Artistic Director

  • Deadline / Program Start: 2020-12-31
  • Organization: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
  • Organization Type: Performance/Presenting Facility
  • Career Type: Arts, Culture Non-Profit Administrator
  • Grant / Salary: $150,000 - $175,000
  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Primary Discipline: Dance
  • Recurring: Array
  • URL: Link

As one of the world’s leading contemporary dance companies whose ensemble knows no boundaries, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (Hubbard Street) brings artists, art, and audiences together to enrich, engage, educate, and change lives through the experience of dance. Hubbard Street grew out of the Lou Conte Dance Studio in 1977 when Lou Conte gathered an ensemble of four dancers to perform in senior centers across Chicago. Since then, the company has become one of the most original forces in contemporary dance. Now opening its 43rd season, Hubbard Street performs regularly in venues around the city of Chicago and has appeared in celebrated dance venues in 44 states and 19 countries.

Hubbard Street continues to be an innovative force, supporting its creative talent while developing and presenting repertory by major international artists. Hubbard Street introduces audiences to original, cutting-edge contemporary dance through new and diverse repertoire created by leading and emerging choreographers from across the globe. The company has forged relationships and creative partnerships with artists such as Jiří Kylián, Kyle Abraham, Ohad Naharin, Crystal Pite, and Twyla Tharp and with renowned arts organizations, including collaborations with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Art Institute of Chicago, Second City, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, and Third Coast Percussion.

Hubbard Street’s partnerships with Chicago Public Schools provide teaching artists and educators the opportunity to plan, teach, and learn together to create exciting and meaningful integrated curriculum that challenges students and takes learning to new levels. Hubbard Street’s Parkinson’s Project is the oldest Parkinson’s dance program in the Midwest, bringing people together in community with their caregivers and partners to share contemporary dance techniques, which is shown to slow the progress of the disease.

Hubbard Street is governed by a 15-member board of directors, led by Chair Steven Collens and President Kristin Conley. Executive Director David McDermott has led the staff leadership team since 2017. The company has been led by three artistic leaders in its history—Lou Conte from 1977 to 2000, Jim Vincent from 2000 to 2009, and Glenn Edgerton from 2009 to 2020. In recognition of the realities of the global pandemic of 2020, Hubbard Street has resized to a core roster of 10 dancers on 44-week contracts and a current staff of 13 full-time employees, with a planned operational budget of $2.7 million. In 2021, Hubbard Street intends to embark on new and innovative strategies for illuminating and fostering contemporary dance in a COVID and post-COVID world, led by the new Artistic Director.

Known as The Second City or The Windy City, Chicago is the largest city in the Midwest, with 2.7 million residents and more than 9 million residents in the metropolitan area. With a unique spirit and community unlike large cities on the two coasts, throughout its history Chicago has been, in the words of Mark Twain, the place that is “always contriving and achieving new impossibilities.” Recognizing its appeal to visitors, Condé Nast readers have selected Chicago as the Best Big City in the United States four years in a row. A diverse and vibrant place to live, Chicago has the community of an intimate small town but offers a myriad of amenities for its residents, including a world-class collection of arts and cultural offerings. Chicago has a robust public transportation system, two international airports directly connected to local trains, and pre-pandemic job growth that outpaced the country in 2019.

Chicago itself is a city of neighborhoods, with more than 77 distinct communities, each with their own unique restaurants, businesses, and entertainment options. Throughout the vast variety of neighborhoods, residents are surrounded by rich history, architectural marvels, and iconic landmarks. Chicago is home to the world’s first skyscrapers, a treasure trove of Frank Lloyd Wright wonders, and plenty of stunning locations throughout many historic and cultural districts. Residents and visitors can also enjoy an array of beautiful natural and recreational spaces within the city limits and near surroundings. Chicago’s cultural life includes a host of prominent cultural institutions and the city has one of the strongest theater communities in the United States, with more than 240 independent nonprofit theaters calling the city home, including Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, The Second City, and Chicago Shakespeare Theater, as well as other major institutions such as the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Chicago Architecture Center, Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theater, Joffrey Ballet, Chicago History Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, Museum of Contemporary Art, and Chicago Botanic Garden.

Chicago is also home to an award-winning restaurant scene and features a host of world-famous chefs such as prominent arts supporter Rick Bayless. Outdoor adventurers can explore the Lakefront Trail on Lake Michigan, dine on the Chicago Riverwalk, enjoy Chicago’s famous architectural cruises, or picnic in one of many neighborhood parks. Millennium Park is the home to a host of summertime concerts at Pritzker Pavilion and a variety of festivals, including Lollapalooza, the Chicago Blues, Gospel Music, and Jazz Festivals, and many more. Chicago boasts several award-winning sports teams. From a business perspective, Illinois is home to 36 Fortune 500 companies, 10 of which are headquartered in Chicago including Boeing, McDonald’s, United Airlines, Mondelez International, and Conagra Brands. Chicago’s technology sector is growing rapidly, with nearly 100,000 workers in the city who enhance technological innovations world-wide.

Chicago embraces and celebrates its diversity. Currently estimated at 30 percent Black, 29 percent Latino, 6.4 percent Asian, and 33 percent white with a growing multi-ethnic population, Chicago’s cultural community strives to engage and support Chicagoans of all backgrounds in creative expression. Forty languages are spoken in Chicago households, with Spanish and Polish being the most common. Boasting a vibrant LGBTQ+ community, Chicago is home to Northalsted, the country’s first officially designated gay neighborhood, and has a full month of Pride celebrations each year.


Hubbard Street is committed to taking ongoing action to make the organization and the world more diverse, inclusive, and anti-racist. In the search process for a new artistic leader, Hubbard Street has committed to:

 Partner with an executive search firm with a history of placing diverse candidates.

 Incorporate input from the diverse voices of its staff, dancers, and broader community in determining what Hubbard Street needs in a new leader.

 Include people of color and representatives from the larger dance community on the search committee.

 Require all search committee members to have taken part in equity, diversity, inclusion, and structural racism training.

 Commit to prioritize interviewing a diverse slate of candidates.

Position Summary
Reporting to the board of directors in an equal position alongside the Executive Director, the Artistic Director will be the face of Hubbard Street Dance and the public storyteller for the company. The Artistic Director will bring people from a variety of backgrounds into the company’s artistry. They will provide cultural and historical context, stylistic connections between forms, and a balance of work to inspire new appreciation and excitement about dance, the range of emotional experiences it can foster, and the future of the artform. The Artistic Director will provide inspirational leadership as the curator of a robust mix of dance programming, centered on recruiting and developing world-class repertory dancers and representing a contrasting and growing set of internationally prominent choreographers as well as dynamic emerging talents. Their artistic focus will make the most of the dancers’ unique ability to surprise and delight audiences with work in multiple dance expressions from choreographers with a wide array of cultural and artistic backgrounds, visions, and interpretations.

The Artistic Director will be responsible for supporting and growing work within the company and authentically engaging outside funders, donors, audiences, educators, and community partners. Given the cultural impact and high visibility of the Artistic Director’s choices for Hubbard Street, this individual will be at the forefront of leading the board, staff, and dancers to ensure the advancement of diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism initiatives. This includes supporting structural policies, inclusive decision making, and internal and external messaging.

Roles and Responsibilities
Artistic Creativity and Communication
 Conceive and develop Hubbard Street’s artistic vision by creating a dynamic dance repertoire comprised of new commissions and existing work to express that vision.

 Clearly communicate the artistic vision with dancers, staff, and the board.

 Lead the dancers, technicians, and production teams with clarity and inspiration, fostering an environment of collaborative innovation with a collectively understood and unified purpose and direction.

 Cultivate relationships with prominent and emerging choreographers, bringing their work to the company and introducing and contextualizing it to the dancers and the Hubbard Street community, while ensuring a high level of artistic excellence.

 Embrace artistic experimentation and risk taking within an understanding of appropriate timing, progress, and openness from the company’s dancers and audiences.

 Identify and provide necessary and physically safe training for dancers to support the incorporation of new dances and techniques into their repertoire.

 Provide illuminating context for artistic works in order to draw audiences more deeply into each performance.

 Create a balance of work within each evening and season to generate enthusiasm, appreciation, and growth in the perspectives of the company’s audiences and supporters.

 Develop and clearly articulate artistic plans for upcoming seasons, including a thoughtful framework for advancing the artistic experience of the company over time.

 Synthesize complex issues and processes and articulate them succinctly to break down barriers and build understanding with all constituents.

 Innovate and adapt programs and formats to the changing circumstances in the world, leading the field in embracing multiple dance forms, new modes of physical production, dance film productions, virtual capture and distribution, cross-disciplinary performing arts collaborations that include dance, social justice movements, and other practical or societal factors.

 Collaborate with the board and Executive Director to build an organization that leads in both the understanding and practical application of equity, diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism principles, including championing the engagement of culture- and identity-diverse choreographers, dancers, technicians, musicians, designers, board members, and staff.

 Conduct auditions to identify and engage dancers representing the world’s best talent that is commensurate with the reputation and existing dancers of the company.

 Act as a mentor and supervisor to dancers and other artistic staff.

 Lead by example to create and maintain a congenial and healthy work environment in which dancers, staff, and board members effectively work together with mutual respect.

Resource Management and Departmental Collaboration
 Serve as a leader in setting Hubbard Street’s strategic planning and community engagement in 2021 and beyond, unifying the implementation of the artistic mission with organizational and societal priorities.

 Thoughtfully collaborate with the Executive Director on short- and long-term approaches to securing necessary resources to effectively develop and implement the artistic vision and goals of the company.

 Explore and engage with the community to surface the best possibilities for the artistic mission to flourish with the available financial, human, and technical assets.

 Appreciate the fundamental relationship between financial sustainability and artistic growth and expression, actively exploring ways for decisions around finances and art to create a positively reinforcing system.

 Embrace accountability for the overall health of the company on all fronts, including artistic impact, audience engagement, company culture, and financial strength.

 Deliver succinct, timely, and relevant information to the entire team to allow artists, staff departments, and the board to fully deliver on their responsibilities.

 Partner with the Marketing and Development departments and external relations experts on the most effective ways to tell the story of Hubbard Street and its artists to the public and to build relationships with individual supporters.

 Support the company’s educational efforts in Chicago Public Schools, Community Partners, and the Parkinson’s Project, collaborating with the Education Department and expressing an active interest in the ways dance and creative expression can expand the lives of people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities.

External Relations and Public Engagement
 Serve as the public face of Hubbard Street, including visibly attending cultural events throughout the community and representing the company as a prominent spokesperson in local, national, and international forums.

 Cultivate an ongoing dialogue with audiences through multiple mediums about the artistic work of the company and the artform writ large.

 Attend industry conferences and booking events to build professional connections and touring opportunities for the company.

 Explore strategic and collaborative partnerships inside and outside of Chicago, building awareness and investment in contemporary dance through genuine and mutually beneficial relationship building.

 Embrace other external relations and public engagement activities, as needed.

Traits and Characteristics
The Artistic Director will be a charismatic and action-oriented leader with a passion for entrepreneurial innovation and for sharing the artistry of dance throughout the modern world. The Artistic Director will have a people-centered perspective to build new relationships throughout the Chicago community and to invest in the dancers and staff with a commitment to kindness, mutual understanding, collaboration, and personal development for every member of the team. Possessing exemplary professional and personal integrity, this individual will have the humility to embrace feedback and support Hubbard Street through its own ongoing self-improvement. As a continuous learner with a deep curiosity about a changing world, the Artistic Director will seek out new ways to inspire through the medium of dance. Flexible and creative, they will be open to not only new dance styles but also new formats for the presentation of dance, including alternative performance locations, virtual creation and distribution of art, and varying structures for the daily governance and operations of a repertory dance company.

Open to all ideas while remaining grounded, the Artistic Director will have the ability to confidently lead Hubbard Street into new territory, valuing the team’s advancement over their own personal status. A perceptive listener who values creating a cohesive and supportive work environment, the Artistic Director will embrace an open-door policy with dancers, staff, board members, supporters, and partners outside the organization.

Other key competencies include:

 Diplomacy and Teamwork – The capacity to facilitate cooperation between groups or individuals, ensure that all individuals are heard as they wish to be heard, tactfully handle difficult or sensitive issues, treat all parties fairly and with humility regarding personal biases or beliefs, and build positive and productive relationships by addressing organizational challenges.

 Appreciating Others and Human Resource Development – The belief that the impact of art is driven by a collaborative team where each individual is understood for their unique motivations, talents, and skills and is encouraged to grow through their involvement with the organization, and where success is determined through an inclusive and collective perspective.

 Leadership and Decision Making – The clarity to prioritize strategic initiatives, understand the resources needed to accomplish short- and long-term goals, inspire and create a sense of unified direction, and clearly and effectively communicate about choices and purpose to a variety of internal and external stakeholders.

 Personal and Professional Accountability – The credibility to meet the highest ethical standards in daily activity and in establishing relevant, realistic, and attainable artistic and financial goals to build trust in an atmosphere of transparency and honesty.

Hubbard Street does not require any specific educational degree or set number of years of experience in artistic leadership or management. Qualified applicants coming from any formal or informal background must demonstrate a track record of success with innovative team leadership, relationship building in a new environment, fostering community, and enhancing financial support for artistic endeavors. The Artistic Director may or may not be a choreographer whose work will be incorporated into the company’s performances, but a deep knowledge and passion for a variety of international dance forms and styles is expected. Extensive knowledge of the functioning of a repertory dance company, including the opportunities and challenges of touring, and experience thoughtfully, respectfully, and effectively collaborating with a board, dancers, and staff in each operational department are required. A comprehensive understanding of the Chicago community or a demonstrated record of being able to rapidly engage with and become a part of a new community is necessary. Candidates will be considered locally from Chicago, nationally in the United States, and internationally. The selected candidate will be required to live in Chicago as their full-time residence while serving as Artistic Director.

Compensation and Benefits
Hubbard Street offers competitive compensation, with a salary range between $150,000 and $175,000, and a robust benefits package including insurance, retirement, and paid time off.

Applications and Inquiries
To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred), please click here or visit For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:

Douglas R. Clayton, Senior Vice President
Arts Consulting Group
201 West Lake Street, Suite 133
Chicago, IL 60606-1803
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 202
Email: [email protected]

Hubbard Street has a personal commitment to challenging the status quo and making the company and the world more diverse, inclusive, and anti-racist, including through hiring practices.