Amy Hall Garner Returns to Chicago for a Hubbard Street Commission
Every decade or so, choreographer Amy Hall Garner finds herself in Chicago. The Alabama native, Juilliard grad and working mom to an almost-6-year-old launched her career there in 1999 as part of the first national tour of the smash hit musical Fosse. In 2011, she returned to the Windy City for The Joffrey Ballet’s then-nascent choreographic competition (now called “Winning Works”). And this month, she is set to premiere a new piece for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago alongside another premiere by her longtime friend and colleague Darrell Grand Moultrie. Garner’s resumé has been growing, particularly in the past couple of years: During the pandemic she created digital pieces for BalletX, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Works & Process and more. Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell, in her first season as artistic director of Hubbard Street, jumped at the chance to book this increasingly in-demand choreographer.
How does it feel to be working with Hubbard Street?
Hubbard Street is one of those companies I’ve had my eye on for quite some time, since I was in Fosse. I just loved the way the dancers moved, and as my career shifted to choreography, I thought it would be a place I’d love to create a piece.
You share a deep connection to Darrell Grand Moultrie. Will audiences see similarities between your work in this shared program?
Darrell is my best friend and the person who pushed my choreographic voice. I used to assist him a lot. I don’t know how his piece is going to be, but I want my piece to have that joyous, uplifting feeling of being back in the studio and back in the theater. I’m kind of known for those pieces. They’re hard to create because you have to keep them moving all the time. I’m getting in there and exploring new movement that gets to the core of Hubbard Street, from when I first saw them in the late ’90s up to now.
You work with a lot of dancers in training and in theater. How do these experiences show up in your ballets?
As a performer, I went the theater route. My mind was set on a dance company, but theater came knocking sooner than I thought. So, when I create, there are a lot of theatrical elements in my choreography. I’m always thinking cinematically. For me, it seems seamless. I pull from what I know.