thing Off. At Ravinia Festival, Lake Cook and Green Bay Rds. in Highland Park; $15-$30, $8 for lawn seats; $3-$5 for the children's matinee; $85-$125 for the "Dancin' in the Moonlight" company benefit Friday. Call 847-266-5100 for tickets and information, 312-850-9744 for information about the benefit. --Laura Molzahn
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/William Frederking.