Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre

You do not have access to view this content.Isyss Imani Williams


Have you ever seen a performance where a dancer or multiple dancers are telling a story in some type of way? On Wednesday, May 2, 2018 my classmates and I went to a Matinee performance at The Logan Center for The Arts. The performers I saw were Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre which was started here in Chicago, IL. The topic of the performance the dancers were doing was jazz, blues, and gospel which was performed throughout time from the 1800s to 1900s. Half of the dances that was shown were visuals of different times, for an example one of the dances had to do with immigrants and refugees and how they felt inside. That was actually my favorite one and you’ll know why when I continue on with my blog entry. The performance was different and unique in every and any kind of way to show different perspectives of times and decades.

I personally felt like the performance was different and unique in some type of way. I actually felt like I was traveling back in time to a decade that I didn’t even know had meaning. The type of costumes they were wearing made the performance pop, for example the men in the dances basically were wearing tuxedos but the women were wearing different color dresses. In one performance, the immigrant and refugee performance, when they came on stage they came in deep like they were ready to show how much this part of history meant to them. The women were wearing pink dresses and the men were wearing white. In some type of way, I felt like they were dressed as if they were orphans even though that wasn’t their intention to dress as. The movement they used was as if they were telling us how refugees and immigrants felt inside having to leave their home to start fresh.

The performance made me connect with the movie Their Eyes Were Watching God with Halle Berry and Michael Ealy. The movie is basically about how Janie the character Halle plays hard to move from town to town to find the right person she could live the rest of her life with because she was forced out of her town by her mother who wanted her to get married which she didn’t feel comfortable doing at a young age. The movements the dancers were doing made me think hard about what Janie probably was feeling having to move town to town with someone she didn’t even know, love, or did love at first but fell out of love with. I liked the way they presented that certain story because I could reflect on it and I felt like that main performance was my favorite. I could actually feel what immigrants and refugees feel and felt inside. The creation of the performance was strong, and I think they did an amazing job on it.

The second performance I liked and felt like I could make a self-connection to is the Tom and Jerry performance. Tom and Jerry are a really old show and it used to be my favorite show until it stopped coming on, on Cartoon Network. I never thought that there were songs out in the world based off of Tom and Jerry. The performance made me feel like I was watching Tom and Jerry up close because you know how in the show they barely talked, Tom and Jerry just used movements to tell the story, that’s literally exactly how I felt the dancers were doing. The performers imitated the Tom and Jerry show really good and I could tell which character was which by the dance movements they were performing. The men were wearing a light orange and black shirt, I understood why they used those colors because Tom and Jerry is a bright cartoon. The women also wear black, white, orange, and yellow dresses. In the performance the main type of dances they were using was jazz dance which I also understood because jazz is a happy art at least to me.

The features that were contributed to the performance being successful, or not successful as it could have been was how they were passionate about what they were dancing to and they were comfortable with each other and the music. I think what wasn’t as successful was that the theatre didn’t have a diverse crew, there was only one black person in the performance. I feel like they could’ve added more diverse races. The last thought I haven’t brought up yet in this blog was that one of my favorite quotes from the performances was, “Dance tells a story in a passionate and unique way” I liked that quote because I’m a dancer, now that I know personally that my dance movements can tell how I feel and a story that I didn’t even know existed. My final thought about this whole entire performance is, Wow! I never liked jazz, ballet, or gospel dance but these dancers brought the jazz, ballet, and gospel world to a whole other level.