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The Jazz Dance World Congress.

Jazz dance is ever changing," says Nan Giordano, Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago's artistic director. "There are always new types of movement and new vocabulary." At the same time, "you have your standards." One of the reasons Gus Giordano, her father, initiated the Jazz Dance World Congress in 1990 was "to show the wide spectrum of jazz [dance]," she says. [] The first congress was a joint venture between Gus Giordano and the dance department at Northwestern University. Subsequent conferences, in 1992 and 1994, were also held on the Northwestern campus in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb just north of Chicago. Since then, the event has been held outside the U.S. in alternating years. The congress traveled to Nagoya, Japan, in 1995; to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in 1996; to Wiesbaden, Germany, in 1997; and to Phoenix, Arizona, in 1998. In 1999 (Canada's year but held just south of that border) and 2000, jazz dancers convened at the University of Buffalo in New York, and in 2001 in Monterrey, Mexico. This year the congress is being sponsored in part by the city of Chicago, co-presented by Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs, and will be held at the Congress Plaza Hotel in downtown Chicago July 31-August 4.

A full roster is planned for the jazz enthusiast. Master classes will be taught by Gus and Nan Giordano, Randy Duncan, and Kirby Reed (Chicago); Liz Imperio and Mark Swanhart (Los Angeles); Masashi Mishiro (Japan); Frank Hatchett, Joe Lanteri, and Judith Scott (New York); and Judi Sheppard Missett of Jazzercise fame. There will also be classes in choreography (Randy Duncan), Jump Rhythm Jazz (Billy Siegenfeld), and musical theater (Sherry Zunker), as well as a program called Kids Jazz Dance for dancers 10 to 12. Children's classes will be led by Homer Bryant (Chicago), who will teach a technique that blends ballet and rap, and Michael Williams and Susan Quinn, professors from the University of Arizona, who will teach jazz. As in previous years, Patsy Swayze will hold lunchtime panel discussions where industry professionals will offer advice on breaking into everything from concert jazz to videos. And as part of the congress, Leo's Dancewear will again offer cash prizes to winners of the annual choreographic competition, which this year features twenty-six finalists from places as far away as Germany and Russia and, in the United States, from California to New York.

Four evening concerts (included in registration for the congress but open to the public as well) feature performances at the Merle Reskin Theatre, also in downtown Chicago. Among the out-of-town guests are Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, Ballets Jazz Rick Odums (France), Masashi Action Machine (Japan), Philadanco, Houston Metropolitan Dance Company, Instincts Live Media Dance Company, Mia Michaels R.A.W., and Odyssey Dance Utah. Chicago performers include Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, ballroom dancers Gregory Day and Tommye Giacchino, Hubbard Street 2 (the second company of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago), the Joel Hall Dancers, the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Billy Siegenfeld's Jump Rhythm Jazz Project, Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago (which specializes in African dance), and River North Chicago Dance Company.

A Giordano Jazz Dance Workshop precedes the congress, July 28-30. Ten classes in the Giordano technique will be taught by Nan and Gus Giordano, Associate Director Jon Lehrer, and company members. But watch out: Nan Giordano says of her dad's teaching, "He has the ability to make you give your all, and all, and all, and then some." When she used to take his three-hour classes, she says, "We thought we were going to die."

For information on the congress call 847/866-9442, email, or visit the Web site at
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Author:Molzahn, Laura
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2002
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