Giordano Dance Chicago Review- Great dancing closes the Auditorium Theatre's "Made in Chicago" dance series

On June 11, 2016, Giordano Dance Chicago (GDC) returned to the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress, after last year’s full-stage debut. This event closed the Auditorium’s “Made in Chicago” 2015-2016 Dance Series for this season. Michael McStraw, Executive Director, GDC introduced the program, which consisted of 5 spectacular jazz/ballet/modern jazz pieces.

The show opened with “Crossing Lines”, 2015, choreographed by Israeli Ronen Koresh, who also concieved the  deceptively simple costume design.This critically acclaimed 7-section piece showed off the entire company.  One section called for just two dancers, several others for the whole ensemble, the whole set to what sounded like mostly middle-Eastern music, with snatches of voiceover. This was fast-paced, modern, very fun and entertaining. The company, always athletic show-stoppers, performed sometimes with wide legs and swinging arms, sometimes seeming to skip across the stage, sometimes dancing in “tribal” circles. 

Crossing/Lines, Maeghan McHale, Rachel Berube

Next on the bill was “Can’t Take This Away”, 1997, choreographed by Randy Duncan, an exuberant piece that was actually performed at Gus Giordano’s funeral! During this wonderful show, live gospel singers, the Bourne’s, took the stage with the dancers and belted out heart-felt lyrics to 2 hymns, then singing along with the score. They wore red robes which, combined with the dancers' sweeping red costumes- by Gregory W. Slawko- beautifully emphasized the expansive moves and terrific form of the ensemble. A thrilling ending to this very strong cutting-edge piece included the singers advancing to the edge of the stage and the dancers coming out into the Auditorium, dancing almost halfway back in the house, in character and form throughout. The audience loved this and roared it's approval!

"Can't Take This Away", Maeghan McHale, Devin Buchanan

After the intermission came “Feelin’ Good Sweet”, 2014, a full company piece, by choreographer Ray Leeper, a former Giordano student, an almost retro jazz piece, with extremely fetching black costumes by Emily Nelson. The music was quite diverse, from a take on “Get Happy” to Aretha Franklin’s “Dr. Feelgood”. This is a consciously very sexy piece, and not a bit of a parody-it’s great jazz dance!

"Feelin" Good Sweet",Zachary Heller, Martin Ortiz Tapia, Ashley Downs, Sean Rozanski

Brock Clawson’s “Sneaky Pete”, 2016, is a piece reminiscent of old Broadway musicals with a distinct nod to film noir, with sleek hair and stylish lavender/gray costumes by Branimira Ivanova. There was a lot of sheer ballet moves- lifts and even tosses, and the work, modern in feel, is still quite lyrical. And, yes, there is a “Pete” character sneaking around, with a comic edge, first sensed by the female lead, who ultimately unmasks him. It's a very clever and very complex piece with multiple dancer groupings, intricate moves, differing heights.

"Sneaky Pete", Adam Houston, Natasha Overturff; photo courtesy of Love, Louise Photography

The show closed with “Sing Sing Sing”, 1983, choreographed by the great Gus Giordano himself, to the song of the same name by Louis Prima. This was an extra exciting swing-dance jitterbugging full company tour de force that ended this great show on a note of breathless excitement- a note felt throughout. 

"Sing Sing Sing", Adam Houston, Ashley Downs

For other great shows at the Auditorium Theatre, including the upcoming 2016-2017 "Made in Chicago" Dance Series, go to

For information about Giordano Dance Chicago, go to

Unless otherwise noted, all photos courtesy of Gorman Cook Photography


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