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Held in various locations throughout the world, Jazz Dance World Congress (JDWC) gathers dancers, teachers, and performers from across the United States and from as many as 20 foreign countries.  At this five-day event, jazz dance enthusiasts take dance classes from world-class Master Teachers, view exciting performances by internationally-acclaimed dance companies at the Jazz Dance World Festival, witness the competitive judging of new jazz dance choreography, and forge relationships that last a lifetime.  The faculty represents a variety of styles across the vast jazz dance spectrum and include Joe Tremaine, Nan Giordano, Ray Leeper, Liz Imperio, Randy Duncan, and many others.  The Jazz Dance World Festival features electrifying performances from many of the world’s hottest companies including Philadanco!, Koresh Dance Company, and of course, host company Giordano Dance Chicago, America’s original jazz dance company.

Founded by the legendary jazz dance impresario, Gus Giordano, JDWC has celebrated the uniquely American art form of jazz dance since 1990. The origins of JDWC came about in Gus’ dream to elevate the appreciation and training for jazz dance.  Using his trademark charisma, he rallied the enthusiastic participation of his closest colleagues including Joe Tremaine, Matt Mattox, Frank Hatchett, and Luigi to join his effort.  The first Jazz Dance World Congress was presented in 1990 by Gus Giordano and the Dance Program of Northwestern University, not far from the world-famous Evanston studio where Mr. Giordano built his legendary dance empire.  Attracting attendees from throughout the United States and around the world, the first event was a smashing success and was repeated again in Evanston in 1992 and 1994. 


In 1995, the JDWC was honored to be invited by Chukyo University in

Nagoya, Japan to share the culture of American jazz dance on the international

stage.  The following year Gus Giordano was proud to co-produce JDWC at the

prestigious John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.,

whose Concert Hall and Grand Foyer held dance classes, performances, and

celebrations.  In 1997, JDWC traveled abroad again, this time in

Wiesbaden, Germany, making a lasting impression on the European dance world. 

In 1998, JDWC was invited by the City of Phoenix to appear there in the city’s

Symphony Hall, Orpheum Theatre, and Phoenix Civic Plaza.  At the same time 

Dance Magazine launched its first-ever August Jazz Dance Issue in honor of JDWC, cementing the event as a vital national treasure in dance education.  The inaugural cover of this issue featured Mia Michaels, a JDWC participant and International Choreography Competition finalist.  In 1999, 2000, and again in 2003, Congress took place at the University at Buffalo, a specially invited guest of the city of Buffalo and the University’s Center for the Arts.  The 2001 JDWC was celebrated abroad in Monterrey, Mexico, by Chatre de Godi Centro de Danza and in 2004 JDWC was presented by JazzGoba in San Jose, Costa Rica. 


In 2002, 2005, 2007, and 2009, JDWC was held in its hometown of Chicago, co-presented with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and held at the world famous Palmer House Hotel and the prestigious Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park. The most recent Congress was held in Pittsburgh, PA in 2012, and was presented in partnership with Point Park University, the Byham Theater and the August Wilson Center for African American Culture.

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