What My Teacher Taught Me: Hubbard Street's Jacqueline Burnett

Burnett in William Forsythe's Quintett

As a performer with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Jacqueline Burnett must make intricate and densely packed choreography look fluid and easy. She credits her ballet teacher, Marius Zirra, with helping her find this skill by investing fully—physically and mentally—in every moment.

“He would laugh at us when we would drop our carriage on our walk away from the barre or the middle of the floor to put on our ballet shoes. He’d say, ‘What are you doing? You look so frumpy. There’s more to you than you’re letting on when you move that way.’ For him, every moment had meaning. I use those ideas all the time now—really being present in each moment and living in each part of the choreography, not getting ahead of myself and not worrying about what just happened.”

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago performs at the Harris Theater in Chicago, June 11–14.

Photo by Cheryl Mann, courtesy of Hubbard Street

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