A Great Matinee to See

Brooklyn Starks Murphy


I had the greatest pleasure of being able to see a Matinee by dance company by the name ‘Cerqua Rivera Dance Company’. A dance company with its focus on the arts such as dance, music and even visual arts. I had a great opportunity to see the showcase at the Logan center for the Arts on May 2, 2018. With all honesty I believed that this show would introduce a very diverse dance group of young individuals. The great news is that it delivered with a very diverse group with smooth choreography and music development over the ages.

In the show they will say that the dances shown are based on the evolution of jazz and the blues throughout the years. Each costume matched the dance and time period of each song. Each movement is lively and smooth. They were able to incorporate other things such as their breathing and creating sounds into their performance. The lighting changed throughout the performance. Whether it was dependent on the emotions conveyed or the different time periods of each dance. Their movement was very smooth and great at conveying emotion through the movements of their bodies. They were able to stay in sync and almost perfect awareness of each other’s bodies and placement. The dancing was very lively and was able to show the change in the dances over the ages. Even being able to get so many young children to interact with the dancers on stage and even learn some of the dances that were shown such as Merengue and Salsa was fun.

The feeling portrayed during the immigrant’s segment of the story was able to show strong emotion while telling the story of a struggle. I was able to connect with the audience, by also making them think critically of the show and experience the feelings. This performance was one for me to always remember. Due to the way all the dancers were able to express such emotion. It was just beautiful. Richard’s solo at the very end caused you to think. What made him happy that caused him to laugh? What was so sad that caused him to scream? So, it causes you to think about the past performances and how they link up. This performance really reminded me of how the dreamers or immigrants who fought so hard to come here and find a better life for their families that were being treated horribly. By a country that was built by immigrants this performance shows just how much immigrants have impacted our lives and the things we do.

I truly believe that this performance has one of the greatest meanings that people don’t understand. But there’s one thing that I feel was not made clear. The connection between the immigrant piece at the end and the jazz, and the blues pieces that came before them. Mainly because immigration and other cultures is what effects music and the way that it is revolutionized here in America. But other than the unclear message I believe that the show was great and beautiful. This show made me feel so many emotions such as sad, happy, energized, confused and even mesmerized because of how emotional some of the dances were. It made me so happy to see a show acknowledging the fact that immigrants have changed the course of most music even create it to this day it still exists and that makes me truly happy.

Matinee Critics Review

Tiana Williams


There is nothing but passion, love, and energy at the Logan Center of the Arts. And that’s because of the special performance that some of the students gave from the Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre. It was a show I wish you could have seen. To the costumes to the movement, to the tone of the music, that performance had it all.

There were eight people all together who performed on stage. The first dance was called “Maple Leaf Shoplin”. There were two girls and one boy, dressed like tap dancers from back then. They were very light on their feet. It gave an airy type feel. It made me feel bubbly. The second part was “Stomping at The Savoy” which was during the Harlem Renaissance. It was during Jazz times. It gave me a black 1900s flapper girl vibe. The third dance was called “Manteka” meaning “cooking lard.” The girls were wearing sequined dresses that were beautiful. I was surprised when the girls lifted the boys instead of vice versa. That doesn’t happen very often. The fourth dance was a piece with music by composer Miles Davis called “Solar Yester Now.” It told a story of a woman who loved a man but then left him. The woman’s dress was very different. It was like a contemporary art piece on fabric. The fifth piece was very moving. It was about a group of immigrants looking at new land. However, every time someone went to go look, they would get pulled back into the group. The lights changed color based on the mood of the scene. Then they split looking at the new land but then all came together again. Then the man’s friends were dying off till it was only him left. He started crying that his friends died on their journey but then started laughing because he made it. It gave me mixed emotion. The strongest one being happiness. The last piece was when they were at the end of the timeline. It was called “Tom and Jerry.” The outfits were vibrant. It gave a groovy feel. It made me want to get up and dance! The music was upbeat and liberating. The lights in the auditorium were bright. It was ecstatic!

My school is currently holding a play about the Harlem Renaissance and “Stomping at The Savoy” is one of the songs in the scenes. That helped some of us out because we could have an example on how it should look. Though I don’t think our class could ever pull off those moves! I liked how they hosted what the next dance would be like before they perform. I also liked how they took us back in time with these dances. I especially liked the fifth scene. it told a story with no words. you know the saying “A picture tells a thousand words?” Well, that piece told a story in a million words! The host said that he wanted that personal story to become a universal story. And I loved how they had some interactive things. They had people come up to the stage and kind of mimic the dances. And I was pretty good at it if I say so myself! I will remember this experience I was grateful to have seen.

I think the most effective thing in that performance was how coordinated and in sync they were. They were in tune and everything was timed spectacularly, the lighting change was good, their costumes were on fleek, they were killing it! Everyone knew each other and were comfortable around each other so it wasn’t awkward. It was very touching, and I would like to see it again. These dances tell stories that need to be universal. But hey, you should check it out!


Asha Andrews-Hutchinson


Have you ever seen a dancer dance with so much emotion, as if telling a tragic story? Can you relate to the pain, happiness, and sadness of a performer telling their story? Well this performance was a Matinee, meaning morning or an early show. While watching these dance pieces we were traveling back in time to the 1920s to the 1970s to the 1980s and 1990s. Cerqua Rivera showed different types of music and dance. This performance was showed at the Logan center of the Arts on Wednesday, May 2, 2018. I can’t forget the way each dancer danced with each other and had a special connection with each other like they were in love. I can’t forget how that performance moved me, it made me feel like I was reading a book, or we were watching a movie, and looking at that dance made me feel empowered and anxious to see more dances.

In this performance the costumes, the music, the lighting, were all so well laid out with the movement and emotions of the dances and dancers. The first dance we saw were of three people, one man and two women. They were dancing in a jazzy and ballet like dance music from the 1990s, it was a Charleston and swing dance. The second song that was played was called Stepping at the Savoy, which is like a jazzy song. It started as two pairs of couples dancing together in the romantic type of way then, three people in suits dancing all Joyfully, then eventually they all came together and danced in happy matter. After they did the second dance they invited children on the stage to try dancing in couples, that was how the audience was a part of the performance.

The happy dances reminded me of Backyardigans because of the way they swayed side to side and the smiles on their faces. Strongest thing that was good about the dance performance with the connections they had with their partner dancing. I think there should have been more diversity in Race and with age, and how the spacing and Who was in front and who was in back. I realized that the story behind these dances was that immigrants had to leave their home country, and how they had to work hard jobs like getting drafted in the war and losing friends and family on the way. I also realized that many people experience this, both inside and outside of the United States.

This performance was successful because of the way the dancers connected with each other both emotionally and physically. As previously stated, I think there should have been more diversity in age and in race. But other than that, it was perfect. Each dancer showed the person they were playing on their faces or in their dance, but they could have also experience something related like this topic. I think the moral behind these dances was that, no matter you come from you will always know you’re roots no matter how much you hide them under pain or happiness. I also think the moral of the story is that if you’re in war with your friends and your family and they suddenly disappear you feel happy and sad at the same time, you’re happy because you know they’re in a better place, but you’re sad because they’re all dead.

Matinee Critique for Cerque Rivera Dance Theatre

Jaime Beecham


On May 2, 2018 I got to see a dance performance by the “Cerqua Rivera Dance Company”. It took place at The Logan Center for the Arts. It was a combination of dance throughout the years from 1900s to 2000s in which we could see the participation of the dance company Cerqua Rivera Dance Company. At the beginning of the performance I was so excited as I usually like to attend these types of events.

The choreographer was trying to show how the evolution of dance has grown into something bigger. They use dance and music to nourish the mind and the soul. They unite artists & audiences to explore themes that shape their community. I enjoyed watching them perform because they showed a lot of emotion when they were dancing. They let the music move them. I could tell what they were trying to portray through the dances. I was interested in how they always kept their moves sharp and how their technique was precise.

The lightning they used while dancing brought the dance to life more. It didn’t distract me from what they were doing. Their costumes were what they would wear in the different time eras, but some of the costumes in the late 1900s’ were something we would wear today. I felt that the costumes were appropriate to the dance. It felt like the costumes gave the dance a better look. The music that they played was upbeat and happy like they were taking a walk in the park on a sunny day.

One of the performances were around the cartoon “Tom and Jerry”. It was a Latin dance style. Two people wore colorful clothes like they would in a cartoon which made it look animated. The lights were in a soft mood which was perfect for the dance. I would watch this Matinee again to see anything I missed.

Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre

Kendall Brown


All I could do was keep watching and waiting on the next move. This dance program had me in complete awe! Not only did I see the emotions that the dancers demonstrated on their faces, but I felt it. Their dances were powerful, it drew me in at every dance move, facial expression, emotion and passion. The dancers took me back to the era’s that they explained in the beginning. Era’s like the 1900s,1950s,1960s, etc. It made me feel like I was in that year they explained.

Not only did the dancers dance, but we were also able to go up and participate with them on certain dances. The whole time they interacted with the audience. In addition, the choreographer who also served as the narrator always came out and explained to the audience, the name of the dance, composer and era. To me, I think the theme was going back in time through dance. In one of the dances it was a Latin American, jazz fusion. Another one was called Manteka and it meant “cooking lard.” It combined melody and rhythm. The dancers were experienced and showed their talent and emotion. It made feel as if they were speaking to me during the dance.

Their dances really stood out to me, but my favorite was “Tom and Jerry.” Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre really opened my eyes to see that dance tells a story. The instructor announced that he was an immigrant. So, in five different dance pieces he told us his story, and it made me almost, ALMOST cry. Which is crazy because usually sad movies make me cry. I’ll be boo hooing all over the place.

The dancers had on colorful outfits for each dance. The lights reflected off the mood of the song and dancers. The movement was like they were one with the music, floating on the beat. I will remember the facial expressions about the whole entire performance. I know that I keep saying facial expressions but, in my opinion facial expressions are everything. Growing up in dance, all I heard was smile, feel it, get loose, and stay focused. The dancers really defined my definition of dance. The performance made me want more. I wanted to learn more about the different eras that wasn’t introduced and performed. It drew me in and I hated that we had to leave.

Knowing that the topic of the performance was gospel, rock, and jazz I was automatically fascinated. And to also know that every dance was based on different times. I think that the overall message was a speech. The dances were like different speeches, and feelings that the dancers spoke out on by their movement. They expressed different meanings that spoke out to tell a story. You can express yourself in many ways. But I have, really got to give my props, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre expressed their, pain, happiness, sorrow, and strength. I highly recommend that all ages should see this beautiful, outspoken, matinee.