"Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre’s special blend of incisive concert dance, original, live music, and visual art makes you sit up and pay attention" - See Chicago Dance


"Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre has been growing like a wildflower in the past few years. They have established a unique and resonant identity that has captivated Chicago dance audiences."

- Dancer Music


Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre uses dance and music to nourish the mind and the soul. The company unites artists and audiences to explore themes that shape its community.


In 2019, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre celebrates its 20th Anniversary and the fifth year of its innovative Inside/Out program. The celebration features the world premiere of American Catracho– an epic suite that debuted in segments as it was created over the past three years. The company’s programming again stretches from Evanston to Hyde Park, with returns to Old Town School of Folk Music, Studio5, Dovetail Studios, and the Reva & David Logan Center for the Arts.



2019 New Work: America / Americans


Cerqua Rivera’s mission is to fuse dance, music and visual art to explore and celebrate contemporary society.  In 2019, the company explores issues at the center of the national dialogue – what is America and who are Americans? The company’s diverse collective of artists will make three major new pieces in 2019 on the theme America / Americans.


  • American Catracho by company Cofounders Wilfredo Rivera and Joe Cerqua – This suite exploring immigration debuted in sections as it was developed over the past three years. In 2019 the company will knit the work together and perform it in full. An emotional, lyrical, engrossing piece, it has been called “a tour de force” (Chicago Magazine) and “easily [Wilfredo’s] most promising work” (Chicago Tribune).

  • ROOT: mwanzo wa mwili ni roho by Monique Haley and Joe Cerqua– 3Arts award winning choreographer Monique Haley began this work with Company cofounder and composer Joe Cerqua in 2018. Inspired by Monique’s own life and heritage, it explores a modern African American experience through traditional African modes. In its early debut at the 2018 fall concert series, audiences were entranced by the athletic movement and the soulful soundtrack. In 2019, Monique and Joe will take it to the next level.

  • Place Between Earth and Sky by Shannon Alvis and Clarice Assad – Internationally renowned dancer Shannon Alvis joins with Grammy nominated composer Clarice Assad this year. Together they will make a piece contemplating Shannon’s long-hidden Native American (Blackfoot) heritage. Clarice first worked with Cerqua Rivera in 2017 through a commission by Chicago Sinfonietta. In 2019 she returns to create with choreographer Shannon, who’s joining the company for the first time.


#CRDT20th Season Schedule


CRDT Inside/Out - the company's interactive event series showcases works in progress and invites audiences inside the company’s creative process. Each event includes performance of new work-in-the-making, conversation with the artists, audience participation, and the opportunity for audiences to shape the new work with their feedback and input.


  • 4/18 - 7 pm @ Old Town School of Folk Music – Company Showcase & Sneak Preview
    This is Cerqua Rivera’s fourth year launching the season at Old Town School
    Program to feature performance of highlights from 2018 with members of the company’s dance ensemble and jazz band, and an introduction to the 2019 company and the new work to be made in the 20th Anniversary year

  • 6/26 – 7 pm @ Studio5 – Inside/Out with American Catracho
    Cerqua Rivera returns to Studio5 in Evanston for a third straight year
    Program to feature performance of segments of complete American Catracho suite, with conversation with Company cofounders and suite creators Wilfredo Rivera and Joe Cerqua about this epic three- year project and their plans to meld it into a cohesive suite this year

  • 7/11 – 7 pm @ Dovetail Studios – Inside/Out with ROOT
    Program to feature performance of segments of ROOT: mwanzo wa mwili ni roho, with conversation with the creators: choreographer Monique Haley and composer Joe Cerqua, including how the first year making this piece influenced them and their plans for 2019

  • 8/15 – 7 pm @ Dovetail Studios – Inside/Out with Place Between Earth & Sky

Program to feature segments of Place Between Earth & Sky, with conversation with the creators: choreographer Shannon Alvis and composer Clarice Assad, including their approach to their collaboration and their exploration of the subject matter

America / Americans - the #CRDT20th Concert Series - experience 2019 new work alongside selections from our repertoire, performed by the complete dance ensemble and jazz band in beautiful full production.

To celebrate our 20th Anniversary, we are performing two complete concerts in repertory for the first time. Tickets on sale this summer.


  • American Catracho
    September 27 @ Studio5 (at Dance Center Evanston) – 8 pm
    October 4 @ Auditorium Theatre – 7:30 pm
    October 18 @ Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center – 7:30 pm

  • ROOT and A Place Between Earth & Sky
    September 28 @ Studio5 (at Dance Center Evanston) – 8 pm
    Benefit Performance - October 26 @ Reva & David Logan Center for the Arts – 7:30 pm


Workshops and Classes – professional and pre-professional dancers are invited inside the company during weekly Open Company Classes and a special two-day Summer Workshop.


  • 8/10 & 8/11 – 9:30 am – 3:30 pm @ Extensions Dance Studio – Summer Workshop
    Pre-professional and professional dancers are invited for this unique experience to learn what it takes to dance alongside a live musical ensemble. Immerse yourself in the artistry behind what drives Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre in this unique weekend workshop. Workshop includes advanced technique classes and learning company repertoire with CRDT dancers & artistic staff.·        Tuesday,

  • Thursday and Friday (most weeks, see website or Facebook) – 9:30 – 11 am @ Extensions Dance Studio – Open Company Class
    Pre-professional & professional dancers are invited to join the company in our studio for the company class that starts every rehearsal. This is an opportunity to widen your network and train alongside the working professionals in our company. Why not introduce yourself to us while you build your skills?


In addition to its core artistic season, Cerqua Rivera performs in community and education settings throughout the city. As of March 1, 2019, these include:

  • April 9 – Focus on the Arts Festival, Highland Park High School

  • April 26 – Student Matinee, Old Town School of Folk Music

  • April 28 – Family Event, Skokie Library

  • May 15 – Student Matinee, Reva & David Logan Center for the Arts

  • June 30 – Jazz Institute of Chicago Concert, Reva & David Logan Center for the Arts



#CRDT20th Company Roster


Dance Ensemble: Briana Arthur, Shelby Moran, Joe Musiel, Brennen Renteria, Fernando Rodriguez, Rachel Spies, Kristen Vasilakos, Carson VonFeldt; Performing Apprentices: Ross Lindhout, Lucy Pierson

Jazz Band: Timothy Archbold, Joe Cerqua, Paul Cotton, Rob Dicke, Stu Greenspan, Dan Hesler, Leandro Lopez Varady, Felipe Tobar, Pharez Whitted, Juli Wood


History and Administration


Wilfredo Rivera – Artistic Director

Catherine Painter– Executive Director


Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre (CRDT) was founded in 1999 by Joe Cerqua, composer and musician; Wilfredo Rivera, choreographer and dancer; and Matt Lamb, painter. The founding mission remains the company’s driving force today - to fuse music, dance, and visual art to explore and celebrate contemporary American society. Cerqua Rivera's art grows from collaborations among composers & musicians, choreographers & dancers, and visual artists, where the art forms are combined in cohesive performance pieces. Their performances are theatrical and thoughtful, vivacious and exuberant. The company’s work is rooted in its founders’ vision of what art can do - gather people to contemplate factors that knit our community together and differences that add complexity to our society.


Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre can be found online on Facebook - Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre

on Instagram and Twitter @cerquarivera


Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre is supported by The Joyce Foundation, Weinberg Family Foundation, Borkan & Scahill Ltd., Arts Work Fund, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Anne E. Leibowitz Fund, Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Farny R. Wurlitzer Foundation, The Cliff Dwellers Arts Foundation, Albany Bank & Trust Company NA.

Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency and by a CityArts grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

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