The Jazz Dance World Congress

By Molzahn, Laura | Dance Magazine, August 2002 | Go to article overview
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The Jazz Dance World Congress


Molzahn, Laura, Dance Magazine


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.

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