Patrick Delcroix is a knight, but not the shining armor-wearing type. On a stormy evening at the Northwest Dance Project's North Mississippi Avenue studio, he's dressed in jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt, his limbs draped over a chair with the easy grace of someone who moves for a living.

A native of France, Delcroix danced with the critically acclaimed Nederlands Dans Theater for 17 years, performing work by the company's famous founder, Jirí Kylián, as well as creations from other bright lights in the contemporary firmament: William Forsythe, Mats Ek, Ohad Naharin. In 2001, the French government knighted him for services to the arts, making him a Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. The honor hasn't noticeably affected his career but, he affirms, "My parents were very proud."

These days, Delcroix travels often, staging Kylián's athletic and lyrical work on companies worldwide. He doesn't come to the States much—he has staged Kylián here only twice—but he visited Portland last fall as a favor to a friend, Ihsan Rustem, who had created work for NWDP and needed someone to stage it. Artistic director Sarah Slipper leapt at the chance to invite Delcroix back, she says. He agreed to return and, better still, create his own work for an American company for the first time.

Delcroix seems pleased with his decision. "They're fabulous movers—they give you a lot of ideas," he says of the nine-member NWPD ensemble. Good thing, he adds with a wry smile: "I cannot do things simple. It would be impossible. I would be bored."

Fluidity and musicality are important to him, he says, and will factor into the work he has created, Harmonie Défigurée, which will address how someone, or something, can suddenly disrupt the harmony of everyday life. It will make its world premiere alongside a debut from Slipper and an NWDP repertory piece by Lucas Crandall, called Blue. Although it is tempting to extend Delcroix's theme to the international upheaval happening as we speak, he says the piece "is not about world events. It's about something we all go through. But I will leave freedom to the public about what to think." Chivalrous, no?

GO: Northwest Dance Project at Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, 828-8285. 8 pm Friday-Saturday, March 18-19. $25-$40. Info and tickets at Check out a montage of Patrick Delcroix's past works below: