Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater has been on a relentless build-up to their 2018 Fall Concert Series since last April. It's something they've been doing for years, a very carefully planned series of monthly presentations -- they call them Inside / Out --- that bring their audience, their performers, and the creators of their upcoming works together. The settings are informal but the results always informative, an engaging blend of discussion and performance. The last of the 2018 Inside / Out series takes place on Thursday, September 20th at 7pm at Chicago's Fine Arts Building, and it promises to be a great one. The subject is a new work called The Process Takes a Lifetime, an exceptionally rich and well-thought out story by choreographer Joshua Ishmon and --- in keeping with Cerqua Rivera's trademark practice of pairing great choreographers with great composers --- an original score by Pharez Whitted. Of course DancerMusic wanted to find out more, so we asked Joshua Ishmon if he would give us some insight into The Process Takes a Lifetime. Here's what he told us:
'Accomplished' is one way that you can describe classical pianist Joyce Yang, and another way that you can describe her is 'widely acclaimed', but there's something you'll want to keep in mind about both of those terms. When you apply them to Joyce Yang, they describe a process more than a picture, because Joyce Yang accomplishes so much, so often, that she gets more widely acclaimed all the time. This year, for example, she and Aspen Santa Fe Ballet have been very widely acclaimed (including by a number of sold-out audiences) for their performances of ASFB's An Evening With Joyce Yang. It's a program of three ballets in which Yang performs live on stage with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, and they will be performing it at The Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe on September 1st. One of Yang's less well-known accomplishments is a beautifully composed article that she wrote entitled "Music and Movement", in which she shares a vivid series of insights into the mysterious interaction of dance and music, insights that she discovered and explored in the process of working with ASFB and Elo. "Music and Movement" first appeared at pianistjoyceyang.com, and now, Joyce Yang has generously allowed DancerMusic to reprint it here in its entirety. Here it is, don't miss it.
Forget for a moment that Aspen Santa Fe Ballet is an extraordinary artistic organization. It's a subject worth talking about, and we'll probably return to it more than once in other stories, but just for the moment, as difficult as it may be, just try to forget that. Or rather (especially since it's nearly impossible to forget), let's start from there and move on. Because in "An Evening With Joyce Yang", Aspen Santa Fe Ballet shows that they're actually something even more remarkable. ASFB is a study in exactly how to be an extraordinary artistic organization. In "An Evening With Joyce Yang", which ASFB will present at The Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe (September 1st at 8pm), Yang will perform live on stage with ASFB, as they perform "Half/Cut/Split" by noted Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo (who collaborated with Yang to bring Robert Schumann’s Carnaval to life), Jiří Kylián’s seminal "Return to a Strange Land", and Nicolo Fonte’s touching "Where We Left Off". That's just part of the start of the story, though. To find out more we reached out to Jessica Moore, ASFB Director of Marketing, to give us a closer look at this extraordinary program. Here's what she told us:
JUBA! Masters of Tap and Percussive Dance is not one, but two dance concerts. Although both are presentations of some of the most gifted percussive dance artists you can see anywhere, and both will be an intoxicating mixture of sophisticated choreography and inspired improvisation, they're actually two completely different programs. We talked to Dani Borak, Chicago Human Rhythm Project's Artist in Residence, to find out more about JUBA!, and we couldn't have found a better person to ask. Here's what he told us:
There can't be too many things in Dance more complicated, more challenging, or more promising than the collaboration between choreographer and composer. But there probably aren't too many people in Dance or Music better able to tell us about the mysteries of this process than Joe Cerqua. Cerqua is the Co-Founder of Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, and at Cerqua Rivera, dance and music are richly and relentlessly interwoven in everything the Company even thinks about. We thought this would be perfect time to ask Joe to tell us about working with Sherry Zunker on "Between Us", which Cerqua Rivera will perform at Dance for Life 2018. Oh yeah, we also asked him to give us a quick look at the new piece he's working on with Monique Haley. Here's what he told us:
Let's paint a picture of Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre's Inside/Out: Ameican Catracho. In the foreground of the picture is Cerqua Rivera's performance on Wednesday, June 20th at 7pm, at Evanston's beautiful new dance and music venue Studio5. There Artistic Director Wilfredo Rivera, CRDT Co-founder Joe Cerqua, and other participants in the creative process will offer a look into the making of American Catracho, the large-scale work that Rivera launched in 2016, and which will be completed this year. American Catracho explores the experience of immigrants and refugees who, like Rivera himself, venture to leave what they know to find a new life in a new land. It's been a major, three year project for the Company, and although there's a lot in the foreground, there's even more in the background. Taken all together, it turns the whole picture into a kind of magic painting, because each time you look closely at what is in the background, what you see in the foreground will change. Knowing that, we asked Noelle Kayser to give us even more background on the process of making American Catracho, and here's what she told us.
Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater can fill a stage with excitement like few other dance companies can. In their stated purpose to 'preserve, promote, and present' the many Dance and Music traditions of Spain -- Flamenco, Folkloric, Classical, and Contemporary-- they've developed a unique history, a unique repertory, and a unique choreographic voice. They'll be presenting their Flamenco Passion: A Tribute to Jose Greco’s 100th Anniversary at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts (on Friday and Saturday, June 15-16 at 7:30pm, and again on Sunday, June 17 at 3pm), and the program is an especially important and exciting one. DancerMusic asked Ensemble Español Artistic Director Irma Suárez Ruiz and Executive Director Jorge Pérez to share with us a little more about what we'll see at The North Shore Center, and here's what they told us:
On Sunday, May 27th at 3pm The Chicago Philharmonic will present one of their characteristically enchanting concerts, a performance they call Hollywood Heroes. It's a program in which Music Director Scott Speck has gathered eleven brilliant compositions from scores for film, featuring landmark works from composers like Elmer Bernstein, John Williams, Danny Elfman and Maurice Jarre for legendary films like The Magnificent Seven, Star Wars, Spider-Man and Lawrence of Arabia. The Chicago Philharmonic's Artistic Director, Scott Speck brings a bright and careful understanding of why people love music to both his conducting and his programming. With both of those talents on display in Hollywood Heroes, we just had to ask Scott to give us a closer look at the program. Here's what he told us:
You couldn't write a book about music in Detroit, at least not about all of it. But even if you wrote all the books about all the music from Detroit that everybody knows about and loves, you'd still be leaving out all the music made in Detroit that never got out to world stage, that was part of one of the Detroit scenes, one of the chapters that Detroit is always writing. One of the newest chapters in Detroit music is the Movement Music Festival, a celebration of Detroit's massive impact on electronica that happens every Memorial Day weekend. We just had to hear more about it, so we reached out to Kasia Ooh, who knows Movement like few others. Here's what she told us:
Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre is not quite like anything else that we can think of. It's certainly a Dance Company, and by any standard an excellent one, and the Company has attracted an astonishing group of superb dance artists. That's only part of Cerqua Rivera, thought; CRDT is also a fearlessly imaginative musical ensemble. Led by Joe Cerqua, there is a musical depth to CRDT that fully balances the choreographic depth brought by Artistic Director (and along with Cerqua, one of Cerqua's co-founders) Wilfredo Rivera. To get us ready for their Company Showcase and Sneak Preview on Thursday, April 17 (at Old Town School of Folk Music's Szold Hall), we asked both Artistic Director Wilfredo Rivera and CRDT Executive Director to give us an even more inside look at how Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre looks at their world. Here we go: