"He had this amazing ability as a dancer, he could do anything."
Rick Hilsabeck: Lou’s Facility and Ability
Lou Conte is a native of southern Illinois. After performing as a musical theatre dancer on Broadway and in international tours, he moved to Chicago in 1972 and founded the Lou Conte Dance Studio in 1974. Hubbard Street Dance Chicago grew out of his teaching and quickly gained an international profile. After 23 years as artistic director, Conte retired in 2000.
June 24, 2015: From the offices of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Lou Conte chronicles his dance lineage and early training in southern Illinois, which included lessons from Ann Barzel. He recalls his experiences as a performer before settling in Chicago, opening the Lou Conte Dance Studio, and creating HSDC. He reflects on the company's inception, from performing at local senior centers to an engagement in Paris four years later. Conte discusses the success of HSDC and its position in the city of Chicago and outlines his approach to leading the company.
Claire Bataille, who was a founding member, assistant artistic director, and rehearsal director for the company, as well as director of LCDS, joins the interview to discuss HSDC repertory, several of its tours, and some common misconceptions about the company and its history.
"I don't think there was anything quite like what Lou was bringing together."
Rick Hilsabeck: Defining Early HSDC Style