Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts
Giordano Dance Chicago staff and dancers with gala Honorary Chairs and Honorees Matt and Liz Connelly (front line/far left). at GDC's 2019 Legacy Ball. Photo by Anderson Photography
Giordano Dance Legacy Ball Raises Over $130K for Programming and Outreach Initiatives
Giordano Dance Chicago (GDC) hosted its second annual Giordano Legacy Ball gala at the Ravenswood Event Center (4021 N. Ravenswood) on Saturday, March 9 from 7-11 p.m. In celebration of GDC’s 56th “Live in the Momentum” year, the evening provided guests the chance to eat, drink and “dance, dance, dance the night away” surrounded by vintage cars and neon signs to vibes spun by DJ Matthew Harvat of E Melone Events. Chicago’s Elizabeth (Liz) Connelly, Chief Human Resources Officer and Senior Vice President, Coworker Services for CDW, and her husband, Matt Connelly, President at The Shamrock Group, were Honorary Chairs and Honorees for this event, which attracted more than 300 attendees and raised more than $130,000 for GDC and its outreach programs.
The evening began at 7 p.m. with a reception featuring passed hors d’oeuvres, food stations and cocktails. GDC dancers opened the program portion of the evening with “Momentum” a movement collage of choreography from GDC’s popular repertory, created especially for the evening before GDC Artistic Director Nan Giordano and Executive Director Michael McStraw officially welcomed guests, sponsors and the evening’s honorees. Following a sizzling performance of an except from Liz Imperio’s La Belleza de Cuba by the GDC company dancers, GDC Artistic Programs Manager Cesar Salinas and the GDC dancers led the guests through a few enticing salsa steps. Then 2018 “Dancing With The Giordano Stars” winners Ben Hess and Tina Monaghan and their GDC partners performed a production number with the GDC dancers displaying some of the moves that garnered them “Best Male Dancer” and “Best Female Dancer” respectively in the Fall 2018 competition benefit.
The highlight of the evening was the announcement that company’s newest work, Flickers, choreographed by Marinda Davis, was being dedicated to the evening’s honorees Liz and Matt Connelly. “These are two people who have been steadfast in the life of Giordano Dance Chicago and their Chicago community,” said Nan Giordano. “When you mention their names to anyone what comes back are the words ‘grounded, kind, generous, unassuming…just all-around good people’. They are stars in our life and many other organizations in Chicago including the Harris Theater at Millennium Park and Children’s Home & Aid, among others. We wanted to present them with something special only they can have, so we are happy to announce that Flickers, a work debuting at our upcoming March Harris Theater engagement that will that will live forever in our repertoire, is being dedicated to them,” said GDC Artistic Director Giordano.
For their final performance of the evening, GDC dancers performed the “Proud Mary” finale from Ray Leeper’s SOUL. A live auction conducted by auctioneer Nick Combs, as assisted by the GDC dancers, followed. One of the hottest items for the auction was the opportunity to star in a production number with the dancers at GDC’s 2019 “Dancing With The Giordano Stars” competition benefit, Thursday, Oct. 3. Board member Chris D’hondt garnered the prize for $7,000. Open dancing for all wrapped up the evening.
GDC’s Legacy Ball Gala Benefit was made possible through the support of Anna Held Floral Studio; Best Value Vacs. William Blair; Captain Morgan; CDW; Harry F. Chaddick and Elaine Chaddick Foundation; Liz and Matt Connelly; Cooper’s Hawk Winery and a host of other area supporters, both corporate and private.
The company has announced the date of the 2020 Legacy Ball Gala. It will take place Leap Day, Saturday, Feb. 29 at the Ravenswood Event Center. Additional information will be available at a later date at giordanodance.org.
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