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

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Cerqua Rivera Art Experience



This five-year-old Chicago troupe--made up of 12 musicians and 11 dancers and headed by jazz musician-composer Joe Cerqua and choreographer Wilfredo Rivera--has always had something of a retro feel. Now for the first time they'll perform in a nightclub, the Black Orchid. A new piece by Kenny Ingram, Givin' Out Some Soul, pays homage to African-American dance styles that have entered the mainstream; Ingram, a musical-theater choreographer and director, has given definite narrative lines to the two halves of the piece. In the first section a sweet young thing ventures into a down-home 30s-era nightclub and witnesses a couple of floor shows; the second shifts the action to a park in the late 60s where flower children frolic. The piece's sassy, carefree air is enhanced by Bobbi Wilsyn's vampy singing and Cerqua's original music, whose lyrics help set a sweet tone ("What I got, freely I give to you / Take it from me, I don't mind...Givin' out some soul / And happy for help from above"). Also on the program are pieces set to the music of Bobby Darrin, Carole King, the Drifters, and Dizzy Gillespie. Black Orchid, Piper's Alley, 230 W. North, 312-944-2200. Through June 30: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM. $35.

--Laura Molzahn

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