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Choreography & Commissions 

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

Aguas Que Van, Quieren Volver

Aguas Que Van, Quieren Volver is a trio inspired by the human follies explored in the second short story of Milan Kundera's “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting." The colors of each character are filtered through the recounting of a sexual assault, and how each color determines 3 components of the same person grappling with the aftermath of the event.

Dancers: Shota Miyoshi, Abdiel Reyes, Cyrie Topete


Choreography: Rena Butler

Assistant to Choreographer: Adam McGaw Music: Los Tres Reyes, Chancha Via Circuito, José Larralde

Sound Design: Darryl J. Hoffman

Lighting Design: Julie Ballard

Costume Design: Hogan McGlaughlin

Running time: 17 minutes

San Francisco Opera

Orpheus and Eurydice

When death claims the love of his life, the musician Orpheus vows to steal her back—even if that means journeying to the underworld to save her. 


Orpheus: Jakub Józef Orliński

Eurydice: Meigui Zhang

Love: Nicole Heaston


Choreographer: Rena Butler
Director: Matthew Ozawa

Composer: Christoph Willibald Gluck
Conductor: Peter Whelan
Set Designer: Alexander V. Nichols
Costume Designer: Jessica Jahn
Lighting Designer: Yuki Nakase Link

Chorus Director: John Keene

Fight Director: Dave Maier

Running time: 81 minutes



"If you can see your own shadow, is it also a part of you?

The critically acclaimed American choreographer Rena Butler makes her European debut with Norrdans. The piece Cave is based on The Allegory of the Cave by Plato, conveyed through physical and strong dance as a story about prejudice and preconceived notions, about decolonization and new knowledge.

Although more than 2,000 years have passed since Plato’s Allegory of the Cave was created, the subject is as relevant now as it was back then. It is with clairvoyance and artistic finesse that Butler grasps the subject and applies it to our contemporary time."

Dancers: Chang Liu, Leila Verlinden, Sam Huczkowski, Lander Casier, Kevin Julianto, Damini Gairola, Courtney Mazeika, Arūnas Mozūraitis 


Choreographer: Rena Butler
Composer: Darryl Hoffman
Costume Designer: David Gehrt
Set and Light Deisgn: Sofia Linde, Hannele Philipson
Dramaturge: Rebecka Berchtold
Rehearsal Director: Shumpei Nemoto

Running time: 48 minutes

Gibney Company

Re|Build|Construct (Part 1)

Loosely referencing the “Allegory of the Cave” from Book 7 of Plato’s Republic, Rena Butler’s Re | Build | Construct examines how our realities are shaped by personal and shared environments. When our surroundings shift, our perspective, and reality, may change. The piece grapples with the effects of changing environments by evaluating the continuous reconfiguration of one’s sense of self in both individual and collective spaces.


The work includes an original set and lighting by designer Tsubasa Kamei, an original score by Darryl J. Hoffman, and costumes by fashion designer Hogan McLaughlin.

Dancers: Alicia Delgadillo, Zui Gomez, Jesse Obremski, Kevin Pajarillaga, Jie-hung Connie Shiau, Jake Tribus



Running time: 16 minutes

Video trailer production/editing: Madison Pineda

GroundWorks DanceTheater

Sheep's Gothic

Sheep’s Gothic explores the common idiom, A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing and inverts the subject to find individual pathways to one’s true sense of self. What happens when one detaches from the herd and what is underneath sheep or wolf?

Music Composer: Darryl J. Hoffman

Lighting: Dennis Dugan

Costumes: Janet Bolick

Dancers: Ahna Bonnette, Madison Pineda, Teagan Reed, Victoria Rumzis, Matthew Saggiomo


Running time: 17 minutes

Video trailer production/editing: Madison Pineda

Gibney Company

Lusus Naturae

Exploring her own questions around colonization and the process of decolonizing the self as a point of departure, this trio by Rena Butler reimagines and abstracts the narrative of the infamous film “King Kong,” and demystifies its iconic, monolithic title character.


Choreography: Rena Butler Sound Design: Darryl J. Hoffman Lighting Consulting: Asami Morita Costume Conception: Hogan McLaughlin Costume Construction: Kyle Pearson Costume Coordinator: Victoria Bek Text: Rena Butler Choreographic Advisor: Kyle Abraham  Dancers: Cast in this video: Alexander Anderson, Jesse Obremski, Jake Tribus

Running time: 17 minutes

Video trailer production/editing: Madison Pineda



Running time: approx 3 minutes

Root | End is an elemental process of braiding and rooting oneself to their center, their sense of self. Featuring dance artist Michaela DePrince, as they navigate their internal journey and interweave their personal narrative into this moving portrait.

Premiere Date: April 18, 2022

Filmed in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Boston Ballet soloist Michaela DePrince performs Original choreography by New York-based choreographer Rena Butler with original music by Grammy-nominated composer Andy Akiho, directed by Kevin Opsea with Creative Direction by Taiba Akhuetie.

Director: Kevin Osepa

Choreographer: Rena Butler  

Featuring: Michaela DePrince

Composer: Andy Akiho

Including: Vroni Martina, Nadège Bwatou, Joanna Donau

Creative Direction: Taiba Akhuetie

Cinematographer: Wouter Verberkt

Production Company: Heat  

Producer: Luc de Kock

Assistant Director: Goldiie

Assistant Camera: Nick Vigue

Sound Designer: Martin Delisle

Costume Design: Max Zara Sterck

Hair: Yara Forster

Jewelry Design: Goldiie

Gaffer: Ralph Schoonenboom

Editor: Stan Vriend

Grading: Ruben Labree

Studio: Pre Reserved Studio

Creative Director: Jacob Jonas

Produced by @jacobjonasthecompany Co - presented by @bam_brooklyn @harristheaterchicago @thesorayastage @stanf

Charlotte Ballet

Subliminal Tsunami

How many waves are in the world's set of attempting to take action against gender inequalities, and how long do we wait before the big swell, the big shift in progressing forward? In every instance upon reflecting towards the past, there is a swell of opportunity to innovate our present and future. And just how far have we come since 1970? How many waves have passed? 


Rena Butler's new piece "Subliminal Tsunami" has made a splash in Innovative 1970. An incredible representation of women's right progression from the Women's 2nd Wave Feminist Movement in 1970.

Dancers: Charlotte Ballet Music: Darryl J. Hoffman Text: NBC Interviewees from 1970 Special Report Series of The Women's Feminist

Movement Lighting: Julie Ballard


Running time: 25 minutes

Video trailer production/editing: Madison Pineda

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

This, That, and the Third

“The origin of this piece came from the idea of code-switching,” says Rena Butler, "… [the opening section] has each dancer in a square box, and they're just trying to break out of it and find freedom and find a voice — beyond the barriers or confines that are outlined by outside forces." 

Hubbard Street’s Rena Butler invited 15 dancers located around the world to come together virtually with Hubbard Street to explore an excerpt from her work, This, That, and the Third, originally debuted in November 2019. 

In light of the postponement of our virtual season finale, Hubbard Street Unbound, this project will be our last presentation of new work created during the pandemic prior to (stay)Inside/Out, our ultimate season finale event this Friday, June 5.

“Speak out when you see injustice. Your voice matters.” —Rena Butler

Choreography: Rena Butler 

Video Editing: Jonathan Alsberry 

Music: “Drum & Drone” by Justin Hurwitz


Abdiel Figueroa Reyes, Adam McGaw, Alysia Johnson, Alyssa Allen, Andrew Murdock, Asha Benjelloun, Connie Shiau, Craig D. Black Jr., Jacqueline Burnett, Kevin J. Shannon

Running time: 18 minutes

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

A Tale of Two

"A Tale Of Two" is a compelling new work by Princess Grace Award-winning choreographer Rena Butler. Created, filmed, and scored in Chicago during the summer of 2020,  the work is filled with tension and tenderness, reflecting the vulnerability of youth in a violent world. Dreams amidst despair. Hope amidst hatred. Joy amidst injustice. In a work that speaks powerfully to our present moment, the Hubbard Street Dancers capture both the intimate and the universal.
"A Tale of Two" is an examination of Chicago's extreme cultural dichotomy and how it affects the city's youth in disparate communities.
Choreography: Rena Butler
Videography: Talia Koylass
Music: Darryl J. Hoffman
Vocals: Shawnee Dez, Alencia Norris

Dancers: Alyssa Allen, Jonathan Emanuell Alsberry, Craig D. Black Jr., Jacqueline Burnett, Rena Butler, Kellie Epperheimer, Elliot Hammans, Alysia Johnson, Adam McGaw, Andrew Murdock, Abdiel Figueroa Reyes, David Schultz, Kevin J. Shannon, Connie Shiau, Jessica Tong.

Original composition by Darryl J. Hoffman. “Black Butterfly” by Alencia Norris. “Sticky Beez” by Shawnee Dez. “Paranoia” by Chance the Rapper, featuring Lili K and Nosaj Thing from Acid Rap with permission granted by the artist. “Don’t Shoot Guns Down” by Sault. Mother Goose Rhymes: “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep,” “Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall,” “Three Blind Mice.”

Running time: 24 minutes

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

III. Third

Described by Splash Magazine as, “a sensational ultra-hip exploration of ethnicity, cultural disparity and the universal struggle for acceptance and inclusion”, “III. Third” is a piece of a three-work series that explores themes of identity. Amidst of what people experience in their relationship to social media, one views themself in relation to the world and what’s happening around them.

"III. Third is the final piece of a three-work series I'm creating that explores themes of identity through gender and sexuality choreographed for Loyola University, race choreographed for SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance, and culture/customs choreographed here at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.Amidst all of the turmoil that we're bombarded with through news sources, and social media you begin to question yourself in relation to what’s happening around you; politically, culturally, and personally. I wanted to create an opportunity for myself and my dancers to explore what that is, explore our identities in the mix of it all." - Rena Butler

Choreography: Rena Butler
Dancers: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Music: Darryl Joseph Lighting Designer: Kaili Story Premier Date: December 2018

Running time: 23 minutes

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