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

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by Lawrence Bommer on October 25, 2014

in Theater-Chicago

LEAPING BIPEDS!

There’s one more chance—tonight—to see five intriguing dances on display at the Harris Theater, exciting work from the reliable 52-year-old Giordano Dance Chicago troupe. Kinetic and percussive both in sound and steps, these are go-for-broke showcases of stamina as much as grace under literal pressure.

GDC_2014_Rachel Berube_Seaon Rozanski_FeelinGoodSweet_GreyThe stand-out, as much for style as notability, is the world premiere of “Feelin’ Good Sweet” by marquee choreographer Ray Leeper of television fame. To a very eclectic set of popular numbers by Anthony Newley, Aretha Franklin, and Michael Brennan, this Broadway-busting suite of dances is slinky, sexy, brassy, and literally creepy. Dressed Fosse-style with black fedoras and scanty maroon-colored skirts, the work employs backlights and a sultry glow to suggest the sheer seductiveness of its name. Happily, Judy Garland’s trademark rouser “Get Happy” does just that for the appreciative audience.

Sweetness is less evident in the other three works. They are all about movement as a force field. Joe Lehrer’s 2008 “A Ritual Dynamic” uses flailing arms and semaphore gestures to channel a pulsating score by White Derbakeh and Egyptian disco. There is also a Spanish flavor to the perpetual motion unleashed by dancers in black leotards, negotiating rapid-fire entrances and exits. Here, exotic and erotic become virtual synonyms.

1. EXit4_Maeghan McHale_Sean Rozanski_Photo by Gorman CookReplacing “Alloy” because of an injury to Maeghan McHale, Lindsey Leduc’s “Gravity” is also a duet. Sean Rozanski and Rachael Berube engage in sweethearts’ frolics, gambols, and hijinks. In this piece, lifts mean (young) love. Their costumes flap with every fling as they defy the deliberately misleading title.

“EXit4” is an edgy and aggressive 2013 offering by Roni Koresh that at first emphasizes the sensual delights of hips and shoulders working beautifully together—so many shrugs and shimmies. It also features tantalizing neck-wrenching and assorted teasing writhing—all visceral reactions to a slam-bang score. Testosterone fought estrogen as the men act out an apparent ‘roid rage in Sean Rozanski in GDC's Jon Lehrer’s A Ritual Dynamic - Photo by Gorman Cook.combative contests, while the women, equally punch drunk, indulge in very literal mood swings.

Finally, another intentionally misnamed work: “Entropy.” Of course the second law of thermodynamics gets short shrift as the piece defies its title. Instead it unleashes a spirited invention by former Joffrey company member David Robertson, building a series of angular aerobics out of music by Astor Piazolla and the Dhol Foundation. This upbeat creation features rhythmic suppleness raised to pugilistic intensity, a kind of tango where the point is the repulsion more than the attraction. It’s a dance from the young that’s probably for them too—in the “I Can Do That” spirit that A Chorus Line immortalized.

photos by Gorman Cook

Giordano Dance Chicago Fall Engagement
Harris Theater for Music and Dance
205 E. Randolph Dr. in Millennium Park
scheduled to end on October 25, 2014
for tickets, call 312.334.7777 or visit www.harristheaterchicago.org
for more info, visit www.giordanodance.org

for more info on Chicago Theater, visit www.TheatreinChicago.com

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