From the Choreographers: Osnel Delgado and Robyn Mineko Williams

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February 28, 2019

Choreographer Osnel Delgado. Photo by Todd Rosenberg.

This weekend Hubbard Street comes together with Malpaso Dance Company for a stunning evening of dance at the Auditorium Theatre. We spoke with Malpaso Dance Company Artistic Director Osnel Delgado and former Hubbard Street dancer turned choreographer Robyn Mineko Williams about their choreography and what’s it’s been like working with each company.

How does Hubbard Street’s style compare with Malpaso’s style?

Robyn Mineko Williams: The dancers of both companies possess a magical combination of open-mindedness, movement intelligence, and giant aptitude for new styles and ways of working. They are exceptionally versatile and can take on whatever you throw at them.

Osnel Delgado: Hubbard Street is one of the few references we had in mind when we founded Malpaso. Both are repertory companies with strong and versatile dancers, both ensembles have similar training, and both have developed their own choreographers. This collaboration, for us, is an honor.

Choreographer Robyn Mineko Williams. Photo by Todd Rosenberg. 

What is the inspiration behind each of your world premieres for this program?

RMW: With each new work, my initial seed of inspiration seems to take on a life of its own. The original idea for Elemental is now layered and infused with everything that came during my time in Cuba: the dancers’ influences, character and personal contributions, the incomparable sights and sounds of the country, the music and culture that seem to be such a part of every person I met.

OD: As I do with my dancers, I come to the studio with some ideas, but these are only the start of the creative process Audiences can expect to see our precision, passion, and commitment in my new work, The Windless Hold.

What are some obstacles you’ve faced while creating new work for a company that is based in an entirely different country?

RMW: The most significant obstacle for me was overcoming the language barrier and figuring out how to most effectively communicate with the dancers. Luckily, the company showed great patience with my inaptitude to speak their language and eventually, together we were able to get to the point by using a mix of translations, sound effects, and speaking with physicality.

Choreographer Robyn Mineko Williams. Photo by Todd Rosenberg. 

Why do you think cross-cultural exchanges between U.S.-based companies like Hubbard Street and international companies like Malpaso are important?

OD: We belong to cultures that have much in common. It is not possible, for instance, to think about the Cuban dance tradition without thinking about its relation to American dance and its legacy. We need to reconnect the best of our cultures, despite whatever adverse circumstances and challenges. Beauty, dance, and admiration bring us together.

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Malpaso Dance Company. Photo by Todd Rosenberg. 

Tickets for the Spring Series at the Auditorium Theatre, featuring Robyn Mineko William’s Cloudline, Ocaso by Osnel Delgado and world premieres by each choreographer are available on the Auditorium Theatre website.

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