Chicago Dance Review: HUBBARD STREET SPRING SERIES (An Evening of Alejandro Cerrudo at the Harris)

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by Lawrence Bommer on March 25, 2018

in Dance,Theater-Chicago


It’s now dance history but, performed last weekend at the Auditorium Theatre, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s annual Spring Series, An Evening of Alejandro Cerrudo, delivered some exciting goods. This four-work salute to the creativity of the young, Madrid-born choreographer testified to his transformative alchemy. With rigor and style, Cerrudo turns dance into stories. His work merits this concentrated showcase which generously displayed his penchant for fervent patterning, pauses that perplex, interrupted emotions, and ecstatic to excessive dances in tandem.

Cerebral and almost chemical, Lickety-Split, Cerrudo’s first contribution to Hubbard Street (2006), depicts three couples in traumatic throes as their relationships percolate and evolve. No warm and fuzzy steps here, nor in the songs of Bay Area’s Devendra Banhart, but we register the thrill of the unexpected as volatile feelings find literal expression.

A curiosity that molds monologues with movement, Cerrudo’s 2009 Off Screen ingeniously interweaves 16 musical passages from assorted movie scores. It begins and ends with somewhat pretentious speeches about, respectively, the malleability and power of dreams to reinvent reality and the conditionality of revelations, spoken by performers in a balcony box or sauntering along the stage apron, flailing with a cane. Here seven dancers literally upend expectations as they play with an inflated black shroud or a towering silk curtain. Employing the outsized gestures of silent-screen comics, they indulge in frenetic abandon and a kind of sinister slapstick, as if chaos is the real “off-screen” subtext for the dream factories’ celluloid magic.

A 2015 offering and Chicago premiere, Silent Ghost is fueled by a plaintive original score by Dustin Hamman, King Creosote & John Hopkins, Olafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm. Called an “indie love story,” with the artists constantly in transit, this cryptic creation is filled with sad disruptions implying sudden and cumulative losses.

Finally, all stops get pulled out for the crowd-pleasing, all-company presentation of Out of Your Mind. This world premiere, a daunting series of episodic encounters, tests the discipline of the dancers as much as it exposes the fluidity of this eclectic choreographer. “Out of your mind,” it seems, is not always such a bad place to be.

photos by Cheryl Mann and Todd Rosenberg

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
Season 40 Spring Series: An Evening of Alejandro Cerrudo
Harris Theater for Music and Dance
Millennium Park, 205 East Randolph St
ends on March 24, 2018
for tickets, call 312-850-9744 or visit Hubbard

for more shows, visit Theatre in Chicago

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