Now on the cusp of their twentieth anniversary season, CRDT's success is due largely in part to the consistently strong choices of Artistic Director and Co-founder Wilfredo Rivera. As from the beginning, Wilfredo's passion, creativity, and commitment to artistic collaboration continue to lead the company to new performance venues, new audiences, and new creative projects that push the boundaries of both the individual artist and the ensemble as a whole. Behind the scenes, there is another person integral to the success and growth of Cerqua Rivera - Executive Director Catherine Painter. For the last five years, Catherine has worked alongside the artistic team at CRDT to ensure that their unique mixture of dance and live music can reach as many communities as possible. The work and thought she has put behind each and every choice for Cerqua Rivera culminated last year in the company's first ever three-venue tour of Chicago. This year's Fall Concert Series placed CRDT back to the same three venues: the series opened in Evanston, traveled down to Lakeview, and will soon close in Hyde Park. The big difference is the program has already made a much bigger splash than in the previous season, and there's still one performance to go. DancerMusic's Kristi Licera caught up with Catherine to learn more about Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre and the choices they continue to make that create the enriching experience the Fall Concert Series offers their audiences. Here's what Catherine told us:
These days, it seems that you have all the entertainment you need at your fingertips. Wherever you go, you are sure to see people enraptured by their mobile devices, scrolling through videos on social media or streaming their favorite TV shows. There is no shortage of convenient entertainment, which certainly creates problems for those involved in the performing arts. So, how do you begin to compete with convenience and draw an audience into the theater? If you are Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, you have found a solution – create a unique concert dance experience coupled with a live jazz band.
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. With such uninhibited growth, the advent of new roles within the company, such as a Rehearsal Director, became paramount. That is where our friend Brennen Renteria comes in, a veteran company member with CRDT and now Rehearsal Director too. Both on stage and off he is leading the company into their Fall concert series, “My Past / Our Present”, which will be performed in three Chicago locations this October (Oct 5-6 at 8pm at Studio5, Oct 19-20 at 7pm at Links Hall, and Oct 27 at 7:30pm at The Logan Center. The series features some very exciting collaborations, and a new addition to the American Catracho suite by artistic directors Wilfredo Rivera and Joe Cerqua. The catracho spirit is very much alive in CRDT’s Rehearsal Director Brennen Renteria. He shared with DancerMusic some beautiful insights into his role with the company and why he has so much love and pride for the work he does with Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre. Here's what he told us: