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Brian Brooks Saved One More Dance for Chicago

Harris Theater’s first-ever choreographer-in-residence prepares to wrap up his tenure.

Brian Brooks
Photo: Erin Baiano

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s summer series will serve as a crowning moment for Brian Brooks. As the Harris Theater’s inaugural choreographer-in-residence, Brooks, 45, began his three-year run in 2016 with Terrain for Hubbard Street, then went on to create commissions for Miami City Ballet, the Chicago Academy for the Arts, and his own company. Brooks’s final production is an as-yet-untitled sequel to Terrain, which runs June 6 to 9.

You weren’t required to create another dance for Hubbard Street for your residency, but you did anyway. Why?

We had several weeks to work together this spring, so it seemed like an opportunity to not simply remount an older work. We’re sharing a similar aesthetic — everything is in black and white — so it’s a continuation of the original, but we had the time and resources to really go further and make something new.

What are some elements you added?

There’s an original piece of music by composer Jerome Begin, written for string quartet and drum machine. So you have a “now” feeling right up against classical music. In the choreography we’re also mixing classical forms with contemporary dance.

Terrain was made during the 2016 election. Does your choice of sharp contrasts say something about the polarization of our country?

I don’t feel like I’m making overtly social or political dance. The work I do is highly collaborative and very empathetic. I’m in a business where we get together in a room, take our shoes off, and move. I’m just making dances.

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