Little Mortal Jump, a 2012 favorite and Cerrudo’s tenth Hubbard Street creation, is the most light-hearted of the three works. The finale to a full evening of complex ideas and intense dancing, Jump incorporates enormous black boxes, and stylized lighting—once again showing the immensity of Cerrudo’s style. Jump takes the audience on a journey that includes dancers running through the audience, jumping (and sticking!) onto walls of velcro, and a movement template that is quirky and fun. The climax of this work provides epic emotion, despite the light-heartedness of the piece as a whole.
Sandwiched between the older works, is his new world premiere, pared down and meant to bring audiences back to the simplicities that make Cerrudo’s work relatable. Cerrudo’s in-progress work, with costumes by Branimira Ivanova and lighting design by Michael Korsch, demands attention to detail and a simple focus on the physical bodies of the dancers. In crafting, Cerrudo meticulously obsesses over the mechanics a single lift for ten full minutes. While viewing the piece in-progress, it is apparent that this work for four men and four women, will be a testament to the power of simplicity. Cerrudo’s insistence on perfect detail illustrates his clear intention for the new work.
The eight dancers cast for the premiere, Jacqueline Burnett, Alice Klock, Ana Lopez, Jessica Tong, Garrett Patrick Anderson, Jonathan Fredrickson, Michael Gross, and Andrew Murdock stand in a single line, highlighting the width of the stage, in what will presumably be the opening of the piece. The piece builds slowly to music by the band Tosca, as movement motif squiggles its way across the line. Little quirks, such as one finger pointed into the air demonstrate this choreographer’s profound ability to take otherwise arbitrary movement details and give them meaning that is at once undefined and incredibly important.
Another section of the new work, a trio for three women, sees dancers Jaqueline Burnett, and long, leggy Ana Lopez, slithering on the floor, belly down, like earthworms as Jessica Tong stoically makes her way down the center of the stage. In rehearsal, Cerrudo is challenged to fit the steps of this section precisely to the music, a hallmark of his work, and spends additional time adjusting individual footsteps, to ensure smooth, unison movement between the women.
In discussing the work, Cerrudo explains, “I don’t want to compare this new piece to anything I’ve done in the past. I always take a different approach when I start something new and I don’t know how it will turn out. This can be scary.” And with a sly grin, he adds, “It is scary, but I always hope it is worth it in the end.”
Hubbard Street’s Summer Series runs June 11-14 at The Harris Theater at Millenium Park, 205 East Randolph Drive.
Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's resident choreographer, Alejandro Cerrudo, watches the company perform from backstage (photo by Todd Rosenberg).
On June 11, 2014, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago will present its Summer Series highlighting the work of its wildly celebrated resident choreographer, Alejandro Cerrudo. Cerrudo will see his fourteenth Hubbard Street Dance Chicago original, alongside two of his older crowd favorites. His choreographic work with Hubbard Street encompasses nine years and makes history for the company matching in number the amount of dances Founder Lou Conte, himself, set on the company in the 1970s and '80s. Cerrudo was named Hubbard Street’s first-ever resident choreographer in 2009, and the upcoming Summer Series is just the second time the company has dedicated an entire series to the work of one choreographer. In each of his unique works for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, it can be seen that Cerrudo has undoubtedly grown over the years. When asked about his evolution he insists, “I certainly hope I have grown, but I try not to think of it like that. I want to approach each new work, one at a time.”
Cerrudo’s past works, Extremely Close, and Little Mortal Jump will accompany his yet-to-be-titled world premiere for the June showings. Cerrudo says of the engagement, “I hope this summer will feel like a celebration, not a test for my work.”
First up is Cerrudo’s 2007 work, Extremely Close. Large white walls, white feathers, and a series of signature Cerrudo-style partnering masterpieces remind audiences of Cerrudo’s incredible ability to create a big picture in each of his dances. Inspired by music by composers Philip Glass and Dustin O’Halloran, Extremely Close was originally developed with students from the College of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Walls open swiftly, spin through space, reveal and conceal dancers, “dancing almost as much as the dancers themselves,” Zachary Whittenburg, Hubbard Street Manager of Communication explains. Close debuted with the company in 2007 and has since been performed by Madrid’s Compañía Nacional de Danza and by ballet companies in Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Tulsa.