Passion for dance motivates choreographer

September 15, 2011 2:24:22 PM PDT
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month: Live music, visual arts! Perfection! That's what you can expect to see next weekend at the Harris Theater.

Choreographer Wilfredo Rivera is one of the founders of Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater. The company of dancers has been performing for the past 15 years. The dancers rehearse daily at their studio in the West Loop.

Under the direction of Rivera, they are preparing for their upcoming performance at the Harris Theater to a new piece entitled "Of Dreams and Design," or "Suenos y Deseos."

"It is a very big deal," said Rivera, "and we have been working very hard to get us to where we are. Our mission is to celebrate diversity through the three art forms."

Rivera came to this country from Honduras as a child. His Latino background influences many of the dances. He incorporates live music and visual arts into every performance and expects perfection from his dancers.

"Wilfredo Rivera is one of the most talented and inspirational people I have ever met in my life," said Cerqua Rivera dancer Raphaelle Ziemba. "He cares so deeply for his work and all the people in his life."

"I care about my dancers," Rivera said. "What we try to do here is have a very personal relationship with the dancers."

The renowned choreographer believes in diversity, and that is why is decided to collaborate with Richard Smith, of Inaside Chicago, for their upcoming Afro/Latin performance.

"It is important to reach out to the other cultures that make up America and celebrate that together," said Rivera.

"I think our audience will go away realizing that these are two companies had we had not had this experience they may of never seen," said Smith, Inaside Chicago's artistic director. "It gives both companies a chance to show off what they do."

Dancing is Rivera's passion. He says, don't let anyone tell you that you cannot achieve what you want to achieve.

"Where else would a short, skinny kid from Honduras have the opportunity to perform," said Rivera. "I am Latino and here I am with my own company after years of hard work."

Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater and Inaside Chicago Dance team up for "Constant Motion" at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance on Saturday September 24 at 8 p.m. The performance will bring together two distinct dance styles on the same stage, blending Latino dance and authentic jazz, and showcasing their diversity. They plan to make it a night for everyone to remember.

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