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Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago

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Men showing off: some things don't change. Gus Giordano's 1966 Gang Hep, reconstructed for this concert by current artistic director Nan Giordano (his daughter), pays tribute to Jerome Robbins's 1957 choreography for West Side Story. So we see challenges--playing crack the whip, slapping the floor--as well as handstands and airborne cartwheels. Yet the girls in this dance for ten are unimpressed--one in particular, whose pique at her boyfriend escalates into all-out war. A minute later they're back together, but we don't see their reconciliation: where MTV might show us the couple in bed naked, making up, this is a throwback to an earlier, more discreet time. Still, the violence and passion are there. Company member Jon Lehrer's new Like One Hundred Men begins with five guys walking in a circle but breaking out of it one by one to demonstrate something quirky and/or powerful to the others. Lehrer says his title comes from one of his favorite writers, John Irving, who's fond of saying "like 100 men I know..." For the first time, Lehrer adds, he's trying his hand at an abstract dance based on movement, not a story. The results are rewarding, especially against the backdrop of Johnny Frigo's powerful 1970s jazz recordings: these men are cocky, appealing, a little awkward, and buoyant without being stupid. Also on the program are Davis Robertson's Entropy and Randy Duncan's Sister Girl, both premiered last fall, plus Sam Watson's goofy Hi Jinks and Nan Giordano's beautiful, lyrical Taal, a piece with an Eastern theme premiered in 2001. Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, 312-902-1500. Through March 9: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM; Sunday, 3 PM. $20-$30. Note: There's a reception after the Saturday performance; $50. Call 847-866-6779. And in honor of the Giordano Dance Center's 50th anniversary, there's a reunion party from 1 to 5 Sunday at the center, 614 Davis, Evanston, 847-866-9442. Free.

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

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