Chicago Dance Review: GIORDANO DANCE CHICAGO (Fall Program at the Harris Theater)

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by Lawrence Bommer on October 26, 2013

in Theater-Chicago


Ending tonight at the Harris Theatre, the latest balletic blast from the newly renamed Giordano Dance Chicago delivers six hyper-kinetic pieces. This generous outpouring fully showcase the young ensemble’s dexterity, volatitility and, well, flash-dancing. Including world premieres by an Israeli-born and Philadelphia-based choreographer and an in-house artist, the recital offers a fusion of international style and local solidity not worth missing.

The first new work, created by Giordano’s own Autumn Eckman, is Moving Sidewalks, which begins with a storm and ends with a struggle as the ensemble, clad in Army brown fatigues, show no fatigue whatsoever, engaging in artfully unbalanced combinations. Here it’s all about the energy, less so about the design, and not at all about the destination. Eight dancers are inspired by stories of working-La Belleza de Cuba, GIORDANO DANCE CHICAGO. Photo by HMS Mediaclass life in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, where the sidewalks had to be moved upwards to avoid floods in the 19th century. Very moving indeed.

The other world premiere, by Roni Koresh of the Koresh Dance Company, is EXit4, a fierce-to-ferocious, pile-driving set of four dances (accurately named “Face to Face,” “Crash,” “Wall” and “Wet Stones Full of Light.” It opens with cocky abandon, as the unsmiling company, clad in white shirts and minimal covering, engage in competitive mating rituals that verge from the simian to the tribal. It’s hostile, in your face and sexy–inevitably since this is showing off just what makes them dancers: youth, strength and recklessly impulsive controlled behavior.

Another explosion of barely processed energy, Kiesha Lalama’s 2011 Alegria lives up to its name as it moves from ballet to contemporary with stops along the way for sheer jazz. Filled with semaphore gestures, swivel-like twists and turns, and synchronized breakout dances, it’s a “premium rush” in a holy hurry, performed to GIORDANO DANCE CHICAGO Alegria. Photo by Gorman Cookthe already pulsating sounds of Rodrigo y Gabriela. The quest for pleasure never felt so contagious.

Equally fast and thick and dauntingly athletic, Eckman’s 2009 work commonthread is a frenetic mix of swirling and primal movement and hit-and-run entrances and exits that alternately coalesce and collapse, another “rush job” in the best sense to music by Chicago’s Dan Myers and John Ovnik. You can say the same about Brock Clawson’s 2009 Give and Take, well named for its dervish-like depiction of florid courtship encounters, their “in and out” comings and goings as predictive as the sex that surely must follow. (But that’s a very different dance…)

GIORDANO DANCE CHICAGO La Belleza De Cuba (Devin Buchanan). Photo by HMS MediaIn complete contrast from the anarchic exuberance that precedes it, the concluding fiesta, La Belleza de Cuba (“The Beauty of Cuba”), is a Latin romp by Liz Imperio that feeds off the exhilarating music of Los Van Van, La India and Ozomatli. Celebrating CDC’s 50-year dance legacy and the infectious rhythms of an island to our south, it was a sexy night on the town. You only wish you could watch celebrants create a Habana heaven like this in the nightclubs of the North Side. Suddenly, gringos, blancos and Anglos seemed even paler and more passive than ever. There could be no act to follow this finale.

photos by HMS Media and Gorman Cook

Giordano Dance Chicago
EXit 4 / Roni Koresh (Debut)
Moving Sidewalks / Autumn Eckman
Give and Take / Brock Clawson
La Belleza de Cuba / Liz Imperio
Alegría / Kiesha Lalama
commonthread / Autumn Eckman

Harris Theater for Music and Dance
Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph Dr.
scheduled to end on October 26, 2013
for tickets, call 312-334-7777 or visit

for info on this and other Chicago Theater, visit

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