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Shen Wei Dance Arts Company and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

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I have actually a few questions on a couple of productions that I am thinking about attending this season. Please let me know your thoughts, opinions and convictions. I will really appreciated it.

- What do you look for in a contemporary ballet?

- What aspects of CB you find challenging, interesting or important?

- How is it different from classical ballet?

My knowledge of ballet is limited and I am naturally attracted to the classical ballet productions. I am a bit nervous when it comes to contemporary performances. I guess I just have to see and decide whether I like it or not.

I’ll have a chance to see this companies

- Shen Wei Dance Arts Company (I tried to ask question about this one before, but it got booted out for some reason)

- Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

Any thoughts on these?

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Welcome to Ballet Talk, tra-ta. I haven't seen Shen Wei, but can definitely recommend Hubbard Street, for superb dancers and very high level, varied rep.

Although this site is primarily devoted to classical dance, there have often been discussions of the way "contemporary" and "classical" merge, divide, and interact in the dance world today. If you go to our main page, you'll find a box near the upper right hand corner which will allow you to "search" both companies for references and comments that have appeared on the Ballet Talk site. I just did this and, although there's no sustained discussion of other company, I was able to pick up a number of interesting impressions.

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You should see both as they are very different companies. Hubbard is probably the best proponent of Kylian in the Americas, and they dance a lot of the more well-known popular modern stuff. It's a very energetic group of dancers who really love to move.

Shen Wei is very different, and it's a love-it or hate-it kind of thing. The company exists to dance Shen Wei's choreography, and his style is more post-modern. Perhaps because of his background as a painter, there are more set scenes or tableau-like settings, but it's by no means static. His choreography always projects a sense of otherworldliness as they seem to create a space that's quite unlike anything else you've seen. The one time I saw them, I really loved them --- it was probably the only time I've actually given a standing ovation --- but most people around me didn't like it.


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