Cerqua Rivera Dance Threatre celebrates Black History Month

February 15, 2011 10:07:49 AM PST
Cerqua Rivera Dance Threatre or CRDT's "Jubilation" concert series commemorates African American pioneers and cultural icons in an innovative and inspiring presentation evoking the personal and public stories of some of the most significant figures and events in history.

The Sixth Annual "Jubilation" concert series will be held at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Avenue., on Feb. 18 at 11 a.m. and Saturday, Feb. 19 at 8 p.m.

This year's program is all performed to live music by the 10-piece critically acclaimed CRDT Jazz Orchestra and features a new work choreographed by CRDT artistic director Wilfredo Rivera to a new composition by acclaimed ragtime composer and pianist, Reginald R. Robinson. Some highlights include:

  • "FOUR NEGRO SPIRITUALS" (2010) At the heart of this work, choreographed by CRDT Artistic Director Wilfredo Rivera, are four classic spirituals including "Let us Break Bread Together," "Jesus Lay Your Head in the Window," "This Little Light of Mine" and "Witness." CRDT premiered this work in the January 2010 Chicago Sinfonietta concerts to arrangements by Hale Smith, performed live by the Chicago Sinfonietta orchestra. CRDT Music Director/Conductor Stu Greenspan has created a new arrangement for these performances featuring vocals by Bobbi Wilsyn. This work will be performed by the full company of CRDT dancers against the backdrop of murals by CRDT co-founder and internationally renowned painter Matt Lamb.
  • "CORNER SKETCHES: A Tribute to Miles Davis" (2009) Miles Davis has been hailed around the world as one of the greatest jazz innovators of our time. This work celebrates the legendary musician's phenomenal talent for balancing the "hot" and "cool" components of jazz and his joyously flamboyant public persona. This work blends different periods and styles of Davis' music to honor his major influences on American music and culture. CRDT Artistic Director, Wilfredo Rivera and CRDT Rehearsal Director Raphaelle Ziemba have provided the choreography for this work performed by the full company of CRDT dancers.
  • WORLD PREMIERE--"LA DANSE LIBRE"(2011) Reginald Robinson is a renowned pianist/composer of ragtime and early jazz. CRDT Musical Director Stu Greenspan orchestrates some of Robinson's contemporary ragtime compositions into a suite of four movements. In addition to highlighting Robinson's work, the music will feature lyrics inspired by the Creole culture and performed by jazz vocalist Bobbi Wilsyn. The work features choreography by CRDT artistic director Wilfredo Rivera, and will be performed by the full company of CRDT dancers to music performed live by Robinson as accompanied by the CRDT orchestra.
  • "BAD LUCK CARD," Excerpt from "Shadow of the Blues" (2007) CRDT's tribute to Langston Hughes, based on his poetry, with original jazz/blues composition by Donald Neale, and choreography by CRDT's Wilfredo Rivera. This performance features vocalist Bobbi Wilsyn and the CRDT Youth Ensemble made up by students from Curie High School and CHIARTS (The Chicago High School for the arts). Melinda Wilson (Apple Award recipient) and Lisa Johnson Willingham are the respective dance directors.

Other works scheduled to be performed include popular works from CRDT's acclaimed full length works from CRDT's repertoire including "Summertime" and "Black Country" and excerpts from "Drum Major Instinct: A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr."

Ticket information: Tickets for the one-hour family matinee on Friday, Feb. 18 at 11 a.m. are $17 ($10 kids) are sold out. Tickets for the Saturday, Feb. 19 8 p.m. full length performance are $35-$25 ($15 for students and seniors) and can be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 800-982-278 or online at ticketmaster.com (service charges apply). Tickets for the Saturday performance can also be purchased in person at the Athenaeum Theatre box office (hours vary). Discounts are available for groups of six or more.

Background: CRDT uniquely fuses contemporary dance, live music and visual art with programs that express the stories of American diversity, creating work both thought-provoking and accessible.

CRDT was founded in 1996 and incorporated in 1998 by a trio of award-winning artists: composer Joe Cerqua, choreographer Wilfredo Rivera and painter/muralist Matt Lamb. Chicago musical luminaries that have performed with CRDT include Orbert Davis, Johnny Frigo and Corky Siegel. Other artists that have collaborated with CRDT include noted chorographers Kenny Ingram, Harrison MacEldowney, Cheryl Mann, Eddy Ocampo, Nana Shineflug, Michelle Manzanales, Dionna PridGeon and Dmitri Peskov.

More information: Call 312-243-9310 or go to www.cerquarivera.org