Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, the gifted Spanish-bred choreographer who served from 2009-2013 as the highly innovative artistic director of Chicago’s acclaimed Luna Negra Dance Theatre, and who, beginning in the summer of 2015 will become artistic director of the National Dance Company of Wales, has been commissioned to create a new work for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s spring 2015 season. The commission has been made possible through the support of the Harris Theater, the See the Dance Consortium, and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Sansano’s piece, “I am Mister B,” will be set to the final movement of Tchaikovsky’s third suite for orchestra in G major (op. 55, 1884). It is in part an homage to choreographer George Balanchine’s landmark work, “Theme and Variations,” which was set to the same score, and was first performed in 1947 by American Ballet Theatre.
Award-winning designer Luis Crespo will create stage decor for the work, with lighting by Jared B. Moore. Both these artists contributed to “CARMEN.maquia,” Sansano’s stunning Cubist-infused 2012 choreographic interpretation of the Bizet opera. Branimira Ivanova returns for a second costume design credit this season at Hubbard Street, following the company’s hit collaboration with The Second City in “The Art of Falling.”
Sansano’s world premiere will join a previously announced program running March 12-15 at the Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph. Along with Sansano’s piece, the lineup will include: “Cloudless,” by Hubbard Street resident choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo; “Falling Angels” and “Sarabande,” by master dancemaker Jiri Kylian, and the company premiere of “Picture of You Falling,” by Crystal Pite, the fascinating choreographer who is founder and artistic director of Kidd Pivot.
In a prepared statement, Sansano (whose leadership of Luna Negra was much celebrated until the company suffered a financial meltdown) said: “It’s very special for me to return to Chicago, a city that’s shown so much love and support for my work, and to Hubbard Street, where I danced early in my career as a performer. This occasion has inspired me to create a little celebration of dance, in tribute to George Balanchine, whose ‘Theme and Variations’ was a favorite work of mine to perform when I was a ballet dancer. With ‘I am Mister B,’ I hope to keep the energy and feeling of that classic piece alive.”
Michael Tiknis, president and managing director of the Harris Theater noted: “The commissioning of Gustavo Ramírez Sansano for Hubbard Street is just the beginning of an exciting new step for us, and we are proud this gifted choreographer has accepted. The commissioning of new works will increasingly become an important part of the future direction of the Harris and is made possible by our Imagine campaign. This new work joins previous Harris Theater commissions, including Hubbard Street and The Second City’s ‘The Art of Falling,’ Trey McIntyre Project’s ‘The Vinegar Works: Four Dances of Moral Instruction,’ and Mark Morris Dance Group’s ‘Romeo and Juliet, On Motifs of Shakespeare,’ among others.”
For tickets to Hubbard Street’s spring program: (312) 850-9744 or www.hubbardstreetdance.
NOTE: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago is currently performing a trio of new works by Kyle Abraham, Robyn Mineko Williams and Victor Quijada at the Museum of Contemporary Art Theatre, 250 E. Chicago. The program runs through Dec. 14. Tickets: (312) 397-4010; www.mcachicago.org.