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Dance Mon Jun 15 2015

Cerrudo's Work Shines in Hubbard Street Summer Series

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Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's Summer Series began in unique fashion June 11. The weekend-long run, and the last show of the company's 2015 season, featured three works by a single choreographer, Alejandro Cerrudo.

Cerrudo is Hubbard Street's first resident choreographer, and the show featured his 14th world premiere for the company sandwiched between two audience favorites. This marked the second time Hubbard Street has devoted an entire show to one artist.

The performance began with Extremely Close, choreographed for Hubbard Street in 2007. It begins with white feathers falling from the sky. I couldn't help but associate those feathers with the movement of the dancers, which at times seemed birdlike. Small motions were fast, sharp and angular, almost peckish in nature. These were offset by sweeping movements and extensions that brought to mind the swooping and grace of a larger bird's flight.

The dancers exhibited excellent control. The choreography was interesting and smart, and the dancers infused small movements with great emotion, traits that continue throughout Cerrudo's pieces.

It ended with one dancer pulling a black fabric--along with the feathers--away from the stage and over a motionless dancer on the ground, leaving the audience unsettled, but in the best way possible.

Cerrudo's debut of Still in Motion came second in the program. This piece featured a lot of movement on and across the stage--dancers always seemed to be coming and going.

There was a motif of bent legs: in standing, in the air, and in a series of exaggerated, slowed-down marches around the stage, again featuring the incredible control and technique of the Hubbard Street dancers.

Many of Cerrudo's movements began deep at the dancer's center. The dancers allowed these motions to finish completely, making their way throughout the entire body before moving onto the next step, showing excellent restraint.

During this piece, I noticed an element of Cerrudo's choreography echoed throughout the entire show. He seems to use the floor as a major player in his dance making. Dancers slide, spin, and connect with the ground. He really takes advantage of the stage as a place from which movement can spring and expand as opposed to just a place that movement should be created upon, providing a richer viewing experience.

Cerrudo created Little mortal jump as his tenth Hubbard Street piece in 2012. This piece runs the emotional gamut, keeping the audience engaged through intricate and technical choreographer and elements of playfulness, romanticism, and mystery.

The dancers at times seemed like inanimate objects brought to life; the piece opened with a dancer who moved like an excitable puppet, full of fun and joy.

As the piece progressed, I felt that I was watching a beautiful, engaging, controlled frenzy. It kept the audience captivated--you could feel the stillness in the room as all of the focus shifted entirely to the magic happening on the stage.

In a night dedicated to Cerrudo, the mastery of his work shone through, bringing an excellent Hubbard Street Dance season to a close on a high note.

 
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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »

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