Hubbard Street Dance celebrates Chagall with new work by Cerrudo

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Alejandro Cerrudo, Resident Choreographer and Dancer as Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, announced the Company’s 35th Anniversary season at Art Institute of Chicago Tuesday, February 28, 2012. | John H. White~Chicago Sun-Times.

Gathering Tuesday morning in front of Marc Chagall’s “America Windows” – the striking cobalt blue stained glass mural that pays homage to the arts and religious freedom, and is a permanent fixture at the Art Institute of Chicago – representatives of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago announced the opening salvo in their yearlong celebration of the company’s 35th anniversary.

Launching that 2012-2013 season, Oct. 18-21 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, will be the world premiere of the first full-length work devised for the company – a new piece by Alejandro Cerrudo, the Madrid-born ensemble member who also serves as the company’s resident choreographer, and has built an international reputation as a dancemaker during the past eight years.

Cerrudo’s new work, which he explained will “be inspired by the magic and mystery of Chagall’s glass mural, but not a literal interpretation of it” – will involve the full Hubbard Street ensemble and at least some members of Hubbard Street 2. It will be set to music by the widely known American composer, Philip Glass. The company is dedicating the piece to Mayor Rahm Emanuel who, as Michelle Boone, Chicago’s Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events noted, “is crazy about dance, sees Hubbard Street as the city’s international ambassador to dance, and wants to make Chicago an international center of dance and culture.”

Founded by Lou Conte in 1977, and now under the artistic direction of Glenn Edgerton, Hubbard Street is the contemporary ensemble that first put Chicago on the local, national and global dance map. In a perfect bit of synchrony, Chagall’s “America Windows” were dedicated to Mayor Richard J. Daley in 1977, just a year after this country celebrated its bicentennial.

Cerrudo, who came to the U.S. to join Hubbard Street in 2005, and was named the company’s first resident choreographer four years later, said his working title for his dance is “A Thousand Pieces.” It suggests the many sections of glass that comprise Chagall’s mural – a work that contains a small figure of the Statue of Liberty, but otherwise seems to capture the spirit of the arts and prayer in the early 20th century world of his native Vitebsk (in Belarus, on the border with Russia). But as Mary Sue Glosser of the Art Institute of Chicago noted, “This will be a unique opportunity to have dance in dialogue with a work of art.”

Though there are relatively few full-length works in all of modern dance, Cerrudo pointed to Sweden’s Mats Ek as an inspiration for such extended pieces.

But his work is mostly based on stories and mine will be abstract,” said Cerrudo, “although what is really abstract when you put a man and a woman on a stage together?”

NOTE: Those unfamiliar with Cerrudo’s work will have an opportunity to see his latest piece, “Little mortal jump,” his 10th work for Hubbard Street, when the company performs at the Harris Theatre, March 15-18. Also on the program will be pieces by Israeli choreographer Sharon Eyal and California-based Alonzo King. Tickets: (312) 850-9744 or visit hubbardstreetdance.com.

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