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Giordano Dance Chicago (GDC) In 59 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 GDC’s origins in Gus Giordano’s family-run studio to their current incarnation as a professional organization with over a half-century of worldwide performances (27 countries, 46 states, and more than 1,200 cities), their imprint on the art form of jazz dance is far-reaching and significant. GDC contributions include: a vast repertoire of more than 170 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 under-resourced 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, GDC makes passionate and visceral offerings which connect deeply with audiences.
GDC’s 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 2006, teaches elementary-school anatomy and nutrition curriculum through a dance-centric program in the science classroom over the course of eight weeks. In 2018 the program brought 300 classes to 450 students in four under-resourced schools.
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 a dance school, studios, office space, informal performance space and a rented retail operation.
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