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 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:
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:
If you get the chance to listen to Doug Varone — to his insights into dance, into movement, or even just into what it means to live and create — it can be so riveting that you just might forget. You might forget that this can only be part of the story, because in three or so decades of choreographing and performing and directing, his impact has been so immense. Dancer Music's Johnny Nevin had the chance to ask Doug Varone about some of the ideas and inspirations that have illuminated his work as choreographer, artistic director, and performer, and here's what he told us ——
It would be difficult to exaggerate how good the Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre performance at Studio5 was. On the 13th of October, they performed their beautifully constructed fall concert Alone / Together in front of a sold out Studio5 house. Cerqua Rivera still has one more performance in their cross-city tour for Alone / Together, and this time they're at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts. We asked Cerqua Rivera's Executive Director Catherine Painter to tell us some more about the program based on four photos from Alone / Together. Here's an inside look at where just four of the moments in a superb evening come from.
When Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre brings their very successful fall concert Alone / Together to Studio5 on Friday, October 13, you'll be seeing layer upon layer of creativity. That's because one of the most imaginative dance companies you can go see, Cerqua Rivera, will be performing in one of the most imaginatively designed venues in Metro Chicago.
'Pushing the boundaries' is always risky, because those boundaries often enclose what works well. Venturing beyond them requires inventing new ways of realizing an artistic vision, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's Fall Series presentation of Peter Chu's Space, In Perspective was full of hazards. But what Peter Chu and Glenn Edgerton accomplished was something to see, as they quite literally wove new perspectives of dance into, around, and on top of a very different kind of dance concert.
There's already been a lot of great Taylor Mitchell choreography on Chicago stages and beyond, and his latest work, a collaboration with composer Dan Hesler called "Here Comes Treble". will premiere next month at Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre's extensive series of concerts for their fall series Alone / Together. We asked Taylor a few of the many things that you could ask this talented young choreographer, and here's what we learned ---
John Cartwright is a veteran, and a very successful one, of many different New Dances works. As Thodos Dance Chicago gears up for the performance of this year's edition, DancerMusic spoke with composer Joyce Lindsey about her original composition for Cartwright's piece Fluid.