A new choreographic work from CRDANCE, ALTA MAREA tells the legend of Cilla, a fisherman’s daughter, who fell hopelessly in love with a sailor lost at sea off the coast of San Lucido, Italy. The myth, whose origins and re-telling date back generations, was learned by Choreographer Caterina Rago as a child growing up in San Lucido. Rago has re-imagined this elusive story to create a ballet that navigates tempestuous heart/break and intrigue. A lost love and a cliff/hanger join forces to deliver a powerful contemporary tale that is equally turbulent, seductive and apocalyptic. Composed of highly energetic cycles of movement that seem to endlessly divide and reunite, ALTA MAREA transforms the audience from onlookers to willing investigators. The choreography pivots on the narrative’s precarious pursuits to rescue and retrieve what is lost and to somehow overcome the threat of overwhelming and imminent danger. ALTA MAREA exposes moments in time that ride on the metaphoric and real world experience of drowning and rescue to take the audience through episodes that implode and explode. The dancers search on stage feels transitory and, at the same time, permanent. ALTA MAREA speaks to the anxieties and uncertainties of our time. Shall we be capsized or shall we prevail?



JUNE 9, 2024











CRDANCE is a modern dance company that takes choreography beyond stage-based performance to map new ideas onto the history of dance. Known for its visceral use of movement, this Italian and American dance company, founded in 2007, has under the direction of Artistic Director Caterina Rago and Executive Director Cheryl Kaplan increased its USA and international presence through an extensive series of ongoing performance and educational programs that include a wide and diverse international audience. CRDANCE is based on an “El Sistema” approach to dance and looks at choreography much like musicians or an orchestra might look at a set of scores to create inventive and entertaining works that challenge how dance is experienced today. In addition to its active performance schedule, CRDANCE also offers educational programs through Tecniche di Danza Moderna, [TDM], a division of CRDANCE Company, LLC. TDM offers intensive master classes in technique while also exploring the choreographic repertoire of CRDANCE and other international modern dance companies, giving dancers a well-formed knowledge base of dance from the ground up. TDM is aimed at international students and professional dancers from the United States, Europe and Haiti among others.


CATERINA RAGO, Artistic Director, Choreographer, Principal Dancer, Producer + Founder of CRDANCE Company and its educational program, Tecniche Di Danza Moderna (TDM). CRDANCE was founded in 2007 as a company dedicated to respecting and reinventing the history of modern dance. Rago, a native of San Lucido, Italy, joined the Martha Graham Dance Company in 2009 after completing its Professional Training Program, and has received commissions from Steffi Nossen Dance Foundation, Accademia Nazionale di Danza, Alvin Ailey/Fordham and Peridance Capezio Dance Center where she is currently on the faculty. Rago also teaches at the Joffrey Ballet School and the 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 and has received recent commissions from Alvin Ailey/Fordham University and Marymount Manhattan College. CRDANCE has performed at New York Live Arts, Martha Graham Theatre and Teatro de la Ciudad Francisco de Paula Toro, Mexico, among many others. Rago’s role as Choreographer is manifested not only on stage, but also in her teaching practice, especially during TDM’s Summer Intensive workshops and in special sessions throughout the year in the USA, Italy and internationally where she has focused not only on teaching her own choreographic works, but on those from notable choreographers including Martha Graham, Jose Limon, Lester Horton, and Paul Taylor. In her role as Producer and Artistic Director, Rago collaborates closely with set and costume designers in both Italy and New York. Rago’s most ambitious choreographic work to date is the World Premiere of a new ballet, ALTA MARE that, for the first time, includes both male and female dancers asperformed at KNJ Theater, Peridance in 2024. Rago’s contribution to the field of modern dance and its history has a global reach that is diverse and ambitious in its goal to use dance as a language to make us see.

CHERYL KAPLAN, Executive Director of CRDANCE Company. Working collaboratively with Caterina Rago and the Company, Kaplan’s focus is to widen the reach of Rago’s choreography and its underlying connection to Italian history and culture to gain a diverse and loyal audience. Kaplan trained in Graham, Cunningham and Ailey techniques, and is the lead educator/teacher and founder of Mobile Studio Labwhere she teaches yoga, hiit, weight-bearing and dance-based exercise. Kaplan is the producer of independentfeature and short films for Eve Sussman, Rosanne Cash and Laurie Anderson included in major international museum collections, film festivals and theatrical releases. She appears in Alan Berliner’s Oscar nominated HBO film on Edwin Honig. As Executive Producer for Aerospace engineer and artist Bradley Pitts, Kaplan worked with Pitts on zero gravity parabolic flight projects, collaborating with the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center; for his Yearlight project, Kaplan gained museum distribution at MoMA, the Guggenheim and New Museum. Her writing appears in Art in AmericaFlash Art and BOMB. Kaplan is the author of a forthcoming book on contemporary art and is Executive Producer of an independent feature Film in development. Kaplan received fellowships from the Bogliasco Foundation, Italy, MacDowell Foundation andRoyal Academy of Arts, London. On stage, Kaplan can be seen introducing CRDANCE performances at the Martha Graham Theater, City Center and Ailey Studios,and in 2024, at KNJ Peridance Theater for the World Premiere of Caterina Rago’s Alta Marea.

ROSE BARBANTAN, Dancer, began her dance training at the Regional Conservatory of Dance in Avignon, France and later moved to Portugal from her home in Barbentane, France where she appeared on Got Talent Portugal and participated in Youth America Grand Prix, New York. During her studies at the Alvin Ailey School Certificate Program, Barbantan performed in Memoria alongside the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre Company and Ailey II at City Center. As a member of the Ailey Student Performance Group, Barbantan worked closely with choreographers Brice Mousset, Patrick Coker and Hollie Wright. She is fluent in French, Portuguese, Spanish and English. Aftergraduating from the Ailey School in May 2022, Barbantan began dancing professionally with CRDANCE, Jamel Gaines Creative Outlet, Shift Dance Company and Accent Dance Company. Barbantan participated in Jacqulyn Buglisi’s Dance Theater Table of Silence, 2022 and Walk with Amal, a program dedicated to raising hope for children who are war refugees.

HENRY STEELE, Dancer, comes to New York from Wollongong, NSW, Australia where he began his career as an elite gymnast, achieving national gold medals for three consecutive years before taking the leap to becoming a dancer. Steele earned a BFA with honors in 2016 from Point Park University where he worked with choreographers Lar Lubovitch, Mark Morris, Madboots Dance, Ronin Koresh, Jessica Hendricks, and others. With a background in Modern and Jazz dance, Steele has danced professionally with Owen/Cox Dance Group, Texture Contemporary Balletand toured internationally with The Bad Boys of Ballet. Steele spent five years as company member with Parsons Dance, where he notably performed the iconic solo Caught, and functioned as the company’s rehearsal director. Steele joined CRDANCE in 2023 and appears in the World Premiere performance of ALTA MAREA at KNJ Theater, Peridance.

CARA MCMANUS, Dancer, joined CRDANCE in 2020. She earned a BFA in Dance and a BA in Comparative Literature from Fordham University and the Ailey School, and an MA in English Literature from CCNY. She performed with Graham II and the Martha Graham Dance Company for five years, and now teaches at the Graham School. Currently, McManus performs with CRDANCE, Tabula Rasa Dance Theater and Lydia Johnson Dance. She has also performed with the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, The Pantos Project, Joshua Beamish / MOVETHECOMPANY, and in Beau Bree Rhee’s Shadow of the Sea, commissioned by the Kitchen. 

ANTONIO LEONE, Dancer, a native of Italy, attended the Rudra Bejart School in Switzerland in 2021. Moving to New York to join Graham II, Leone receivedthe Pearl Lang Award for Excellence in Performance. In 2022, he joined the Martha Graham Dance Companywhere he continues to perform feature roles in Errand into the Maze and Diversion of Angels by Martha Graham, as well as in contemporary works like Canticle for Innocent Comedians by Sonya Tayeh and Yin Yue. Leone joined CRDANCE in 2022 as one of the first male dancers in the Company.

AMINA KONATÉ,  Dancer, from La Rochelle, France, studied at the Conservatoire of Music, Dance of La Rochelle and the Rudra Béjart School, Switzerland. Having attended the Ailey School in New York, Konatéalso danced in Philadelphia as a Philadanco 2 (D/2) member and in New York with Jamel Gaines Creative Outlet and Borne dance company. Konaté joined TORCH Dance Theatre and has danced with Felice Lesser Dance Theatre, Yaa!Samar Dance Theatre, Linda Diamond & Company, performing works by Maurice Béjart, Julio Arozarena, Tancredo Tavarez, Janice Rosario, Christopher Huggins, Jeroboam Bozeman, Djassi Dacosta Johnson, Will A. Ervin and Walter Rutledge.Konaté joined CRDANCE in 2022 and has performed choreographic works by Caterina Rago including an early staging of ALTA MAREA.

LISSA SMITH, Dancer, from Florida, Smith attended the New World School of the Arts and Boston Conservatory and also studied at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, The Juilliard School, Martha Graham, Lines Ballet, and Joffrey Ballet School. Winner of Arts For Life presented by former First Lady of Florida Columba Bush and winner of The Martha Hill Young Professional Dance Award, Smith performed with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago nationally and internationally. Smith was a dancer for Walt Disney Imagineering in LA and for YYDC and currently dances with Abarukas and CRDANCE. Having joined CRDANCE in 2015, Smith has performed the entire repertoire of Rago’s choreographic works, from LABIR INTO to ALTA MAREA.

MICHELLE ANGELICA DI PIERNO, Costume Designer, was born in Milan, Italy where she currently lives. Having graduated from the NABA Academy as a Fashion and Costume Designer, Di Pierno is fascinated by the world of entertainment. Her background is not only in costume design and styling, but in theatre, singing and acting. Her interest in design and fashion began as a child, dreaming of launching her own collection while watching her mother create clothing. ANGELÍQUE is Di Pierno’s new online venue and brand page where her line of garments and accessories are now featured. This is Di Pierno’s first season designing costumes for CRDANCE. 

PIER PAOLO BISLERI, Production Designer, directed the Visual Arts space La Cappella Underground in Trieste where he presented artists including Joseph Beuys and Andy Warhol, as well as notable Arte Povera and Conceptual artists. Having graduated in scenography and costume designer from the Academy of Fine Arts, Florence, Bisleri’s focus on visual art, and in particular on contemporary art, is ever present in his artistic research and practice.  As a set and costume designer, Bisleri has collaborated with some of the greatest Italian directors on productions for major national and international theaters from la Scala, Milan; La Fenice, Venice; Maggio Musicale, Firenze; San Carlo, Naples; Regio di Torino, l’Opera de Monte-Carlo; and l’Opera de Toulouse, as well as the National Greek Opera; l’Opera di Bilbao; l’Opera de La Maestranza di Siviglia; Opera Theatre, Baltimore; Seattle Opera; Bunkamura,Tokyo; Centre of Performing Arts, Osaka; Centre of Performing Arts, Seoul; Innsbrucker Festwochen der Alten Musik, Innsbruck; New Israeli Opera, Tel-Aviv; Bolshoi, Moscow; and Mariinskij, San Petersburg among others. Bisleri is currently at work on a production of Carmen for the New National Theater of Albania in Tirana. Bisleri is a long-time collaborator for CRDANCE in New York. ALTA MAREA features Bisleri’s minimalist and powerful set design. 

FABIEN CAPÈRAN, Production Designer, is born in France and based in New York. He is a Set Designer as well as an Interior and Industrial Designer who creates everything from small sets to large interior design projects that he fabricates, engineers and produces himself. Capéran works for non-profits like MoMA and Le petit Musée in Conakry, Guinea as well as for international brands like LaMer and Benjamin Moore. Capéran loves challenging new projects such as this first collaboration with CRDANCE and the renowned Set Designer Pier Paolo Bisleri. 


Please support CRDANCE at any level you can. Send a check today to: CRDANCE Company, CATERINA RAGO, 25-76 41st Street, Astoria, NY 11103 #1D or support our GoFundMe campaign: We are committed to creating programs that provide the highest educational and artistic value to make a significant impact on audiences worldwide as well as working with dancers at all stages of their careers. Thank you. PLEASE CONTACT: Cheryl Kaplan, Executive Director,


Caterina Rago is grateful to the extraordinary individuals providing crucial and generous support to CRDANCE Company. Special thanks to Lynn Nack and Marshall Nack for partially funding ALTA MAREA and their continuous support of CRDANCE. A special thank you to CRDANCE Company members for their valuable artistic contributions and their kind, supportive souls. A special thank you to Cheryl Kaplan and Rose Barbantan, Amina Konaté, Antonio Leone, Cara McManus, Lissa Smith and Henry Steele. Caterina Rago extends heartfelt thanks to Caleb Krieg, Antonio Puntillo and Evgheni Petish for their support. A very special thanks to our audience members for being with us tonight. Grazie.