After nine months of research, the Charlotte Ballet has a new artistic director.
The dance company announced Thursday that Alejandro Cerrudo, 41, will be its next leader. Cerrudo has worked as a dancer and choreographer for 24 years, most recently as resident choreographer at Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle.
The ballet’s board said they chose Cerrudo because of his passion for creating a diverse and inclusive dance culture that aligns with the ballet’s own mission.
Former Artistic Director Hope Muir left the company last July for a concert with the National Ballet of Canada. Cerrudo will be Charlotte Ballet’s fifth artistic director since its founding in 1970.
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Cerrudo was born in Madrid and has spent his dance career with such well-known companies as the Stuttgart Ballet in Germany, the Dutch dance troupe Nederland Dans Theater 2 and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.
He has choreographed works for the Czech National Ballet, former New York City Ballet dancer Wendy Whelan, and an independent show that premiered at the Joyce Theater in New York. He starts working in Charlotte on May 1.
“Something So Beautiful”
Cerrudo called the Charlotte Ballet “everything an artistic director could want” in a dance company.
“I think Charlotte has something so beautiful with the Charlotte Ballet.” Cerrudo told the Observer. “I’m excited to start working together to continue pushing the boundaries of ballet.”
Hiring Cerrudo is an exciting decision for the ballet, executive director Doug Singleton said, both in Charlotte and in the dance world at large.
“When I saw his name come up (in the research process), I thought, ‘Wow, we’re really moving up in the world,'” Singleton said. creatives working in the United States right now.”
As Artistic Director, Cerrudo will set the artistic vision for the organization, organize the ballet’s programming, and serve as the public face of the dance company. Acting Artistic Director Christopher Stuart has led the ballet since Muir’s departure.
Cerrudo’s vision for Charlotte Ballet
The board was drawn to Cerrudo for his collaborative spirit, Singleton said, and his vision for creating an inclusive and creative space at Charlotte Ballet.
“In the studio, I think what he’s going to do is break that feeling (that there’s) only one person in the room making all the decisions,” he said. .
Cerrudo said he plans to build on what the dance company has already achieved, including fostering diversity.
“I strongly believe that diversity within our organization is one of the most important things that will fuel our success,” he said. “The more experiences we have, the more voices we have, it really cultivates a high dialogue that ultimately benefits the growth of the whole organization.”
Audiences can expect a healthy balance between classical works – think of the tutus and Tchaikovsky that many viewers associate with this art form – and contemporary works. Singleton said it was the latter he was particularly excited for.
“I think (Cerrudo) is going to push the boundaries of contemporary ballet,” Singleton said. “I think Charlotte is going to be known for the best contemporary ballet in the country because of her leadership.”
With Cerrudo at the helm, Singleton hopes the ballet will develop its reputation as a cultural staple both in Charlotte and beyond. The goal is “to make sure that we are an example for our community, but (also) for the world of dance”, he said.
And Cerrudo said he also wanted to keep the focus on the audience, making ballet a place they can come to have fun or find solace.
“I want this to be a cultural escape for Charlotteans,” he said.
The 50th season of ballet is coming to an end
The Charlotte Ballet wraps up its 50th season this spring, first with “Sleeping Beauty: A Fairy-Tailored Classic” – the show which opened in March 2020 before it closed due to the pandemic. The show runs from April 29 to May 8.
The Ballet’s Choreographic Lab, which features dances created by new and emerging choreographers, runs May 13-21.
This story was originally published April 7, 2022 1:00 p.m.