Chicago Dance Review: GIORDANO DANCE CHICAGO (Auditorium Theatre)

Post image for Chicago Dance Review: GIORDANO DANCE CHICAGO (Auditorium Theatre)

by Lawrence Bommer on February 1, 2015

in Theater-Chicago


It was worth the wait. It’s been way overdue for Giordano Dance Chicago to finally play the Auditorium Theatre, part of the treasure house’s ongoing 125th anniversary season. Yesterday that one-night stand finally happened—and the aggressive 90 minutes of forensic dancework is well worth a report of record.

EXit4_Maeghan McHale_Sean Rozanski_Photo by Gorman Cook

Very similar offerings involving endurance tests of explosive anger in controlled flights, the first two works—“Exit 4” by Roni Korsh and the world premiere of Ray Mercer’s “Shirt Off My Back”—employed the entire ensemble and all of their bodies. In the former, performed to a vaguely Middle Eastern score, there’s slinky swaying, hip swiveling, pugilistic breakouts, body slapping, robotic stretches, and very angular movement—no smooth or flowing gestures here. In the latter, performed to a pulsating back beat, Mercer unleashes assorted “chase scenes,” jerky aerobics erupting in sudden swivels; but here the dancers are smiling for motivations unknown. Fluid but not flowing, this work intends to depict the “sacrifices people make as they enter into a relationship.” Well, love certainly makes them run around a lot.

GDC_Moving Sidewalks_Dancers Ashley Downs_Martin Ortiz Tapia_Zachary Heller_Photo by Gorman Cook_V1_HiRes_2014

An updated version of her 2013 “Moving Sidewalks,” Autumn Eckman’s work couldn’t be more different. Much like the anarchic comings and goings of a Bosch triptych, this revels in its lack of crowd control, beginning with a storm and continuing with its own human tempest, a free-form human jungle. The 16 dancers create pop-up mini-crowds as they depict the creative chaos of the Pilsen neighborhood with its sidewalks that were elevated in the 19th century to prevent flooding.

Alloy_Devin Buchanan and Ashley Lauren Smith_Photo by Gorman Cook PhotographyEckman’s 2011 “Alloy” is a very different creature, a duet to Mendelssohn and Beethoven languorously partnered by Devin Buchanan and Maeghan McHale. Their sinuous fantasy suggested a couple constantly completing themselves but never the same way twice. Their attractiveness speaks for itself: These bodies were meant for the fun of friction.

Finally, bringing back the entire inexhaustible ensemble, “Feelin’ Good Sweet” by choreographer Ray Leeper (a very descriptive name) used footlights and backlights to create a sassy “Rat Pack” ambiance of Fosse-like slinkiness, Broadway pizzazz, and jazzy magnetism. The title gets earned, over and over, by a supple and very game gang of hot-footed hoofers.

Feelin Good Sweet_Photo by Gorman Cook

photos by Gorman Cook

Giordano Dance Chicago
part of the Auditorium Theatre’s “Made in Chicago” Dance Series
Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University
played on Saturday, January 31, 2015
for more info on GDC, call 312.922.1332 or visit

for info on Chicago Theater, visit

Comments on this entry are closed.