Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre is a Chicago Delight

Briana and Fern Photo by William Frederking Dancers Briana Arthur and Fernando Rodriguez in concert fall 2019
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Despite the challenges of COVID-19, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre continues as a multicultural company creating new dance and music to explore  strong personal narratives. Partnerships are built across Chicagoland to engage a diverse audience:  sparking dialogue, reflecting diverse experiences, inspiring new perspectives.  

Pharez and Juli Photo by Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth Musician and composer Pharez Whitted with fellow CRDT band member Juli Wood in performance

The company’s mission for 20+ years has been to apply the talents of a diverse group of collaborative  artists to concerns that shape its community. In 2020, Cerqua Rivera only paused for a few weeks to rethink its art to reflect a turbulent year and comply with evolving safety guidelines. In 2021, the  multi-talented, multicultural company continues its groundbreaking, timely, moving work.  

Details and ticket links

2021 New Work:  

– SHIVER – Nationally acclaimed choreographer Stephanie Martinez made SHIVER on Cerqua  Rivera in 2016, exploring a woman’s journey. She returns this year to update the piece with  several more years’ perspective and experience as a Latina artist and arts leader. Company  Cofounder Joe Cerqua creates a brand new soundtrack for this visceral and dramatic artwork.  

Joe Cerqua Photo by Fernando Rodriguez Photography Company cofounder Joe Cerqua, composer and musician, in rehearsal 2020

– SOUL REMEDY – Choreographer Monique Haley joins forces with Chicago jazz legend Pharez  Whitted to launch SOUL REMEDY. Over two years they will explore the Aesthetic of the Cool, a  culturally specific phenomenon rooted in the Black American experience that has shaped this  country’s arts and culture and impacted the world. SOUL REMEDY will respect, reflect, and  represent Black excellence as a central component of American culture.  

Wilfredo laptop Photo by Catherine Painter CRDT Cofounder and Artistic Director Wilfredo Rivera during CRDT’s performance in the Auditorium at Home program in summer 2020, presented by Chicago’s historic Auditorium Theatre

– IDENTITY CITY – Company Cofounder and Artistic Director Wilfredo Rivera leads this four-year  project, launched in 2020. Through the lens of non-binary / gender queer and trans experiences,  a growing team of collaborators will unpack the fast-evolving definition of gender and  contemplate the current explosion of the queer and trans presence, as traditions are defied by a  new generation.  

Simone rehearse Photo by Fernando Rodriguez Photography Dancer Simone Stevens in rehearsal 2020

– MOOD SWING – We return to this suite of duets responding to the pandemic crisis and social  justice movement with several more months of perspective and experience to add. As we  continue to deal with a momentous year and its aftermath, we have more to say. 

2021 Season Schedule:  

The health and safety of our artists and audiences are our top priorities. Schedule subject to change. All  programs will be provided with safety protocols including virtual options and limited in-person tickets as  needed. We recommend checking our web site for details – for example, tickets will generally not be  available at the door. All venues ADA compliant.  

Monique Haley Photo by Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth Choreographer Monique Haley during an Inside/Out event in 2018

– April 22 – 2021 Season Kickoff – 7 pm @ Epiphany Arts Center – livestream with limited in person seating (up to 50 tickets available)  

– June 17 – Inside/Out with Soul Remedy – 7 pm LIVESTREAM  

– July 18 – Inside/Out with Identity City – 5 pm LIVESTREAM  

– August 21 – Inside/Out with Shiver– 4 & 6 pm @ Hyde Park School of Dance – livestream with  limited in-person seating (up to 25 tickets per performance available)  

– September 9 – Inside/Out @ Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center with Mancha ‘E Plátano  

– America / Americans – the fall concert series  

safety and ticketing details to be released later this spring  

o October 1 & 2 @ Studio5 Performing Arts Center  

o October 9 @ Fine & Performing Arts Center at Moraine Valley Community College o October 17 – Benefit Performance @ Epiphany Arts Center 

Shelby jump Photo by Fernando Rodriguez Photography Shelby Moran Amarantos in Identity City fall 2020, costumes by Jordan Ross, lighting by Margaret Nelson, projections by Sim Carpenter; shot during October 2020 livestream from Studio5 Performing Arts Center

Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre is committed to our mission and building on our 20+ year history. Join us  this year.  

“There’s an art to being a dance company, and for twenty years, Cerqua Rivera has been reimagining  the parameters of that art. From the beginning, cofounders Joe Cerqua and Wilfredo Rivera imagined  a fundamentally different relationship between music and dance in concert, and over the company’s  first two decades, they’ve steadily expanded their exploration of what that can be. But over the past  few years, there’s been an increasing momentum to how all of that imagining gets put together. Their  current company of dancers is extraordinary, and the Cerqua Rivera musicians have continuously  expanded the horizons of what they can bring to an audience.” – DancerMusic  

Schedule subject to change. Follow Cerqua Rivera on Facebook and Instagram or check its web site  (www.cerquarivera.org/schedule) for the latest news.  

2021 Company Roster  

Dance Ensemble:  

Shelby Moran Amarantos  Jesse Hoisington  

Thomas Jacobson  

Brian Martinez  

Morgan Reed McDaniel  

Brennen Renteria  

Simone Stevens  

 Performing Apprentices:  

           Cindy Johnson  

Trey Johnson  

David Scheuerman  

Jazz Band:  

Stu Greenspan, Music Director  Joe Cerqua  

Paul Cotton  

Rob Dicke  

Dan Hesler  

                    Leandro Lopez Varady  

Margaret Murphy-Webb  Felipe Tobar  

Juli Wood 

History and Administration  

Wilfredo Rivera Catherine Painter  

Artistic Director Executive Director  

[email protected] [email protected]  

773-507-3415 601-675-2738  

With a season that extends spring through fall that involves partner organizations across Chicago engaging in a growing and diverse audience the company produces monthly Inside/Out events  (interactive new work previews and discussions) and a fall concert series in which the year’s new work is  performed by the multitalented, multicultural Dance Ensemble and Jazz Band. There are also performances in  community and school settings. All told, Cerqua Rivera engages nearly 10,000 people per year.  

Simone and Margaret Photo by Fernando Rodriguez Photography Dancer Simone Stevens and vocalist Margaret Murphy-Webb with the CRDT Jazz Band in Mood Swing; costumes by Jordan Ross, lighting by Margaret Nelson, projections by Sim Carpenter; shot during October 2020 livestream from Studio5 Performing Arts Center. Simone mood swing

Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre is truly unique because it is the artistic vision of Latinx artist Wilfredo  Rivera. Rivera is deeply committed to diversity and collaboration – thriving for two decades in an  ecosystem that others find challenging to create. He recruits and fosters a diverse collective of artists  every year. He draws out the best of his full company while maintaining the strong narrative focus of each  project – be it the experience of immigrating from Central America to the USA or the legacy of African  ancestors on a modern Black woman.  

The company’s founding mission remains its focus: to fuse dance, music, and visual art to explore and  celebrate contemporary society. In our art and our artists, we are proudly and visibly multicultural,  exploring the intersection of heritage, culture, and identity.  

Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre can be found online at www.cerquarivera.org  

on Facebook – Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre on Instagram and Twitter @cerquarivera    

Thank you to all the donors who make our art possible, including these organizations: The MacArthur  Funds for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Arts Work Fund – Arts for Illinois  Emergency Relief Fund housed at The Chicago Community Trust, Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley  Foundation, Chase, Albany Bank & Trust Company NA, The Cliff Dwellers Arts Foundation, Farny R.  Wurlitzer Foundation Fund from the DeKalb Community Foundation, Anne E. Leibowitz Fund, Weinberg  Family Foundation  

Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.  

We are grateful to the Small Business Administration and our fellow Americans for relief funds through  the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance Grant program, and  Paycheck Protection Program. 

Photos are courtesy of Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre