It takes confidence to take your time—and you can’t beat confidence for sex appeal. Robyn Mineko Williams, who began choreographing a dozen years ago, is one of five past or present Hubbard Street Dance Chicago performers selected to make pieces for its second annual Danc(e)volve: New Works Festival. Her experience is evident in the slow, simple start to Grey Horses: two guys just walking. Against an aural backdrop that includes snatches of a bittersweet aria, six shades eventually gather and incarnate increasingly dynamic, disturbing takes on passionate connection. Williams has a full-blown vision and aesthetic, but even the fledgling choreographers here have come up with loads of inventive movement, which HSDC gives its usual energy and loving care.
Two short, spare works by another seasoned choreographer, Terence Marling, stick admirably to the point. He appears to lampoon a few dance-world greats in the splintered, hilarious Stop . . . Stop . . . Stop, and links the doppelganger duets of Ditto with witty choreographic inversions. Penny Saunders’s Adalea, which I took to be a riff on parenthood, veers from comic relief to genuine emotion. But almost all the pieces feel long and unmotivated at times, especially Andrew Wright’s moody Agape and Jonathan Fredrickson’s searching For the Wandered, which both show promise but drift.