Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago

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None of the three premieres on this venerable company's upcoming program is what you'd call dark, but they do run the gamut from dramatic to abstract. Company member Jon Lehrer's Bridge and Tunnel, which has a musical theater feel, comes across as a kind of West Side Story Lite. Set to several songs by Paul Simon and based on Lehrer's memories of his high school years in Queens (where Simon also grew up), it features boys and girls cavorting, bickering, and occasionally supporting one another. Tony Powell--based in Washington, D.C., he usually choreographs for ballet companies, including the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago--has made an elegant new piece for the Giordano troupe, Rapture, that has no narrative content but rapturously exploits the joy of movement. Set to sometimes glassy, sometimes percolating music by Steve Reich, the piece is devoted to the classical nuances of line and rhythm even in phrases that look jazzy, like a little run in place with pumping arms and ticktock head. The third new piece, artistic director Nan Giordano's Taal ("Rhythm"), lies somewhere between the other two, referring to the look of Indian dance without duplicating its exact moves. Moody and lyrical, it uses columns of gauzy fabric and inventive lighting to produce strong dramatic effects in the service of a piece about beauty and the relations between men and women. Also on the program is Mia Michaels's Le Grand Futur Is Here! and the revival of company founder Gus Giordano's 1980 duet The Rehearsal, set to music by Cat Stevens; a video production of the piece for PBS won an Emmy the same year. Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, 312-902-1500 or 773-935-6860. Through October 28: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM; Sunday, 3 PM. $16-$20.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Mike Canale.

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