Wilfredo Rivera, Co-Founder and Artistic Director

Wilfredo Rivera (Artistic Director) is a co-founder of Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, Artistic Director since 2007. Decades as a working artist forged Wilfredo’s belief that only a diverse group can create the artwork for which the company is known – eclectic, culturally rich, deeply moving, utterly relevant. Every season he carefully selects the leading collaborators and thematic concepts for Cerqua Rivera and curates the company’s artistic process. In 2016, he launched his most ambitious artistic project to date, American Catracho. This 4-year exploration of immigration premiered in segments and debuted to critical acclaim in celebration of Cerqua Rivera’s 20th Anniversary in 2019.

 

Wilfredo was born in Honduras, trained with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and was a founding member of River North Dance Chicago. He was honored with the 2009 Cliff Dwellers Arts Foundation Choreography Award, a 2001 After Dark Award and nominated for a 3Arts Award in 2016 & 2018. His concert work has been featured at the Auditorium Theatre, Chicago Jazz Festival, Hyde Park Jazz Festival, Harris Theater, Chicago Symphony Center with the Chicago Sinfonietta, Ruth Page Center for the Arts, DuSable Museum, Links Hall and Mayne Stage. Additional choreography credits include productions for Goodman Theatre, Bailiwick Theatre, Teatro Vista, Forward Theater, Metropolis Arts Center, Columbia College, American Theater Co., American Players Theater, Porchlight Theater and Pegasus Players among others.

Lead Choreographers

Shannon Alvis, Choreographer

After a ten year career dancing and performing professionally with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Shannon went on to further her growth as an artist with Nederlands Dans Theater. During time in Chicago and Europe, she toured internationally dancing works by many world renowned choreographers. Back in Chicago, and after the birth of a baby girl, Shannon is a freelance performer, teacher, and now In her new phase of career as a choreographer. Finding inspiration in things she loves is a true gift.

Monique Haley, Choreographer

Monique Haley is an accomplished dancer, teacher and choreographer. She endured 9 memorable years with the River North Chicago Dance, as well as created and performed in theaters such as the Drury Lane Oakbrook, Paramount Aurora, and the Marriot Lincolnshire. Ms. Haley was the recipient the 3Arts award in 2012. Currently, she is Assistant Professor at Western Michigan University, teaching jazz dance curriculum and working with the musical theater students.

Alice Klock, Choreographer

Alice danced and choreographed for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago from 2009-2018. She has choreographed for universities and companies worldwide, has been the winner of numerous choreographic competitions, and was named one of Dance Magazine's 25 to Watch in 2018. In 2017 she co-founded FLOCK with Florian Lochner, a dance company she now co-directs, choreographs, and dances for. It is her priority to create work with kindness, humanity, and an emphasis on the beauty inherent within each person. 

Dance Ensemble

Shelby Moran Amarantos, Dance Ensemble

Shelby trained at Dance Center Evanston and continued her education at the Juilliard School. While at Juilliard, she performed repertory of Jose Limon, William Forsythe, Twyla Tharp, and Merce Cunningham, among others. Shelby began her professional career performing with Thodos Dance Chicago where she had the pleasure of premiering works by Robyn Mineko Williams, Brian Enos, and Kevin Iega Jeff. She then apprenticed with Visceral Dance Chicago. This is Shelby's third season with CRDT. 

Jesse Hoisington, Dance Ensemble

Jesse Hoisington began his training at a young age in Milford, Michigan. He was accepted into Interlochen Arts Academy in 2006 and studied for two years. In 2014, Jesse graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Since moving to Chicago, Jesse has performed with companies including Winifred Haun & Dancers, C5, AJA Talent, Dance in the Parks, and Hedwig Dances. Jesse is thrilled to be returning to CRDT after performing as a guest artist back in 2015. 

Brennen Renteria, Rehearsal Director

Brennen began dancing in Corona, CA and in 2011, he attended American Academy of Ballet summer intensive, training with ballet masters David Howard, Sean Lavery, & Galina Samsova. He earned his B.A. in Dance from Cal State Fullerton in 2014 then joined Thodos Dance Chicago where he worked with choreographers Brian Enos, Lucas Crandall, Garfield Lemonius, Brian McGinnis, Kevin Iega Jeff, among others. He has danced with Elements Ballet and in various Chicago productions. He joined CRDT in 2017.

Fernando Rodriguez, Dance Ensemble

Fernando Rodriguez joined Missouri Contemporary Ballet in 2009 for 7 seasons & has been Resident Choreographer since 2016. In 2015 Fernando joined Giordano Dance Chicago as a Performing Associate and later danced with River North Dance Chicago, Paramount Theater and Cocodaco Dance Project. He has guest performed with Grand Rapids Ballet Company in George Balanchine’s The Prodigal Son, Springfield Ballet in Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella as the Prince, and Owen/Cox Dance Group.

Rachel Spies, Dance Ensemble

Rachel Spies (Cleveland, Ohio) attended the University of Akron where she earned her BFA in dance performance in 2016. Upon graduation, Rachel had the pleasure of working as a trainee with Thodos Dance Chicago during their final season. She has performed in the Chicago community in Thodos Dance Chicago’s “New Dances”, Visceral Dance Chicago’s “WITHIN”, Alluvion Dance Chicago’s “EMERGENCE”, among others. She is delighted to be dancing for CRDT for a third season, and excited for the year to come!

Simone Stevens, Dance Ensemble

Simone Stevens, an Atlanta native, received her BA in Dance and Minor in Anthropology from Kennesaw State University in July 2017. One year post grad, Stevens moved to Chicago to train on scholarship at the Lou Conte Dance Studio. Stevens has performed works by Alice Klock, Joshua Peugh, Alysia Johnson, and Hanna Brictson among others. She has also performed as a company member with Katlin Bourgeois's Ensemble180. This will be her premiere season performing with Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater.

Kristen Vasilakos, Dance Ensemble

Kristen Vasilakos (St. Paul, Minnesota) graduated from The University of Iowa with a BFA in Dance and a BA in Health & Human Physiology in 2016.  After graduating, she was a trainee with Thodos Dance Chicago and performed in TDC’s “New Dances 2017”.  Kristen joined CRDT mid-season of 2017 as an apprentice, and performed in works by Sherry Zunker, Noelle Kayser, Hanna Brictston and Wilfredo Rivera.  Kristen is thrilled to be part of CRDT for a full season this year!

Carson VonFeldt, Dance Ensemble

Carson VonFeldt (Fort Worth, Texas ) began training in dance at Bruce Lea Dance Factory. His passion for dance increased during high school where he was given opportunities to expand his knowledge and expertise. Carson attended Lindenwood University, where he had worked alongside Keigwin + Company, Alicia Guy, Ali Duffy and Michael Mizerany. Upon graduation, Carson has worked with Thodos Dance Chicago, and Winifred Haun & Dancers. He is excited to be a part of CRDT for first time this year.

Josephine Castillo, Performing Apprentice

Josephine Castillo (Frisco, Texas) graduated from George Mason University in 2019 with a BFA. While at GMU she had the opportunity to perform works by Doug Varone, Donald Byrd, and Yin Yue. Joey had the privilege to attend the Doug Varone Summer intensive with a choreography focus and Northwest Dance Project AP program, among others. Since moving to Chicago Joey has joined Alluvion Dance Chicago and is excited to join CRDT for their 2020 season. 

Riley Cornacchini, Performing Apprentice

Riley Cornacchini is originally from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She received her BFA in dance from Western Michigan University in the spring of 2018. While at Western, she performed repertory of Frank Chaves, Antony Tudor, Liv Schafer, among others. Riley had the privilege of training and interning with Nunart in Barcelona, Spain in the summer of 2017. She is excited to continue pursuing her passion with Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre. 

Lucy Pierson, Performing Apprentice

Lucy received her BFA in dance from Point Park University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with Honors. In addition to her university education, Lucy has studied with companies such as Robert Moses’ Kin, Spectrum Dance Theatre, and LINES Ballet. Upon moving to Chicago, Lucy has been fortunate to work with South Chicago Dance Theatre as an Emerging Artist, and is looking forward to her second season with CRDT! You can find out more about Lucy at lucypierson.com.

Ryan Schwaar, Performing Apprentice

Ryan began training at Dance Academy of Libertyville before earning a BA in Dance and BBA's in Accounting/Management from Grand Valley State University, working with Brian Enos, Joshua Manculich, & Leslie Scott. Ryan studied in Florence in 2017 and was selected to perform his capstone solo twice at ACDA in 2019. He attended intensives at Inaside Chicago Dance & Jazz Theatre of Illinois and has been a guest artist with West Michigan Youth Ballet & others. He is so thankful to dance with Cerqua!

Grant Hill, Trainee

Grant Hill received his BFA in Dance from the University of Illinois in 2018, training under Endalyn Taylor, Linda Lehovac, C. Kemal Nance, Cynthia Oliver and other faculty members. He has had the privilege to learn from the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre and Mark Morris Dance Group expanding his training in ballet and modern dance. While in Chicago he has performed with Aerial Dance Chicago and Banks Performance Chicago, and is excited to begin his time with Cerqua Rivera.

Jessica Leyva, Trainee

Jessica Leyva received her BFA in Dance at the University of California, Irvine.  At UCI, she performed works by Lar Lubovitch and former Diavolo and Body Traffic company dancers.  She was also an ensemble dancer in the opera Die Fledermaus at the Irvine Barclay Theater.  Jessica moved to Chicago in 2019 and has since joined “The Beat Goes On” Cher Tribute Tour, choreographed by Stephanie Martinez.  She also dances with the Culture Shock, a national hip-hop company, directed by Chris Courtney.

Additional Choreographers and Collaborators

Katlin Bourgeois, Choreographer

Katlin Michael Bourgeois graduated from the Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program in 2014. Katlin then had the privilege of working with Dance Theatre of San Francisco, DanceWorks Chicago, FLOCKWorks, Hubbard Street 2, M/Motions, Neos Dance Theatre, and The Cambrians. He freelances as a dancer/choreographer and serves on faculty at Hubbard Street Dance Center, Visceral Dance Center, and The Joffrey Academy. He co-founded the contemporary dance company, Ensemble180 in 2018.

Lucas Greeff, Collaborator

Lucas Greeff is a dancer, choreographer, and circus artist whose work focuses on expanding the scope of queer performance, engaging inherent energies, and challenging physical extremity through movement analysis. Former dancer for St. Petersburg Ballet and Level Dance Company; Luke is currently a performing company member with Joel Hall Dancers and co-creator of the movement partnership Such Creatures.

Jessica Miller Tomlinson, Ballet Mistress

Jessica Miller Tomlinson holds a BFA from The University of NC School of the Arts. She was a dancer and choreographer for Thodos Dance Chicago. She has choreographed for DanceWorks Chicago, Dance in the Parks, Dance For Life and Visceral Dance Chicago. She was the Grand Prize Winner of The Joyce Theater Foundation’s​ A.W.A.R.D.​ Show. Jessica teaches Contemporary classes for the Joffrey Ballet’s Trainees/Studio Company, and is a Faculty member for the Hubbard Street Youth Program. 

Raheim White, Choreographer

A, Raheim White, Chicago, IL native, earned their MFA from New York University Tisch School of the Arts and BFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, both in Dance Performance and Choreography, and trained in Classical Chinese Dance, Dance Meditation, and Kung Fu at the Taipei National University of the Arts. Raheim is a Reiki Master-Teacher, yogi, and crystal adornment designer who facilitates healing through art, Reiki, education, dance, and dialogue. More on Insta: @rahcrystals.

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