Wilfredo Rivera, Co-Founder and Artistic Director

Wilfredo Rivera (Artistic Director) is a co-founder of the Chicago performing arts collective Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, Artistic Director since 2007. In 2016, he launched his most ambitious artistic project to date, American Catracho. This 3-year exploration of immigration will premiere in segments and debut in celebration of CRDT'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. Mr. Rivera was honored with the 2009 Cliff Dwellers Arts Foundation Choreography Award and a 2001 After Dark Award. Concert work featured at Auditorium Theatre, Chicago Jazz Festival, Hyde Park Jazz Festival, Harris Theater, Ruth Page Center for the Arts, DuSable Museum, Links Hall and Mayne Stage. Additional choreography for Goodman Theatre, Bailiwick Theatre, Metropolis Arts Center, Columbia College, American Theater Co., American Players Theater, Porchlight Theater and Pegasus Players.

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.

Briana Arthur, Dance Ensemble

Briana Arthur (Gary, IN) graduated and received her BFA in dance from The Juilliard School in 2013. She recently performed as a guest artist with Deeply Rooted Dance Theater and is the school director of her local dance studio, South Shore Dance Alliance.  Briana is looking forward to the opportunity to continue sharing her passion for movement. She is delighted to be in her second season with Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre. 

Riley Cornacchini, Trainee

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. 

Christian Denice, Choreographer

Christian Denice's professional dance experience includes Odyssey Dance Theatre, River North Dance Chicago, and Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal. Choreographic works include Odyssey Dance Theatre, LEVELdance, DanceWorks Chicago, Interlochen, LACDC, Visceral Dance Chicago, Missouri Contemporary Ballet, Western Michigan University, METdance, AXIS Connect, and MADCO. Christian is the 2016 winner of the USF's Echo Choreographic Competition and Joffrey Academy's Winning Works Choreographic competition.

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.

Noelle Kayser, Choreographer

Noelle Kayser’s professional experience includes Luna Negra Dance Theater (apprentice), gloATL, Proia Dance Project, Scrap Theater Group, The Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and The Cambrians. Noelle is currently in her fourth season with Visceral Dance Chicago under the direction of Nick Pupillo. Noelle has set her own choreography on Moonwater Dance Project, Atlanta’s Kit Modus, and Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater.

Ethan Kirschbaum, Movement Consultant

Ethan Kirschbaum graduated summa cum laude with departmental honors in dance performance from the Ailey School/Fordham University B.F.A. Program. Since then he has danced with Hubbard Street 2, River North Dance Chicago, Lucky Plush Productions, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Santa Fe Opera, and the Saarlandisches Staatstheater. He has been on faculty at the Ailey School, Joffrey Academy, and Lou Conte Dance Studio and was recently certified by the Ailey School to teach all levels of Horton. 

Kristi Licera, Movement Consultant

Kristi graduated with her BA in Dance in 2014 from Cal State Fullerton. Upon graduation, she danced with Keshet Dance Company (Albuquerque, NM), then moved to Chicago in 2015 to apprentice with Thodos Dance Chicago. In additio, Kristi has also performed with Noumenon Dance Ensemble,  South Chicago Dance Theater, and in gigs and performance across Chicago. Kristi is currently dancing her third season with Chicago Dance Crash and is the Dance Editor at the online magazine, DancerMusic.com.

Ross Lindhout, Performing Apprentice

Ross Lindhout (Grand Rapids, Michigan) began his dance training at the age of nine with Dance Dimensions. There he trained in a variety of dance styles including ballet, tap, jazz, and contemporary. He attended Grand Valley State University majoring in Dance, with a minor in Non-Profit Administration. At Grand Valley he worked with established choreographers, such as Francesca Harper, as well as attended Oakland Dance Festival and the American College Dance Association Conference (ACDA). 

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 second season with CRDT. 

Joe Musiel, Dance Ensemble

Joe graduated from Indiana University in 2013, shortly there after began his professional career as a G2 with Giordano Dance Chicago. He later performed with organizations such as  South Chicago Dance Theater, Dance in the Parks, Paramount Theater, and Lyric Opera House Chicago. His choreography has been showcased around Chicago on professional companies and studios. Joe is thrilled to be entering his second season with CRDT and sharing the stage with its talented dancers!

Lucy Pierson, Performing Apprentice

Lucy is a recent graduate from Point Park University, where she received her BFA in Dance. In addition to her university education, Lucy has studied with companies such as Robert Moses’ Kin and Spectrum Dance Theatre. 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 first season as a Performing Apprentice with Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre! You can find out more about Lucy at lucypierson.com

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.

Ryan Schwaar, Trainee

Ryan grew up in Mundelein, IL and started consistent dance training at age 12. He has since attended intensives at Jazz Theater of Illinois and Inaside Dance Chicago and received a BA in Dance (along with BBA’s in Accounting and Management) from Grand Valley State University. He studied in Florence, Italy in 2017, received the Calder Honors Dance Scholarship in 2018, interned at Hubbard St. Dance Chicago in the summer of 2018, and received the Excellence-in-a-Discipline Award for Dance in 2019. 

Rachel Spies, Dance Ensemble

Rachel Spies (Cleveland, Ohio) attended the University of Akron where she earned her BFA in the Spring 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”, and Alluvion Dance Chicago’s “EMERGENCE”. Rachel is excited to be in her first season with CRDT.

Jessica Miller Tomlinson, Ballet Mistress

Jessica earned her BFA from NC School of the Arts. She was a member of Thodos Dance Chicago for 12 years, performing both nationally and internationally. Jessica has choreographed for DanceWorks Chicago, Eisenhower Dance Detroit, Visceral Dance Chicago, and Dance For Life among others. She was Grand Prize Winner of the Joyce Theater Foundation's The A.W.A.R.D. Show! She is currently Adjunct Faculty at Northern Illinois University and teaches for the Hubbard Street Youth Dance Program.

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.

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