‘The Art of Falling': Comedy + Dance Downtown

Hubbard Street Dance meets The Second City at an offbeat Ahmanson affair.

Mash-ups in the arts have grown incredibly innovative, and at times unabashedly baroque and even byzantine, in recent years, thanks to that little ol' invention we call the World Wide Web.

The internet has truly put fresh tools in the hands of people who want to see acoustic graphic novels and B-movie operas and a capella food demos. What hasn't happened yet, though, at least on a widespread scale, is the meeting of those two stalwarts of the creative community, dance and comedy.

Best scratch out the "hasn't happened yet" part, because it is happening, in a major way, as major as the Ahmanson Theatre at the Music Center. Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and The Second City are alighting, lightly and light-of-heart, upon the grand stage at the large venue for some large laughs, large moves, and large ideas.

"The Art of Falling" is the name of the dance + sketch comedy experience, and its "the brainchild of five choreographers, four writers, and more than 30 dancers and actors." Will it be a savory goulash of form, funniness, en pointe and pointed barbs?

You betcha, count on it, finito and final. Hubbard Street is the 38-year-old troupe acclaimed for its jazzy ballet contemporary form, and The Second City is flush with ha-ha-makery, as well as the nearly supernatural ability to recognize and groom major funny film and TV and stage performing types.

Since dance already contains comedic elements -- no audience has ever not given a guffaw or two -- and since comedy demands physical skill, it feels like a mash-up to end all mash-ups. Mash-ups, of course, will never end, not as long as the internet has the "open for business" sign in its front window, but could humor and movement, together, goose all other mash-ups into something a bit more?

Ponder that as you take your seat and prepare to see something as fresh as a newly fallen Chicago snowflake and as piquant as a deep-dish pizza pie. Intrigued, culture hounds? Take that itch to the Ahmanson and get it scratched on Friday, Nov. 6, Saturday, Nov. 7, and Sunday, Nov. 8.

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Or fill your curiosity bucket, if you prefer. Novelty and the arts are like ham and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, or comedy and dance. (Could "comedy and dance" be the "peanut butter and jelly" of the future? Signs point to yes.)

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