Giordano jazz dancers’ cool moves in Rockford.

–Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago came to town Friday evening sponsored by Rockford Coronado Concert Association.
–The dance concert that performed to a nearly full Coronado house came on the heels of a Thursday performance for some 2000 youngsters of District 205 and other guests. It was two days of dance energy to entertain and educate the Rockford area about the state of American Jazz Dance, past, present and future.
–Friday evening’s concert was everything quintessential about the vision of late founder Gus Giordano. His aura of moves and precision technique of choreography remain intact. The company of ten dancers took rhythms, strength and energy to defy gravity and head for the floor depths with classic Giordano movement. Sometimes soloists and sometimes ensemble dancers included Lindsey Leduc Brenner, Zachary Heller, Craig Kaufman, Lindsey LaFountain, Maeghan McHale, Robert Mckee, Cesar B. Salinas, Meredith Schultz, Ashley Lauren Smith and Martin Ortiz Tapia.
–Any dance company, ballet, modern or jazz, must find a niche of style to sustain an audience and grow. GGJD, however, took root nearly 50 years ago and never looked back, thanks to a Pied Piper Giordano and his earthy, into the floor dynamics. Daughter Nan at the helm as artistic director has since inherited that specialty of jazz innovation.
–Giordano himself would have been most proud of Friday evening’s performance. The company carried on his charismatic determination about jazz dance that began in the ‘50s with New York City Broadway big names Matt Maddox and Peter Gennaro in the early days of “West Side Story.” Giordano brought those cool moves to Chicago to teach, choreograph, educate and author “Jazz Dance Anthology.” By the ‘80s, he had taken those cool moves all over the world to delight the growing jazz dance audience.
–Though the first act was somewhat unremarkable in repertoire, the second act delivered highlight of the program, and perhaps a signature of GGJD style, frenetic piece, “Pyrokinesis,” choreographed by Christopher Huggins and danced by the company. It was a good musical match with composer George Winston to express the nth degree of energy with turns, turns and more turns, tricks and all steps in a fast-paced fury of dance passion.
–It was followed by a wonderful contrast, “The Man That Got Away,” choreographed by Sherry Zunker with vocal by Judy Garland – a past favorite of Giordano himself. Dancer McHale was sensually forlorn, yearning and emotional in and around a staid, unmoving man, though her dress might have been a better contrast in red.
–Last piece, “Can’t Take This Away,” was most moving as a spiritual mood with effective lyricism and cleverness. The patterns and passions in the piece were at the peak of appreciation to remind the audience that GGJD always delivers an uplifting brand of jazz dance.