When one is searching for athletic grace, feel-good movement with a bit of sensualty, and let’s not forget an impressive jazz hand, there is no need to look further than Chicago’s own Giordano Dance Chicago (GDC). Thursday, June 9th marked a one-night-only constellation of events marked in the legendary dance company -- the celebration and closing out of their 55th anniversary, artistic director Nan Giordano’s (daughter to founder and Jazz dance pioneer, Gus Giordano) 25 year anniversary of Artistic Directorship, and the declaration by the city of Chicago from this year forward as “Nan Giordano Day”. This night of celebration took place at Roosevelt University’s Roosevelt University -- a dream venue for founder Gus Giordano.
Gus Giordano Chicago Celebrates 55 Years at Auditorium Theatre
“How fitting to conclude our 55th season at the Auditorium,” says Nan Giordano, GDC's Artistic Director. “It was always my father’s [Gus Giordano’s] dream to have his company perform on the stage of this landmark theatre, and we are excited to return for our fourth full-length performance on the historic stage.” -Nan Giordano
The night featured works byCompany Founder Gus Giordano, Ray Mercer, Ray Leeper, Christopher Huggins, and Joshua Blake Carter. A piece this Jazz appreciator found particularly powerful and heartfelt was Gus Giordano’s Wings created in 1978 , performed by GDC Artistic Programs Manager Cesar G. Salinas. Salinas donned white angelic fabric as he moved to the spiritual live accompaniment of the acclaimed family singers The Bournés in their rendition of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”.
Another stand out moment involved hearing the familiar tunes of Aretha Franklin, Michael Buble, and Michael Brennan in Ray Leeper’s Feelin’ Good Sweet, created in 2014. The spirit of Broadway lingered with character shoes, fedoras, and fierce lines as the Gus Giordano dancers delivered a highly technical piece executed with elegance. As we met the ensemble at the show’s end with a standing ovation, it’s safe to say these movers and their choreographic visionaries did not disappoint!
Though this particular showcase was just for the night, GDC has garnered a reputation for mixing the fresh and innovative, with the classic Jazz representation it’s famous for. If you’re a lover of Jazz, Broadway, fantastically physical dancer feats, and just plain fun -- grab your ticket!
To learn more about Giordano Dance please visit the Giordano Dance website.
To learn more about The Auditorium Theatre, please visit the Auditorium Theatre website.
Photos courtesy of Gus Giordano Chicago
About the Author:
Brittany Harlin is the founding artistic director of Chicago Urban Dance Collective and 2017 recipient of the Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist Award. Her influences are Hip Hop and Modern Dance Pioneers. In addition to company work, her dancing and choreography has been featured at Ragdale Foundation, Links Hall, Elastic Arts, Aragon Ballroom, DRAMA Duo Music Productions, Black Ensemble Theatre, and Hip Hop International.
Brittany’s focus is Hip Hop, Modern, Funk Styles, Waacking, and House, combined with growing knowledge of somatics and kinesiology, all through the concert dance lens. Her goal is to bring dance education to a place of complete body awareness, spiritual expression, and connection. Brittany hopes to establish her practice in expressive therapy, creating opportunities, and inclusiveness.
Her teaching artist pedagogy & philosophy are weighted in respecting the integrity of the vernacular movement, by sharing what she’s been taught from respected community members - and stopping exactly there. She relates those concepts to personal natural movement, and the energy of the dancers she’s working with. Her goal is to create solidarity between diverse backgrounds, conducive to the essence and intention of The Hip Hop Socio-Political Movement. Harlin’s passion in dance extends to her community as she has launched her most recent endeavor of teaching professionalism and industry standards to aspiring professional dancers.
When Brittany isn’t dancing, she is supplementing her work with her passions for poetry and songwriting. She’s been referred to as a fawn and a hippie on multiple, separate occasions.