GJDC in “Alegria.” Photo by Gorman Cook Photography
A winter chill might have crept its way into Chicago this week, but you wouldn’t know it from the heat generated by Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago at Harris Theater last night. The company presented a jam-packed program of seven works, including two world premieres—“Alloy” and “Alegria” and favorites from the repertoire.
Autumn Eckman’s “Alloy,” the first premiere of the program, featured Devin Buchanan and Ashley Lauren Smith, two fine-tuned athletes who make the duet’s succession of lifts look like a day at the playground. Set to music by Mendelssohn and Beethoven, the piece showcases beautiful connections between Buchanan and Smith, and powerful body lines.
The company looked excellent in the ensemble pieces throughout the evening (GJDC does synchronization like no other company in the city), but they were red hot in the evening’s finale, “Alegria.” The piece, set to the spirited music of Rodrigo y Gabriela, showcases the company dressed in colors that evoke flames—they remind one of the painted desert. Choreographer Kiesha Lalama includes a series of rapid lifts, in which the female is only down for a second before being lifted back up again—the body shapes are lovely, and the dancers make the sequence look easy. The full company brought so much energy, and it was the perfect way to cap off the show.
In addition to these new works, GDJC opened with Davis Robertson’s “BeingOne” (2005), a work will a distinctive selection of music, with challenging sustained lifts. They presented Jon Lehrer’s “Like 100 Men” (2002), an exciting number of five sexy men performing crisp, clean spins, jumps with excellent form, and moments of amazing upper body strength. GDJC’s men made the stage sizzle.
The evening also included Del Dominguez and Laura Flores’ “Sabroso” (2011)—a jazzy, Latiny, fun piece of partner work; Autumm Eckman’s “Yes, And…” (2010), which does a lot with the sound of a water droplet; and an old favorite, Gus Giordano’s “Sing, Sing, Sing” (1983).
If you missed the show last night, you’ve got one more chance to catch it tonight, 8 PM, at Harris Theater. Purchase tickets via GDJC’s website or by calling 312-334-7777.