Giordano Dance Chicago (GDC), now celebrating its 55th year, will debut world premieres by award-winning choreographers Ray Mercer and Brock Clawson during their fall engagement at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Dr., Friday, Oct. 27 and Saturday, Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m. The program will also include a selection of works from GDC’s critically acclaimed repertoire.
Per Artistic Director Nan Giordano, “My father created the company 55 years ago to elevate the level of jazz dance and make it a recognized art form. Today, the Giordano Technique is still at the core of our identity and philosophy of movement, but we are continuing the legacy of expanding the wide spectrum of jazz by working with diverse choreographers who stretch the veins of jazz dance.”
Mercer’s new full company work, Tossed Around, is based on a fiercely kinetic and emotionally charged concept, set to an original music composition by South African composer and performer Sbongiseni “Bongi” Duma. Shirt Off My Back, Mercer’s first work created for GDC, debuted in GDC’s January 2015 Auditorium Theatre engagement. Mercer has also created work for Ailey II, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and Philadanco, among others. His choreography garnered the best onstage presentation award seven times at Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ annual Gypsy of the Year competition. Other honors include the Joffrey Ballet's Choreographers of Color Award and a Capezio Ace Awards finalist. Mercer is currently in his 15th year as a member of the Tony Award-winning cast of Disney’s The Lion King.
Clawson’s new work, If I Could…, is a sensual, athletic pas de deux. Clawson's past works created for GDC include Give and Take (2009) and audience favorite Sneaky Pete (2016). Additional choreography credits include commissioned works for the Joffrey Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Dance Kaleidoscope and The Houston Metropolitan Dance Company. Awards include the Dance Chicago 2005 Outstanding Choreography Award and the Cliff Dwellers Arts Organization's 2006 Choreographer of the Year Award. Clawson also received a Jeff Award nomination for his choreography for The Paramount Theater’s 2015 production of The Who's TOMMY.
In addition to the new works by Mercer and Clawson, the program for the Harris Theater engagement will include the honorific, Girodano Moves (2005 – reconstructed 2017), recently refreshed by the company’s acclaimed artistic director, Nan Giordano; Grusin Suite by Frank Chavez, debuted in 1993 for GDC’s Jazz Dance World Festival; Liz Imperio’s full-company work, La Belleza de Cuba (2013), which uses Latin, Afro-Cuban, jazz and contemporary choreography; and Autumn Eckman’s G-Force, a work for two quartets of dancers depicting the force of acceleration on a body in motion.
Giordano Dance Chicago will present their fall engagement at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Dr., Friday, October 27 and Saturday, October 28 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $15-$75. For tickets call 312.334.7777 or visit harristheaterchicago.org.
Giordano Dance Chicago's Ashley Downs (photo by Gorman Cook Photography).
Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts