Photo: Paul B. Good


A modern dance company founded in 2007 by Artistic Director Caterina Rago. CR DANCE COMPANY, LLC is known for its visceral use of movement, raw physicality and determined language. The company is comprised of eight woman with diverse international dance backgrounds.

CRDance Company, LLC is based on an “El Sistema” approach to modern dance and choreography. With a special focus on Italian and American dance, CRDance Company is invested in choreography as a way to map new ideas onto the history of dance. Currently being re-launched in New York with the collaboration of Caterina Rago and Cheryl Kaplan, Executive Director, as well as the company of eight dancers, CR Dance Company is now taking choreography beyond stage-based performance while also creating major new works, such as Morso D’Amore. With its ambition schedule of teaching and performing, CRDance Company looks at choreography much like musicians or an orchestra might look at a set of scores under the guidance and vision of a conductor collaborating with both orchestra and composer. The scores in this context are choreographic works that require not only training, but active interpretation. CRDance Company approaches choreography as an action-based method of problem-solving. This physical thinking has important applications to a wide range of fields that, with your support, we are in the process of developing now.



This is a modern dance company that strives for raw-physicality, pushing the emotional boundaries and inspiring new generations to fight to keep alive their real source of light. Through our studies and creative teachings we always try to explore the vulnerability found in movement. We search for self-awareness by tapping into our innate potentiality and sharing our divine spark. And we aspire for uniqueness in the land of contrasts: the inspiring land of Italy.



As an artist, my work is full of raw physicality feeling and I seek to embody human emotions in movement. Dance creates a sense of vulnerability, allowing performers to offer and viewers to receive. I want to bring self-awareness and push boundaries, depicting messages of love, hope and courage through my work. By allowing this sense of openness in my choreographic process, I am able to create a sense of communication with audiences by celebrating life onstage. Although language barriers may exist between nations, the power of emotion and movement are both universal. Because these two human experience are universal, I also seek to express and cultivate my Italian heritage in the United States through my work.



It is Caterina Rago’s approach of surrendering her body to powerful emotion that inspires her intense and unique choreography. Caterina was invited to present her original work, Eternal Return, for the Graham II season 2008 and in many festivals and showcases throughout New York City and Italy. In 2010, two sold-out performances at MMAC marked CR DANCE COMPANY, LLC debut season and in 2013 the company premiered their evening-length work, Fall in Autumn, at MMAC. CR DANCE COMPANY, LLC work was selected for White Wave Rising Series Festival, Kat Wildish’s NYC Showcase at the Ailey Citigroup Theater, NYC Dance Week at Dixon Place, choreographed at Jazz at Lincoln Center in the opera, La Nave, with I Giullari di Piazza, IDACO Italian Dance Connection, Emerging Choreographer Series, Take Root and Fertile Ground at Green Space, Steps Beyond Foundation, Hatch Jennifer Muller/The Works and Dance Gallery Festival. Caterina has received two Company Commissions from Steffi Nossen Dance Foundation and the Accademia Nazionale di Danza in Rome, Italy. CR DANCE COMPANY, LLC recently premiered “Labir Into” at New York Live Arts in collaboration with renown set designer, Pier Paolo Bisleri. The CR DANCE COMPANY, LLC Gala was recently performed at the Martha Graham Studio Theater on April 19th, 2018. The Company was invited to perform at NEXT@GRAHAM and for the 37th Annual Battery Dance Festival, 2018.



CATERINA RAGO, Artistic DirectorChoreographer and Founder of CRDance Company and TDM, its educational dance program, Rago, a native of Italy, founded the company in 2007. She joined the Martha Graham Dance Company in 2009 after completing the company’s Professional Training Program, and received commissions from Steffi Nossen Dance Foundation, Accademia Nazionale di Danza and Peridance Capezio Dance Center where she’s on the faculty. Rago teaches at Dance Theater of Harlem and Martha Graham School and was named Emerging Choreographer for MET Dance Company (Houston). She restaged Martha Graham’s 1935 work, Panorama for Accademia Nazionale Di Danza at Rome’s Soirees Dans and Karole Armitage’s American Dream for the Ravello Festival.

CHERYL KAPLAN, Executive Director A filmmaker, artist and critic, Cheryl Kaplan is the Executive Director of CRDance Company. She has produced films for Eve Sussman, Rosanne Cash and Laurie Anderson included in major international museums and film festivals. Kaplan appears in Alan Berliner’s Oscar nominated HBO film on Edwin Honig. Her writing appears in Art in America, Flash Art and BOMB among others. Kaplan is the founder of the Mobile Studio Lab, teaching movement in relation to understanding the body’s structure. Kaplan has received fellowships from the Bogliasco Foundation, the MacDowell Foundation and the Royal Academy of Arts, London.

RAPHAËLLE KESSEDJIAN, Rehearsal Director Born in France, Kessedjian joined CRDance Company in 2015. Trained at Centre Choregraphique Veronique Thery and Martha Graham School, Kessedjian is a member of Graham 2, Nu Dance Theater, Caliince Dance and a guest artist with Martha Graham Dance Company for Cercando Picasso. Kessedjian joined Adele Myers and Dancers in 2012, touring and teaching with the company.

SARITA APEL (Dancer) Born in Germany, Apel received her BA from Codarts, Rotterdam Dance Academy and studied at the Ailey School (NY). She joined CRDance Company in 2015, has danced with Graham 2, Dansgroep Amsterdam and Creative Time/Nick Cave.

JACLYN REA (Dancer) Lives in NY, performing with Ariel Rivka Dance Company, joined CRDC in 2015, Heidi Latsky Dance, Graham 2 and 360o Dance Company. Dance faculty member AMDA College, Rea holds a BFA from SUNY Purchase and has danced works by Mark Morris, Stephen Petronio and Ethel Winter.

JESSICA SGAMBELLURI (Dancer) A 2015 winner of the Pearl Lang Award and member of Graham 2 Company and CRDance Company, joining in 2017, Sgambelluri is based in New York. Performed with Yang Liping Intl. Dance Festival (China), Table of Silence, Visible Project, 360 Dance Company, TED Talks Live’s War and Peace episode, Michael Klien’s Excavation Site: Martha Graham USA and SLC’s Odyssey Dance Theatre Thriller tour. Received a BFA from Marymount Manhattan College.

LISSA SMITH (Dancer) Born in Florida, Smith attended The Boston Conservatory and studied at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Juilliard, Martha Graham and Joffrey Ballet Schools. Winner of Arts For Life,  presented by former First Lady of Florida, Columba Bush. Performed with Hubbard Street 2, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Art Institute of Chicago. Smith was a dancer for Walt Disney Imagineering (LA) and joined CRDance Company in 2015.

CARLEY MARHOLI (Apprentice) received her BFA from Long Island University, having trained at Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. She was a member of Bradley Shelver Contemporary Dance Theater, Steps Repertory Ensemble, and Graham 2, having performed and apprenticed with Martha Graham Dance Company. Currently she is a member of Abarukas.

ROSALIA PANEPINTO (Apprentice) Born in NY, attended the Joffrey Ballet School Contemporary Program and Teatro alla Scala Summer Intensive Program. A 2018 Peridance’s Certificate Program graduate. Performed in the Florence Dance Festival and with Peridance Contemporary Company. Apprenticing with Parsons Dance, she recently joined CRDance Company.

HANNAH WAGNER (Apprentice) received her BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from the University of Missouri Kansas City, having trained at the Classical Ballet Academy of Ballet, Minnesota,. Ms. Wagner has danced professionally with Ballet Minnesota, Williams Henry Contemporary Dance Company, Nimbus 2, and Mollét Contemporary Ballet. She participated in the 2018 Tecniche di Danza, Rome with Caterina Rago and is now performing with CRDance Company.

PIER PAOLO BISLERI (Set Designer) The acclaimed Italian Set and Costume designer collaborated with Andy Warhol, Placido Domingo and Daniel Barenboim, with work seen at Teatro alla Scala, Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Teatro La Fenice and New Israeli Opera.

DAVIDE DI DONATO (Sculpture Designer) Born in Italy, Di Donato creates spectacular sculptures and life-size reconstructions for theater and cinematic scenography for McFarlane USA, Illy Caffè, Fanatico Figurines AG and Gaspez Arts.