Hubbard Street Dance Chicago enters its fifth decade with a new training program designed to propel young professionals toward careers in dance. The Hubbard Street Professional Program (nicknamed "HS Pro") provides a two-year postsecondary alternative to university dance programs.
HS Pro dancers in cohorts up to 25 will have opportunities to take class and perform with the main company, similar to those of dancers in the recently disbanded Hubbard Street 2. Artistic director Glenn Edgerton says HS Pro is an educational program, not a company, and its genesis was planned independently of HS2. The goal is to provide a well-rounded training experience that prepares dancers to audition and work anywhere—including Hubbard Street. "We're going to be able to reach dancers in a broader way," says Edgerton. "They'll be learning different techniques, and more about the functioning of an institution." HS Pro dancers will have a number of performance opportunities of their own and produce outreach programming, such as lecture/demonstrations for schools.
Artistic associate Meredith Dincolo laid the initial groundwork for HS Pro, investigating similar programs and conducting two five-week pilot programs. Dincolo has since parted with Hubbard Street, prompting Edgerton to call on Alexandra Wells, who will continue as artistic director of Springboard Danse Montréal. As director of artist training, Wells will keep an eye on all of Hubbard Street's educational and outreach programming and ensure that each of the company's programs provides a cohesive experience. "The idea is for a 3-year-old to come into Hubbard Street, and 20 years later join the company," says Edgerton.
This season, HS Pro will premiere works by Peter Chu, Aszure Barton & Artists' Jonathan Alsberry, and Hubbard Street dancer Alice Klock, named the company's inaugural choreographic fellow for the 2017–18 season. Future plans may include an accredited certificate program, and perhaps an eventual four-year BFA option in collaboration with a university.