Giordano Dance Chicago 2016-2017 Season Finale Review - Cohesive Program Closes the "Made in Chicago" Dance Series

On June 10, 2017, Giordano Dance Chicago, now in its landmark 54th season of iconic jazz dance, closed the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University’s 2016-2017 season’s “Made in Chicago” Dance Series. The one-night-only program was comprised of a cohesive amalgam of dance styles and musical genres and generated the high level of audience excitement and involvement that is always seen at a Giordano engagement.

In a poignant and heart-felt announcement, Rachel Lynn Berube and Joshua Blake Carter took their bows as dancers, she to continue teaching at “All About Dance” studio and documenting notation in the Nan Giordano Certification program, he to continue directing the second company, become part-time Manager of Operations, and, as he did for this night’s program, choreograph a new work each season.

Giordano Dance Chicago; photo by Gorman Cook Photography

 The program as presented was follows:

 Before the Intermission:

 Liz Imperio’s “Lost in this World”, 2017:

Routinely referred to as “The choreographer to the stars” because of her work with Madonna, J. Lo, Gloria Estefan, and others, Imperio has created in this piece, “Set in the dream nightclub of lost and found souls’, a sexy, fast-paced and hot young dance, fueled by hip-hop and rap infused music by Ed Sheeran, Steve Mac, Johnny McDaid, Raury Tullis, Lou Rhodes and Andrew Barlow with an original score by Jack Rayner. It can be seen as an emotional drama in 4 movements. Opening with “Shape of You”, (“I’m in love with your body’), this was a modern collection of group and duet work, with 2 lead men and 2 lead women moving throughout in clever, sexy costumes to tribal-influenced rhythmic choreography. As a group, the 7 dancers seemed like a fetishistic clan, or an ultra-sophisticated club from the streets.

 Autumn Eckman’s “commonthread”, 2009:

Eckman has been called “A bright choreographic stylist, mixing solid design with color and sparkle”.  This is a lyrically pretty if unconventionally staged piece set to funky spaced-out music by Dan Myers and John Ovnik, with Myers playing the violin live at stage right. 5 women danced in sensuous asymmetrical tunics with attached shorts, using reaching gestures in shifting dim light. The dancers seem at times to all be soloists; they appeared to be caught in fantastic tableaux of pure form. To the strains of Celtic/Asian music, atonal and pulsating, turning and leaping dancers were caught with background light emanating in colors off their garments and the floor, an effect used throughout the program.

Giordano Dance Chicago; photo by Gorman Cook Photography


Roni Koresh’s “Exit4”, 2013:

It’s been written that “Roni finds beauty in seeing the humanness in each dancer and letting the audience see who they are”. Set to Israeli music that is syncopated and hip, by DJ Nadar, Greg Smith, Jonathan Bowels and Le Trio Joubran, there are separate male and female segments. All the dancers wear either all black or black-and-white. There is  a folk-dance feeling in portions of this 4 movement full company dance. A very clever and witty affair, with many isolated moves as well as hugging duets, these were portrayals of “tough” guys and gals who created primal scenes.

After the Intermission:

Frank Chaves’ “Grusin Suite”, 1993, reconstructed in 2017:

Chaves, Dance Chicagoan of 2014, is well known for producing “The highly musical emotionally gripping dances that are his hallmark”. This is a beautifully constructed and clever rhythmic work set to Dave Grusin’s musical score to the movie “The Firm”, with  “reconstructed” lighting by Jacob Snodgrass and “reconstructed” costumes by Branimira Ivanova. Clad in fun electric-blue identical tops and pants, this pure jazz joyful work was playful, integrated and revealed efforts from a lyrical duet, a heartfelt trio and 8 member thrilling group scenes.

Maeghan McHale and Zachary Heller; photo by Gorman Cook Photography

 Joshua Blake Carter’s “Before My Eyes”, 2017:

It’s been written that for Carter, “Dance extends into all areas of life”. This 3- movement piece, set to music by Max Richter and Nico Muhly, recounts the dancer/choreographer’s feelings about an auto accident involving his dad, offering some of his feelings caught in a segment of time. In white shirts and black pants, Giordano 2, with and without soloist Jacob Frazier and 6 other members of the Company filled the stage with grace as the music stopped and started. They run, they lift in athletic and stylized groupings; arms like swimmers, they ride each other.

 Jon Lehrer’s “A Ritual Dynamic”, 2008:

Lehrer’s choreography has been called “Exuberant and innovative”. In this intense and mathematically driven work of culturally inclusive intensity, with music by DJ Disse and White Derbakeh, street dancing coalesces with virtuoso studio methods. In old-fashioned unisex-style black onesies infused with diagonal stripes of primary colors, the 16 dancers rhythmically contort; they are suppleness incarnate.

Kudos to deceptively casual but sensual/sensational costumes by Branimira  Ivanovna, Nathan Rohrer and Laura Wade,  and “spot-on” colorful/ dramatic and spot-lit soft lighting  and curtainry effects by Jacob Snodgrass, Kam Hobbs and Kevin Dreyer. The Auditorium, with it’s innate grandeur dripping with gilt touches, stunningly wrought ceilings and rococo mural effects, was a perfect setting for the technically superb dancers and the appreciative audience.

The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University; photo courtesy of John Boehm


For tickets to all the great performances at The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, go to the auditoriumtheatre website


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