Giordano Dance Chicago began in 1963 as Dance Incorporated Chicago and became the Giordano Dance Company in 1966 when many of its live performances were broadcast by Chicago’s Public Television Station, WTTW. In 1968 the company performed American jazz dance for the touring Bolshoi Ballet who were so impressed that an invitation was extended, and the company eventually toured the Soviet Union in 1974, the first jazz dance company to do so.
Original Company members on tour in Washington, DC.
For 50 years, GDC has brought the excitement of American jazz dancing to audiences throughout the United States and in countries around the world — including Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Russia, the Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, and Japan. GDC serves as host performing company at Jazz Dance W orld Congress, a biannual event which has been held at many national and international sites, including the Kennedy Center in W ashington, D.C., at the University at Buffalo, Chukio University in Japan, Germany, Mexico, Costa Rica, Phoenix, the City of Chicago, and in 2012 at Point Park University.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the company “demonstrated that it now belongs in the front ranks of this city’s resident companies.” In 2004, the company received a Chicago Dance Award for its production and performance of Ron De Jesus’ Prey, “representing the vital new directions taken by the company.” In 2012, Dance Magazine raved that the company is a “burst of pure dance joy that left the audience breathless and ready for more.”
In addition to its work on the stage, Giordano Dance Chicago enriches lives through outreach programs and activities which meet the needs of diverse and underserved communities. Over 300 classes are taught each year in the company’s signature program, Jazz Dance/ Science & Health which just completed its sixth year in three underserved elementary schools in Chicago. This valuable program teaches state-mandated learning targets for nutrition, health and science through dance-centric classroom activities. Participating students from this program and from many other social service and community organizations are given complimentary tickets to view GDC in performance, thereby making the bridge from classroom to stage. Innovation and success in creating school performances, residencies, choreographic projects, and workshops are a hallmark of Giordano Dance Chicago’s extraordinary legacy.
Nan Giordano began as Associate Director in the 80’s and since 1993, has served as Artistic Director and guided the development of a large and diverse repertoire. Executive Director Michael McStraw is responsible for the ongoing development and strategic growth of the organization, securing the resources needed to support the mission and programs of Giordano Dance Chicago.
After 50 years in Evanston, Giordano Dance Chicago has moved its rehearsal/ teaching space and administrative office into the heart of downtown Chicago!
On September 1, 2012, GDC joined several other Chicago-based dance companies as part of the exciting American Rhythm Center, located at 410 South Michigan Avenue in the historic Fine Arts Building and situated proudly in the city’s dance corridor, And located just a few short blocks south of the Fine Arts Building, the company's administrative office is now in the beautiful South Loop.