On the scale of out-and-out frenzy, many contemporary choreographers like to aim for 10. The Chicago-nurtured Alejandro Cerrudo has a more melodious style. His syrupy movements and harmonious couplings are constructions of beauty: challenging to execute, but effortless in appearance. Of the ten dances he has created since joining Hubbard Street in 2005 as a dancer, there’s not a bombastic one in the bunch.

On October 18, the Madrid native, 32, will premiere One Thousand Pieces, the first evening-length work of his career. For a guy with a skeptical view of the literal, he was handed a doozy by his bosses: the job of kicking off Hubbard Street’s 35th-anniversary season by paying homage to those familiar panels given to the Art Institute 35 years ago by the artist Marc Chagall. The choreographer is emphatic that the windows will not appear onstage. “The piece is abstract,” he explains. Set to the music of Philip Glass, the dance will play with the properties of stained glass: the way it filters and colors light despite its opacity. “A stained glass window is not a window. It becomes something else,” Cerrudo says cryptically.

What is clear: Hubbard Street’s bold decision to devote an entire evening to his piece. “Alejandro has come out of our ranks. I want him to represent us,” says Glenn Edgerton, the artistic director. The young choreographer is certainly making his name beyond the Midwest. Aspen Santa Fe Ballet will stage his work in New York the same week that Pieces debuts, and Pacific Northwest Ballet and Ballet Arizona have each commissioned new dances for 2013.


Photograph: Todd Rosenberg