Cerqua Rivera Art Experience | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Cerqua Rivera Art Experience

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There's something theatrical, something oversize and sensuous about Wilfredo Rivera's choreography no matter what the subject. In Black Country he uses a ballet bar to represent intractable diseases like cancer and AIDS, but the movement is sultry and luscious: dancers hang from the bars like ripe fruit ready to fall. Set to Joe Cerqua's bluesy instrumental ballad, this sinuous work gives an impression of pleasurable agony. Tom and Jerry, a piece for the whole company, has a much lighter subject--the connections made during social dancing--but again the movement is bigger than life: the performers mug at one another and at us, they wiggle their heads Fosse-style, they take big, exotic steps, they playfully dangle their hands or upper bodies. By the time the explosive conclusion rolls around, we're with them all the way, feeling as if we're out there too doing the swim and the watusi. The other distinguishing feature of Rivera's choreography--which anyone who saw him perform the lead role in Sherry Zunker Dow's Reality of a Dreamer for River North Dance Company will recognize--is its musicality. His partnership with composer-musician Cerqua and commitment to live music add another dimension to his work. Friday and Saturday at 8 at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, 9501 Skokie Blvd. in Skokie; $12.50-$24.50. Call 847-673-6300 for tickets and information, 773-539-7825 for rates on groups of 15 or more.

--Laura Molzahn

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