alejandro cerrudo Ballet

Crafting "Restless Creature": Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's Resident Choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo on Creating with Wendy Whelan

Thursday, January 15, 2015 Cora

When contemporary ballerina Phenom, Wendy Whelan, retired from the New York City Ballet, she did not stop dancing. Her journey continues with Restless Creature, four duets she performs with some of the most in demand choreographers. One of the hand-picked choreographers is Alejandro Cerrudo, the resident choreographer of Hubbard Street Chicago Dance. Restless Creature debuts in Chicago at the Harris Theater 7:30 pm Wednesday, January 21, 2015.

Alejandro Cerrudo How someone recounts an opportunity to other people shows how much they comprehend the magnitude of the opportunity. My dance teacher danced with Mikhail Baryshnikov once. While some might make this memory a t-shirt or work it into every conversation, she would only bring it up if absolutely necessary and then it was a whisper. To put in context if you’re unfamiliar with Wendy Whelan: if Baryshnikov is Zeus, Wendy is Athena. Cerrudo fully understood the importance of being tapped to venture forth on her pilgrimage. The Spanish Cerrudo first met Whelan at their first rehearsal. He knew of her and her work, but he didn’t what she wanted. He wasn’t sure what he was going to do, but they went right into rehearsal. She gave him complete freedom to create. Besides creating one fourth of a new endeavor, something unique for Cerrudo was he doesn’t usually choreograph for himself. He did when he first started dancing, but not much since then.

Wendy Whelan

What he loves about his piece is he dances with Whelan. “She is a big star,” he said on the phone. “I never thought I’d be dancing with her.” He stressed what a fantastic person she was, so optimistic in the studio and helps a lot. Both had the Harris Theater in mind for Restless Creature. Whelan said in her press release, “I actually had the Harris Theater in mind while I was developing my project. I sort of tailor-made the work for this kind of theater.” Cerrudo said his piece was created for the space in an abstract way. He loves the Harris Theater. “I perform there so much it feels like home,” Cerrudo said. “I always have the Harris Theater in mind when choreographing. Any work, any company.” He couldn’t go into detail, but he said the theater’s contemporary look plays a part in the show.

He says the experience took everyone’s careers to another level, adding it was not an opportunity to show off, but learn from each other. He admired how she faced new challenges. The new definition of a ballerina now immersed herself in modern dance. Instead of pointe shoes, she wears socks with Cerrudo. She’s bare foot with Brian Brooks. It says something not only about Cerrudo’s work that he was chosen, but the amount of trust and faith Whelan had in him. She wanted next chapter in her tome of dance to be completely different. She knew he would provide that experience. It may not be on this magnitude with our passions and careers, but so many of us who have done something different know what it’s like: the excitement of the unknown and the fear of the unknown. You find allies and teachers. She found both in the young choreographer residing at Hubbard Street Dance, a name synonymous with "quality" and "Chicago". For tickets and more information about the performance, visit The Harris Theater website.

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