Jazz dance today covers a lot of ground. Diehards can still expect sky-high kicks and superhuman layouts from the festival Gus Giordano started in 1990—but this year's edition also includes tap as well as works of unjazzy introspection and hip-hop-inflected social commentary. Here's a list of some highlights. For full lineups, go to jazzdanceworldcongress.org. The festival opens with the premiere screening of a documentary about Giordano, Gus: An American Icon, Wed 7/22, 6 PM, only open to opening-night ticket holders. The festival's jazz dance choreography competition finals run Thu-Sat 6:15 PM, only for ticket holders.—Laura Molzahn
Through 7/25: Wed-Sat 8 PM, Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph, 312-334-7777, $45-$60.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 22
Philadelphia's Koresh Dance Company performs an excerpt from Ronen Koresh's Theater of Public Secrets, a moody look at domestic life, and Mexico's Cuerpo Etéreo Danza Contemporánea presents Brisa Escobedo's eerie duet Llora . . . para que se te Lave el Alma ("Cry . . . So Your Soul Gets Cleaned"). Japan's acrobatic Masashi Action Machine performs Kumo, the first of their two world premieres at the festival (the second is Thursday). Two companies make their festival debuts: DanceWorks Chicago, in an excerpt from Harrison McEldowney's witty Blues for Ann, and Korea's POZ Dance Theatre.
THURSDAY, JULY 23
The two fest newbies on this program are Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater and LehrerDance—led by the Buffalo-based former Giordano dancer Jon Lehrer—which performs Lehrer's funny and, um, explosive Loose Canon.
FRIDAY, JULY 24
Giordano Jazz Dance Company appears on every program, tonight offering Christopher Huggins's wicked fast Pyrokinesis. River North Chicago Dance Company shows off Frank Chaves's daredevil Take a Seat.
SATURDAY, JULY 25
Chicago's Mature Dance Project—a troupe of "post-professional dancers"—makes its debut with the world premiere of Sherry Zunker's piece for 21, A Little Rhythm & Romance. And Rennie Harris's hip-hop Philadelphia Experiment, performed by Philadanco, ends the fest on a note of celebration.