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

Cerqua Rivera Art Experience 

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No question about it, live music can be liberating, inducing in dancers an energy and spontaneity impossible with a recorded score. Watching a rehearsal of Cerqua Rivera Art Experience, a troupe made up of dancers and Joe Cerqua's jazz band, I was struck by the general air of freedom and good humor, even though I arrived a good three hours into the session on a hot day and they were all exhausted. Their new program, "Jazz Pie: A Moving Musical Slice of America," capitalizes on that energy by incorporating some famous local guest artists: violinist Johnny Frigo, trumpeter Orbert Davis, and composer-musician Corky Siegel. Each performs in at least one new work for this program, including Davis's arrangement of "April in Paris" for a solo choreographed and danced by coartistic director Wilfredo Rivera and Frigo's quirky love song "Detour Ahead," for which Kenny Ingram created a balletic female trio. Of the collaborations I saw, my favorite was Southwest Coast Blues, a slight but punchy number danced to the Siegel boogie-woogie song of the same name. In this male-female duet, choreographer Harrison McEldowney puts into play his usual wicked intuitions about relationships: the woman barely moves while the man flings himself all over the stage trying to get her attention, leaping, sliding into the floor, turning cartwheels, and eventually having a tantrum. In this piece, as in the others, the singers and musicians are onstage and interacting with the dancers, an integral part of the scenario. This fast-paced program features lots of other works, among them company favorites A Tribute to Nina Simone and Givin' Out Some Soul. Also performing is singer Bobbi Wilsyn; projections of Matt Lamb's paintings (on exhibit at the same place) appear throughout the performance. Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th, 773-445-3838. Through July 13: Saturday, 8 PM; Sunday, 2 PM. $30; $20 for children 12 and under. Note: Corky Siegel appears only at the Saturday performance, which will be followed by a party; the cost for the show and party is $40 ($30 for children), with a cash bar.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/William Frederking.

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