Chicago Dance Feature: ONE THOUSAND PIECES (Hubbard Street Dance Chicago)

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by Tony Frankel on October 10, 2012

in Dance,Theater-Chicago


There is quite a bit of buzz surrounding Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s One Thousand Pieces, which will commence the company’s 35th season. Inspired by Chagall’s masterpiece, America Windows, Madrid-born resident choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo is creating his first full-length dance program, which happens also to be HSDC’s first full-evening presentation by a single choreographer, featuring a single theme. Whether by meaningful coincidence or a stroke of publicity genius (probably the latter), the list of concurrences around One Thousand Pieces is astounding.

Tony Frankel’s Stage and Cinema feature on Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s ONE THOUSAND PIECESThe late Marc Chagall learned that a gallery in his honor was being planned as part of the Chicago Art Institute’s 1970’s expansion program and offered to design and create America Windows expressly for the Art Institute. The theme, coinciding with the American Bicentennial, celebrates freedom of expression as it applies to the arts.  Chagall collaborated with the French stained-glass artist Charles Marq, who fabricated 36 colored glass panels on which Chagall painted his design, which infuses familiar American icons, references to Chicago, and symbols of the fine arts (music, theater, dance) with an ethereality that suggests the creative expansiveness made possible by American freedom and liberty; its themes resonate in a royal and sapphire blue eddy.  The windows measure more than 8 feet high, and more than 30 feet wide, in three parts, each with 12 separate sections.

Tony Frankel’s Stage and Cinema feature on Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s ONE THOUSAND PIECESWhen Chagall learned of Mayor Richard J. Daley’s death in 1976, he decided that the windows would also serve as a memorial to the late mayor. Now, 35 years later, Hubbard Street, which was founded in 1977 – the same year that the windows were dedicated to Daley – dedicates Cerrudo’s work to former dancer Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a great supporter of dance and culture in Chicago, who is committed to making Chicago a worldwide destination for dance.  (For even further synchronicity, make note of another event in town: Chicago Shakespeare Theatre has staged a glorious production of Sunday in the Park with George, which is based on a another masterwork on permanent display at the Art Institute.)

Cerrudo’s work, which plays at the Harris Theater in Millennium Park October 18-21, 2012, is not just inspired by American Windows, but by composer Philip Glass, another of Cerrudo’s great inspirations who celebrated his 75th birthday in 2012; One Thousand Pieces is set to the music of the iconic American composer, creator of operas (Einstein on the Beach), films (Koyaanisqatsi, The Hours), eight symphonies, two piano concertos, concertos for various instruments, and much more.

Tony Frankel’s Stage and Cinema feature on Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s ONE THOUSAND PIECESAs one of the world’s most important contemporary dance companies, Hubbard Street encompasses a vast array of techniques and forms, as well as an understanding of abstract artistry and the emotional nuances of movement.  Critically acclaimed for its exuberant, athletic, and innovative repertoire, Hubbard Street presents performances that inspire, challenge, and engage audiences worldwide.  The company’s ensemble of dancers displays unparalleled versatility and virtuosity, allowing Hubbard Street to expand its eclectic repertoire with works by American and international master choreographers.  Hubbard Street today features 18 dancers, and is one of the only companies in America to perform year-round, domestically as well as overseas.  It continues to advocate for the work of internationally renowned master choreographers as well as the emerging talent under its own roof, through multiple initiatives for new work and its annual Summer Intensive.

Tony Frankel’s Stage and Cinema feature on Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s ONE THOUSAND PIECESIn 2008 Cerrudo was named Hubbard Street Choreographic Fellow, and became the company’s first Resident Choreographer in 2009.  Cerrudo has created several works for Hubbard Street and for the company’s unique collaborations with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Nederlands Dans Theater.  “Hubbard Street has given me the opportunity to launch my career as a choreographer and I will always be grateful for that,” says Cerrudo.  His abstract work will “be inspired by the magic and mystery of Chagall’s glass mural, but not a literal interpretation of it.”  Cerrudo commented at a press conference that the dance would communicate mystery.  “I don’t want to be literal.  I don’t want to teach anyone anything.”

Tony Frankel’s Stage and Cinema feature on Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s ONE THOUSAND PIECESThe dance’s title One Thousand Pieces refers to the many pieces of glass in the windows, and how the little pieces come together to make a whole beautiful artwork.  “With America Windows as my inspiration, the music of Philip Glass as my frame, the Harris Theater stage as my canvas and the dancers of Hubbard Street as my paintbrush, I hope to create a magical evening that does justice to this renowned dance company, and honors a City that has become my home.”

photos by Todd Rosenberg

One Thousand Pieces
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
Harris Theater for Music and Dance
Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph Dr.
plays October 18-21, 2012
for tickets, call 312-850-9744 or visit Hubbard Street

for more shows, visit Theatre in Chicago

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