This coming weekend (March 23rd & 24th) is the much anticipated return of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago to the historic Auditorium Theatre stage for the first time in a full evening performance in 20 years. The two night engagement devotes itself to celebrating the works of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's critically acclaimed Resident Choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo.
The program will navigate through past favorites choreographed by Cerrudo during his ten year history with Hubbard Street, as well as including a world premiere designed specifically with the space of the Auditorium in mind. “The return to the Auditorium seemed an ideal occasion to showcase Alejandro’s work, an artist who has helped shape the aesthetic of the company for a decade,” said Artistic Director Glenn Edgerton. Hubbard Street is no stranger to the Auditorium’s stage with recent performances at “A Golden Celebration of Dance” for the Auditorium’s 50th anniversary gala and Chicago’s annual “Dance For Life”.
This weekend’s performances will showcase the progression of Alejandro Cerrudo’s career by starting off with early pieces like the sensual contemporary piece Lickety-Split (2006) and cinematic Off Screen (2009), along with the Chicago premiere of Silent Ghost (2015) and culminating to the world premiere created specifically for this performance series. Chief Executive Officer of the Auditorium Theatre Tania Castroverde Moskalenko expressed that it was high time to bring Hubbard Street back for a full-length evening. “The company has a sensibility of movement and choreography that is cutting edge for dance,” Moskalenko states. “Alejandro is a brilliant choreographer. I got to sit in on rehearsals earlier this week and the new piece is just riveting”.
I was able to speak with Alejandro Cerrudo about the upcoming performance and asked what it is like to revisit his past works. Two words: great memories. Cerrudo explained how Lickety-Split was his first professional commissioned work with Hubbard. “It was well received, but very different from what I do now. Where I started and where I am today will be interesting for the audience to see.”
Born in Madrid, Spain and joining Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in 2005, Cerrudo was named Choreographic Fellow in 2008 and became the company’s first Resident Choreographer in 2009. Cerrudo discussed when he first started with Hubbard Street, it was the exciting direction the company was taking that attracted him and what fun this opportunity would be. As we chatted about what advice he would give to any young artists out there, the recurring theme was to experience as many different things as possible, expose yourself to the arts, inform yourself and most of all have fun. His passion is truly infectious and if you have been lucky enough to ever see his work, you will know exactly what I mean. His many honors as a choreographer include the Joyce Theater Foundation’s Rudolf Nureyev Prize, an award from the Boomerang Fund for Artists, a Prince Prize from the Prince Charitable Trusts and the 2014 USA Donnelley Fellow by United States Artists.
So, how does one create such award-winning works? What is the secret? Cerrudo was quick to express that when approaching every work the process varies from piece to piece. “My work now I think has a maturity in process – the pace I have in the studio has changed – my approach to the work has changed,” he explains. Audiences can expect a sampled overview in this choreographer's experiences. When working on a piece, organic moments tend to pop out with what is working and what isn't. Cerrudo shows appreciation and a great ability to aide those organic moments to fully form into something towards what would become apart of the final version. “I love connecting with the dancer.” He explains the willingness to listen to those he's working with in regards to feedback and how the practice room becomes a space of collaboration. He is the one connecting the dots and making edits and shaping the piece, but expresses how exciting it is when “my work becomes our work”. With crunch time fast approaching and the nerves kicking in, the excitement is palpable and I think it is safe to say I for one am ready for what Cerrudo and Hubbard Street has in store.
These performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24 at the Auditorium Theatre (50 E. Congress, Chicago). For more information and tickets, please visit hubbardstreetdance.com /or AuditoriumTheatre.org or by phone at 312-635- 3799 /or 312.341.2300.
Cover photograph Hubbard Street Dance Chicago performs Alejandro Cerrudo's Niebla. by: TODD ROSENBERG
Mary Crylen is a photographer and writer based in Chicago. She is an alum of Southern Illinois University of Carbondale with dual degrees in English and Photography. She possesses a sincere passion for the arts and believes zeal shows through work. Follow her on Twitter!