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© 2019 Giordano Dance Chicago, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation                                                                                      1754 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614
No part of this website or video may be reproduced without Giordano Dance Chicago's written consent.                                                                              312.922.1332

MEET THE COMPANY

OUR MISSION

The mission of Giordano Dance Chicago is to create and present new and innovative jazz dance choreography, often redefining and expanding the very definition of jazz dance, and to bring this invaluable American art form to audiences and students of all ages and from all ethnic backgrounds. GDC is dedicated, also, to the preservation and promotion of the Giordano Technique.  Whether on the stage or in the classroom, we strive to enrich lives through dance, and it is this solid mission statement and organizational vision which informs all of the organization’s artistic programming.

The value that Giordano Dance Chicago brings to its local, national, and international communities is the universal and life-affirming experience of witnessing dance that is powerful, passionate, elegant, and celebratory.

OUR COMPANY

In 56 years as an artistic leader and innovator, Giordano Dance Chicago - America’s original jazz dance company- has contributed greatly to the health of Chicago’s performing arts community. From our origins in Gus Giordano’s family-run studio to our current incarnation as a professionally-run organization with over a half-century of worldwide performances (27 countries, 46 states, and more than 1,200 cities), our imprint on the art form of jazz dance is far-reaching and significant. Our contributions include: a vast repertoire of more than 165 original works; the mentoring of new and emerging choreographers; the commissioning of innumerable musical scores and production designers; the education of tens of thousands of underserved public school and community students; the creation of generations of professional dancers, and performances to millions of audience members worldwide.

 

Several major factors combine to be the engine behind all programs and which reflect the organization’s mission and vision. First, the legacy of founder Gus Giordano suffuses the organization, its mission and its daily activities and cannot be over-emphasized.  Second, the leadership of Artistic Director Nan Giordano and Executive Director Michael McStraw has challenged and transformed the organization to continuously raise its standards, take artistic risks, and expand its influence worldwide. Third, GDC recruits, hires, and fosters dance artists who possess more than just superlative technique and experience, but who also convey passion, humanity, and elegance. Lastly, ours is always a passionate and visceral offering which connects deeply with our audience.

 

Our mission provides for strong educational programs and services, including teaching the Giordano Technique in residencies in college and university dance programs, as well as the Nan Giordano Certification Program® which offers multi-level instruction and certification in the proprietary Giordano Technique. GDC’s Jazz Dance/Science & Health program, established in 2005, teaches elementary-school anatomy and nutrition curriculum through a dance-centric program in the science classroom over the course of 8 weeks. In 2018 the program brought 300 classes to 450 students in four schools in low-income neighborhoods.

 

Most exciting, GDC purchased the Hermon Baptist Church in Lincoln Park in January 2018 to serve as its new headquarters. The current structure will be modified/rebuilt to eventually house office space, studios, informal performance space and a rented retail operation.

OUR HISTORY

FOUNDED: 1963

ORIGINAL NAME: Dance Incorporated Chicago

ORIGINAL MEMBERS:

      Gus Giordano

      Gary Kaplan

      Mort Kessler

      Rita Rojas

      Judith Scott

Giordano Dance Chicago began in 1963 as Dance Incorporated Chicago and became the Giordano Dance Company in 1966 when many of its live performances were broadcast by Chicago’s Public Television Station, WTTW. In 1968 the company performed American jazz dance for the touring Bolshoi Ballet who were so impressed that an invitation was extended, and the company eventually toured the Soviet Union in 1974, the first jazz dance company to do so.

For over 50 years, GDC has brought the excitement of American jazz dancing to audiences throughout the United States and in countries around the world — including Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Russia, the Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Turkey, and Japan. GDC serves as host performing company at Jazz Dance World Congress, a biannual event which has been held at

many national and international sites, including the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., at the University at Buffalo, Chukio University in Japan, Germany, Mexico, Costa Rica, Phoenix, the City of Chicago, and in 2012 at Point Park University.

 

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the company “demonstrated that it now belongs in the front ranks of this city’s resident companies.” In 2004, the company received a Chicago Dance Award for its production and performance of Ron De Jesus’ Prey, “representing the vital new directions taken by the company.” In 2012, Dance Magazine raved that the company is a “burst of pure dance joy that left the audience breathless and ready for more” and in March of 2013 GDC was featured on the cover of the magazine in honor of the company's 50th Anniversary season.

In addition to its work on the stage, Giordano Dance Chicago enriches lives through outreach programs and activities which meet the needs of diverse and underserved communities. Over 300 classes are taught each year in the company’s signature program, Jazz Dance/ Science & Health which just completed its sixth year in three underserved elementary schools in Chicago. This valuable program teaches state-mandated learning targets for nutrition, health and science through dance-centric classroom activities. Participating students from this program and from many other social service and community organizations are given complimentary tickets to view GDC in performance, thereby making the bridge from classroom to stage. Innovation and success in creating school performances, residencies, choreographic projects, and workshops are a hallmark of taught each year in the company’s signature program, Jazz Dance/ Science & Health which just completed its sixth year in three underserved elementary schools in Chicago. This valuable program teaches state-mandated learning targets for nutrition, health and science through dance-centric classroom activities. Participating students from this program and from many other social service and community organizations are given complimentary tickets to view GDC in performance, thereby making the bridge from classroom to stage.

 

Innovation and success in creating school performances, residencies, choreographic projects, and workshops are a hallmark of Giordano Dance Chicago began in 1963 as Dance Incorporated Chicago and became the Giordano Dance Company in 1966 when many of its live performances were broadcast by Chicago’s Public Television Station, WTTW. In 1968 the company performed American jazz dance for the touring Bolshoi Ballet who were so impressed that an invitation was extended, and the company eventually toured the Soviet Union in 1974, the first jazz dance company to do so.

 

AN EXTRAORDINARY LEGACY

 

Nan Giordano began as Associate Director in the 80’s and since 1993, has served as Artistic Director and guided the development of a large and diverse repertoire. Executive Director Michael McStraw is responsible for the ongoing development and strategic growth of the organization, securing the resources needed to support the mission and programs of Giordano Dance Chicago.

 

After 50 years in Evanston, Giordano Dance Chicago is now located in the heart of downtown Chicago!