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“recommended to anyone looking for a thoughtful, beautiful, and emotional meditation on the state of the world today” – Picture this Post


"artists ... that you should know about" – Chicago Reader


Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre is a multicultural company that creates new dance and music to explore strong personal narratives. We build partnerships across Chicagoland to engage a diverse audience: sparking dialogue, reflecting diverse experiences, inspiring new perspectives.


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 re-think its art to reflect a turbulent year and comply with evolving safety guidelines. In 2021, the multitalented, 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.

  • 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.


  • 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.

  • 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.


  • 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

    • October 1 & 2 @ Studio5 Performing Arts Center

    • October 9 @ Fine & Performing Arts Center at Moraine Valley Community College

    • October 17 – Benefit Performance @ Epiphany 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 ( 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                   

773-507-3415                                                     601-675-2738


Every year Cerqua Rivera develops new multi-disciplinary works which grow from in-depth research and strong personal narratives. Our season extends spring through fall and involves partner organizations across Chicago to engage a growing and diverse audience. We produce monthly Inside/Out events (interactive new work previews and discussions) and a fall concert series where the year’s new work is performed by our multitalented, multicultural Dance Ensemble and Jazz Band. We also perform in community and school settings. All told, Cerqua Rivera engages nearly 10,000 people per year.


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

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.

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