Alejandro Cerrudo, choreographer, 38, is a man with a vision: to transform the world of dance culture through works of riveting expressiveness. He left his long-term position as resident choreographer with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (HSDC) in November 2018 without fanfare, and has already set numerous dances on companies around the country and has premieres being developed throughout the world.
Aspen Santa Fe Ballet did a tour to Israel with Silent Ghost in February 2019. Juilliard premiered Little Mortal Jump on March 27th, 2019. Grand Rapids Ballet premiered Extremely Close on April 12th, 2019. San Francisco Danceworks will be premiering one of his personal favorite pieces, Cloudless on June 20, 2019 in San Francisco. Pacific Northwest Ballet will be presenting the full evening work One Thousand Pieces on March 13th, 2020 in Seattle. Milwaukee Ballet will be performing Extremely Close on March 26th, 2020. Cincinnati Ballet will also be performing Extremely Close in May 2020. Czech National Ballet will also present a collaborative Cerrudo work in the fall of 2020. More commissions and collaborations are in the works, and will be announced in due course.
Last year, HSDC devoted their entire Spring Program to a retrospective of his work, culled from pieces he choreographed between 2006, the year after he joined the company as a dancer, through 2018, when he set the fascinating Out of Your Mind on his colleagues. Viewing the pieces representative of the 12 year span of his work, anyone could observe a clear process of mature growth and deliberate artistic development.
A sure and certain characteristic style is also evident; the dances are made up of clever themes and intelligent concepts expressed in technically spare and elegant modern moves. A sense of humor and a note of whimsy is interspersed with romanticism. It is obvious that the choreographer is a ballet master who knows his dancers and draws out of them the best that talent and refined technique- his and theirs- can produce.
With his departure from HSDC, all of his work is departing as well. After this summer, HSDC will only have the rights to perform Out of Your Mind until 2021; a portion of this brilliant piece will be danced in their upcoming Summer Series, June 6-9, 2019 at the Harris Theater, Chicago. “We had different artistic visions”, is all Cerrudo says about the parting.
He is a passionate advocate for dance aesthetic as a superior form of art, and is most articulate when enthusing about conceptual choreography, in the creation of which he excels. His work is exquisite, at turns deeply cerebral, vividly visceral, funny and tactile in the extreme. I asked him why consumers should go to see an evening-length concert dance program.“Dance offers an escape from daily life. I always try to make the audience forget their day, to have them become immersed in a world they’ve never seen before.”
He becomes impatient at the idea that a dance tells a pat story. “It is non-linear. The ideas are not constrained; they are universal. To view dance is not the same as looking at television!” Cerrudo pauses, reflects, “It is an experience of emotions and sensations. The viewer should let herself go and not try to imagine a story.”
When I inquire about the selection of music to accompany dance, he says, “Choreography is more than movement and music. It’s more than light and props. It is many, many things; it’s the dancers and the mood of the audience. You can make an amazing dance with no music! All you need is a person- not even necessarily a dancer….there are so many factors you can use on stage.” He stops, thinks some more and goes on, “What makes a dance? If we want to progress, we must absorb and embrace technology, history, our place in the cultural pantheon; we must evolve with the world in which we live”.
And his own personal goals? “To keep on growing as a human, a partner, a father, and as an artist. To keep developing with the companies with whom I have worked already, to collaborate with new companies always, and as a special goal, to produce my own work. I am currently working on self-producing an independent project, dear to my heart.” The infectious smile blooms, “I want to contribute to the evolution of dance in America and the world. I would love it if one day I could feel that I have helped to expand the concept and meaning of dance, opened up it’s limitless possibilities, shared it’s spectacle nature, and eliminated preconceptions.”
All photos by THEGINGERB3ARDMEN