Giordano

Illuminate

March 19, 2022

Dorothy Menker Theater

Moraine Valley Community College acknowledges support from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

Illinois Arts Council Agency

Gus Giordano Founder
Nan Giordano Artistic Director
Michael McStraw Executive Director

The Ensemble

Brittany Brown
Ryan Galloway
Adam Houston*
Skyler Newcom
Fernando Rodriguez

Jaylen Clay
Rosario Guillen
Sasha Lazarus
Onjélee Phomthirath
Erina Ueda

Ashley Downs
Amanda Hickey
Zachary Morris
Katie Rafferty
Eduardo Zambrana

*Not Performing

Staff

Founder
Artistic Director
Executive Director
Development Director
Administrative Manager
Operations Manager, Director Giordano II
Artistic Programs Manager
Marketing & Design Consultant
Financial Services & IT Provider
Technical Director
Rehearsal Captains
Costume Managers
Photography
Videography
Booking Agent
Official Provider of Physical & Occupational Therapy
Official Rehearsal Space
Public Relations and Marketing Agency

Gus Giordano
Nan Giordano
Michael McStraw
Naomi Sheridan
Cicilia Robison
Joshua Blake Carter
Cesar G. Salinas
Beth Wojdyla
Chicago Transom Partners
Jacob Snodgrass
Adam Houston, Katie Rafferty
Adam Houston, Katie Rafferty
Gorman Cook Photography & Todd Rosenberg Photography
HMS Media
Cathy Pruzan, Pruzan Dance Arts
Athletico
Ruth Page Center for the Arts
Carol Fox & Associates

GIORDANO DANCE CHICAGO
1754 North Clark Street | Chicago, IL  60614
P: 312-922-1332 | F: 312-922-1335
info@giordanodance.org | giordanodance.org

FOR BOOKING INFORMATION
Cathy Pruzan, Booking Agent
cpruzan@aol.com
FOR INTEREST IN OUR INTERNSHIP PROGRAM
Cicilia Robison, Administrative Manager ciciliarobison@giordanodance.org

PROGRAM

Retroverse (Special Preview Performance)
Choreography: Autumn Eckman
Music Composition: Dan Myers (Commissioned Score)
Mixing and Editing: Scott Steiner
Performance: Dan Myers (instruments and vocals); Kaia String Quartet (Victoria Moreira, Naomi Culp, Amanda Grimm, and Hope DeCelle); Joseph Ayoub (bass)
Costume Design: Nathan Rohrer
Lighting Design: Jacob Snodgrass
Dancers: Ashley Downs , Ryan Galloway , Rosario Guillen, Amanda Hickey, Eduardo Zambrana, Skyler Newcom, Onjélee Phomthirath, Katie Rafferty, Fernando Rodriguez, Erina Ueda

Retroverse was created in honor of Pamela Crutchfield for her outstanding support of Giordano Dance Chicago and the entire Chicago dance community.

Retroverse was made possible, in part, by the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation.

What if we could pause time to reexamine our past and remind ourselves of the essential power of human-to-human interaction?

The Man That Got Away (1990)
Choreography: Sherry Zunker
Music: Harold Arlen and Ira Gershwin, vocals by Judy Garland
Costume Design: Jordan Ross
Lighting Design: Kam Hobbs
Dancer: Ashley Downs
Man: Michael McStraw

Sherry Zunker gifted The Man That Got Away to Giordano Dance Chicago in honor of Gus Giordano

3 (Special Preview Performance)
Choreography: Joshua Blake Carter
Music: Laura Mvula
Costume Design: Nina G.
Lighting Design: Jacob Snodgrass
Dancers: Skyler Newcom, Katie Rafferty, and Fernando Rodriguez

A Ritual Dynamic (2008)
Choreography: Jon Lehrer
Music: White Derbakeh & DJ Disse
Costume Design: Laura Wade
Lighting Design: Kam Hobbs
Dancers: The Ensemble

INTERMISSION

EXit4 (2013)
Choreography: Ronen Koresh
Choreography Assistant: Joe Cotler
Music: DJ Nadar, Greg Smith, Jonathan Lee Bowels, and Le Trio Joubran
Costume Design: Branimira Ivanova
Lighting Design: Kevin Dreyer
Dancers: Ashley Downs, Ryan Galloway, Amanda Hickey, Sasha Lazarus, Skyler Newcom, Katie Rafferty, Fernando Rodriguez, Erina Ueda, Eduardo Zambrana

EXit4 was made possible, in part, by contributors to the inaugural Giordano Choreography Fund.

Feelin’ Good Sweet (2014)
Choreography: Ray Leeper
Choreography Assistant: Ben Susak
Music: Anthony Newley/Leslie Berceuse, Ted White/Aretha Franklin, and Michael Brennan (original arrangement of “Get Happy” and incidental music)
Performance: Michael Bublé, Aretha Franklin, and Maren Wade
Costume Design: Emily Nelson
Lighting Design: Kevin Dreyer
Dancers: Ashley Downs , Ryan Galloway , Rosario Guillen, Amanda Hickey, Skyler Newcom, Onjélee Phomthirath, Katie Rafferty, Fernando Rodriguez, Erina Ueda, Eduardo Zambrana

Feelin’ Good Sweet was made possible, in part, by contributors to the Giordano Choreography Fund and the Kevin Flynn Memorial.

Bios

Giordano Dance Chicago (GDC) In 59 years as an artistic leader and innovator, Giordano Dance Chicago - America’s original jazz dance company - has contributed greatly to the health of Chicago’s performing arts community. From our origins in Gus Giordano’s family-run studio to our current incarnation as a professionally-run organization with over a half-century of worldwide performances (28 countries, 47 states, and more than 1,300 cities), our imprint on the art form of jazz dance is far-reaching and significant. Our contributions include: a vast repertoire of more than 175 original works; the mentoring of new and emerging choreographers; the commissioning of innumerable musical scores and production designers; the education of tens of thousands of under-resourced public school and community students; the creation of generations of professional dancers, and performances to millions of audience members worldwide.

Several major factors combine to be the engine behind all programs and which reflect the organization’s mission and vision. First, the legacy of founder Gus Giordano suffuses the organization, its mission and its daily activities and cannot be over-emphasized. Second, the leadership of Artistic Director Nan Giordano and Executive Director Michael McStraw has challenged and transformed the organization to continuously raise its standards, take artistic risks, and expand its influence worldwide. Third, GDC recruits, hires, and fosters dance artists who possess more than just superlative technique and experience, but who also convey passion, humanity, and elegance. Lastly, ours is always a passionate and visceral offering which connects deeply with our audience.

Our mission provides for strong educational programs and services, including teaching the Giordano Technique in residencies in college and university dance programs, as well as the Nan Giordano Certification Program® which offers multi-level instruction and certification in the proprietary Giordano Technique. GDC’s Jazz Dance/Science & Health program, established in 2006, teaches elementary-school anatomy and nutrition curriculum through a dance-centric program in the science classroom over the course of 8 weeks. In 2019 the program brought 300 classes to 450 students in four under-resourced schools.

GDC purchased the Hermon Baptist Church in Lincoln Park in January 2018 to serve as its new headquarters. The current structure will be modified/rebuilt to eventually house a dance school, studios, office space and informal performance space.

Giordano II (GII) is dedicated to the nurturing and elevation of young professional dancers under the artistic leadership of Nan Giordano and directed by Joshua Blake Carter. The dancers of GII are provided the unique opportunity to be mentored by Giordano Dance Chicago dancers with the goal of advancement to the main company. Through the company’s Giordano on Giordano program, GII premieres new works each season created by GDC’s artistic team and main company dancers. GII performs at venues throughout the Midwest, preparing dancers with on-stage experience necessary for a career in concert dance and allowing them to broaden their technical and artistic range.

LEADERSHIP

Gus Giordano

Gus Giordano
Founder
(1923–2008)
Gus Giordano’s dedication to jazz dance exhibited itself in all facets of his extraordinary life: dancer, master teacher, choreographer, author, and founder of the Giordano Dance School (GDS) in Evanston, Illinois, founder of the dance company Giordano Dance Chicago and founder of Jazz Dance World Congress. Mr. Giordano created and taught the Giordano Technique at venues across the United States and around the world. He choreographed in all areas of performance including television, film, stage, commercials, industrials, and concert dance. In 1976 Giordano wrote the highly acclaimed Anthology of American Jazz Dance. In August 1990, Giordano organized the first Jazz Dance World Congress, which gathered renowned jazz dance master teachers and companies. The Congress has been held at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Northwestern University, the University at Buffalo, Point Park University, as well as in Phoenix, Chicago, Japan, Germany, Mexico, and Costa Rica. Gus Giordano received many awards including the 1984 Dance Educators of America Award for his outstanding contribution to the world of jazz dance, the 1988 Mayor’s Award for the Arts, the 1989 Governor’s Award for the Arts for exemplary individual artistic achievement, the 1991 Dance Teacher Now Circle Award, the 1993 Ruth Page Lifetime Service to the Field Award, and the 1996 University of Missouri Distinguished Alumni Award and William Francis English Scholar-in-Residence Award. In 1985, Governor James Thompson declared April 25 Gus Giordano Day. In 1995 he received the Honorable Artist Award from Chukyo University in Nagoya, Japan. In 1997 Gus served as National Spokesperson for National Dance Week. In 1999, he received the Third Annual Katherine Dunham Award for excellence and great contributions to the Arts, and in 2003, Chicago’s Mayor Daley presented Gus with the Chicago Senior of the Year Award. In 2005 the National Dance Association presented Mr. Giordano with its Heritage Award, and the same year he received an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Degree from Shenandoah University.

Nan Giordano

Nan Giordano
Artistic Director
At the helm for 37 years, Nan’s leadership of Giordano Dance Chicago began in 1985 as Associate Director, and in 1993 was appointed the title of Artistic Director. Nan was trained by her father and mentor, Gus Giordano, who created the world-renowned Giordano Technique. Developer of the Nan Giordano Certification Program®, Nan is the world’s preeminent authority on the essence, discipline, progression and continuance of the Giordano Technique; the vision of NGCP® is to provide worldwide, ongoing, and in-depth access to this ground-breaking dance form. She had an extensive performing career in concert dance, as well as in the industrial and fashion worlds. Before taking the reins on the artistic side, her concert dance experience began with Giordano Dance Theatre, apprenticing and then joining GDC. With her father leading the company, she traveled and performed extensively around the world; she also had the opportunity to perform in numerous WTTW dance television specials choreographed by her father including the Emmy Award winning The Rehearsal. When an injury ended her performing career in 1985, Nan became Associate Director of the company and was instrumental in establishing a working Board of Directors, which has evolved into today’s three separate boards. In the last 37 years, under Nan’s direction, GDC has established a high-profile reputation for excellence in the Chicago dance community, as well as in the national and international dance worlds.

 

Nan has guided the development of a large and diverse repertoire. Nan’s concert choreography credits include five works in GDC’s repertoire. On the commercial side Nan has choreographed several television commercials. Nan teaches master classes throughout the United States and has toured internationally as guest teacher in many countries including Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, France, Germany, Guatemala, Mexico, and Israel. She is also the driving force behind Jazz Dance/Science & Health, GDC’s outreach program in three under-resourced Chicago Public Schools. Nan received the Manford Byrd Jr. Wizard of Oz Award for Outstanding Service from Howland School of the Arts. Nan is Artistic Director of Jazz Dance World Congress (JDWC), an event that draws dancers, choreographers, and teachers from more than 30 countries. Nan served three years on the Illinois Arts Council Dance Panel as well as on the Community Arts Assistance Program Dance Panel for the City of Chicago, Department of Cultural Affairs. She currently serves on the International Ballet Competition, National Honorary Committee, and the Advisory Board for Dance Magazine. She was recognized as a cover story in Dance Teacher Magazine’s January 2018 issue. Nan was also honored by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who declared June 9, 2018, Nan Giordano Day for her leadership and contributions to the Chicago community. In August 2018, Chicago Dancers United honored Nan (along with Lou Conte) with the Dance for Life Impact Award, recognizing her contributions to the Chicago dance community and Dance for Life. In celebration of Nan’s landmark year, the Chicago Tribune released their “2018 Chicagoans of the Year”, of which she was spotlighted as the city’s “Dance” honoree. In summer of 2019, Nan was honored with the Grace Wakefield Lifetime Achievement Award by Star Dance Alliance at the Circle of Excellence Gala. Most recently, Nan launched a virtual project in Latin America, Illuminate the Possibilities.

Michael McStraw

Michael McStraw
Executive Director
Michael McStraw is a member of and outstanding advocate for the Chicago performing arts community. As a professional dancer, semi-professional musician, arts administrator, dance educator, board member, and arts patron, Michael has been a positive and constant influence in the community for the past 38 years. Raised in Western Pennsylvania, his life includes a BS degree in Geology from Allegheny College, a Master of Fine Arts degree in Modern Dance from the University of Michigan, and a stint as an agricultural extension agent in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone, West Africa. He danced extensively with the area’s premier contemporary dance companies, including Mordine & Company Dance Theater, an organization he also managed, Jan Erkert & Dancers, and DanszLoop Chicago, of which he was a founding member. Michael was a member of and soloist with Chicago Master Singers for over 12 years and has performed extensively at numerous area churches and synagogues. Michael’s return to full-time arts administration ended a successful 17-year career in the pharmaceutical industry, most notably with G.D. Searle and Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America. He is an experienced marketing, operations, and project management professional with special skill in developing strategic long-term solutions for complex business issues. Michael is Executive Director of Jazz Dance World Congress, has twice served three-year terms on the Illinois Arts Council Dance Panel, is past President and Board Member for See Chicago Dance, Chicago’s dance marketing and advocacy organization, and has mentored young artists/administrators within Pentacle’s Help Desk program. Michael is an ex officio member of the Harris Theater Board of Trustees, representing that organization’s Resident Companies.

Joshua Blake Carter


Joshua Blake Carter
Operations Manager,
Director Giordano II
Choreographer Joshua Blake Carter has created works for dance companies, theater companies and events across the nation. Originally from Atlanta, GA, he was selected as the 2009 winner of Wonderbound’s (formerly Ballet Nouveau Colorado) national choreography competition, dancemakers2.0. In 2013, he was one of six winners commissioned to create a new work for DanceWorks Chicago’s DanceMoves choreography competition and was awarded the Producers’ Panel Prize by the Ruth Page Foundation for his work, “Ripen.” Joshua has created three original works for Giordano Dance Chicago, where he danced for seven seasons and currently serves as Operations Manager, and nine original works for Giordano II, where he currently serves as Director. Joshua’s choreography for Disney’s NEWSIES at the Paramount Theatre was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award and Regional Broadway World Award. Other commissions include Missouri Contemporary Ballet, Nomi Dance Company, Visceral Dance Chicago, and Artifact Dance Project as well as an original work for Embarq with Joffrey Ballet. In 2016, he created the finale for the event Sing! featuring Elton John. Joshua has been an Artist in Residence with Brenau University, Glendale Community College, Illinois State University, Salve Regina University and Southeast Missouri State University.

Cesar Salinas

Cesar G. Salinas
Artistic Programs Manager
Cesar G. Salinas, originally from Portland, Oregon, is Artistic Programs Manager for Giordano Dance Chicago. He began his formal studies in dance with Zohar School of Dance, under the direction of Ehud Krauss in Palo Alto, CA. There he was introduced to the classic jazz styles of Gus Giordano, Luigi, and Matt Mattox. He moved to Oregon where he studied at Willamette Ballet Academy under Deborah Higginbotham. Cesar went on to further his training at the University at Buffalo, where he graduated with a BFA in Dance. He received a scholarship to Giordano Dance School in Chicago, IL, in 2004 and 2005. From 2006 until 2011, Cesar joined Giordano Dance Chicago as a full company member performing throughout the United States and Europe. During his tenure, he was proud to be a part of GDC’s educational outreach program, teaching science and health dance classes to 4th and 5th grade students in under-resourced public schools in Chicago. Cesar was honored to be on the cover of Dance Magazine (August 2007) and to teach at the Jazz Dance World Congress in 2007, 2009, and 2012. In 2013, he was chosen as a soloist for BalaSole Dance Company performing “Hunted” in New York City’s Alvin Ailey Citigroup where he received rave reviews: “richly physical performance that drew the audience’s unfettered enthusiasm” – Philip Gordon. Cesar toured the world with Royal Caribbean cruise lines as a performer in the Broadway production of Saturday Night Fever as well as an aerialist. In the January 2018 issue of Dance Teacher Magazine, Cesar demonstrates the Giordano Technique alongside Nan Giordano in honor of the company’s 55th Anniversary Season. Cesar is a certified teacher in the Giordano Technique at the Basic, Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced, and Professional Levels of the Nan Giordano Certification Program® (NGCP®). Most recently Cesar returned to the stage at the Auditorium Theatre to perform Gus Giordano’s 1978 iconic solo Wings in honor of Nan Giordano’s 33 years at the helm and 25th Anniversary as Artistic Director for GDC. Lauren Warnecke of See Chicago Dance wrote, “...you could almost imagine Gus himself up there performing the piece he made 40 years ago.” He currently teaches master classes and workshops, as well as choreographs for universities and studios across the country.

Jacob Snodgrass

Jacob Snodgrass
Technical Director
Jacob has been designing lights and working within the performing arts community since 2000, both domestically and abroad. Some of the artists he has worked with are Aerial Dance Chicago, BONEdanse, The Dance COLEctive, Khecari Dance Theater, Breakbone Dance Company, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Peter Carpenter Performance Project, instruments of movement, Same Planet Different World, james morrow/the movement, Chamber Opera Chicago, Cuba’s Escuela Nacional de Ballet, REIDance, Havana Cuba’s DanzAbierta, Soham Dance, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater, Concert Dance Inc./CDi, Joel Hall Dancers, Hedwig Dances, the Other Dance Festival, the Ruth Page Foundation, the Space Movement Project, Canada’s lbs/sq”, NEIU Repertory Dance, Thodos Dance Chicago’s New Dances, Shaw Chicago, WNEP Theater, 16th Street Theater, The Neofuturists, City Lit Theater, and Free Street Theater. He has been technical director at the Ruth Page Theater, Links Hall and Hamlin Park Dance Theater, and has recently taken the position of Lighting Director at the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago.

THE COMPANY

Brittany Brown

Brittany Brown,
from Baltimore, Maryland recently graduated from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, and is in her first season with Giordano Dance Chicago as a member of Giordano II. While at the Boston Conservatory, she choreographed works on fellow students for multiple showcases. Brittany was a Movement Artist with SoundXpressed Dance Company from 2019-2021 and has had the opportunity to perform works by Margo Sappington, Roderick George, Gregory Dawson, Ron Brown, and Tommie Waheed Evans.

Jaylen Clay

Jaylen De’Angelo Clay,
from Atlanta, Georgia, joins GDC mid-season as a member of Giordano II. He completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at Alabama State University, where he won both Most Outstanding Modern Dancer and Most Outstanding Choreographer in 2018, and graduated with his Master of Fine Arts Degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2021. He has performed with Eleone Dance Company, the Mid-Atlantic Ballet Company, and for Kelly Rowland’s Blackout Tour. Jaylen has danced works by choreographers such as Omri Drumlevich, Robert Battle, Deshonna Pepper, and Frank Gatson. He was the winner of the 2019 University of Illinois Publicly Active Graduate Education Fellowship, and the 2019 Graduate Image of Research & People’s Choice Award.

Ashley Downs

Ashley Downs,
a member of the main company from Lake Elmo, Minnesota, is in her tenth season performing with Giordano Dance Chicago. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Point Park University with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and a concentration in Jazz. Ashley has performed in the premieres by Ray Leeper, Ray Mercer, Peter Chu, Roni Koresh, and various prominent choreographers. She has loved being a part of Giordano’s Jazz Dance/Science & Health program since 2016 and is certified through the Advanced Level of the Nan Giordano Certification Program®.

Ryan Galloway

Ryan Galloway,
 from New Richmond, Indiana, returns to the stage and GDC for a 5th season, after taking a break from his time in the Company. He is a graduate of Indiana University, where he won the Provost’s Award for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity in the category of Performing and Creative Arts. He has performed works by choreographers including Paul Taylor, David Parsons, Larry Keigwin, and Ishan Rustem, and performed at the National College Dance Festival at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Ryan is excited to rejoin the Company as a professional dancer, and when he is not on stage, he can be found at Principle Dance in Forest Park, IL, which he co-owns with his wife, Kim.

Rosario Guillen

Rosario Guillen
from Pharr, Texas trained at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, and is in his first year with GDC as a member of Giordano II. He was a soloist with the San Jose Dance Theatre in the 2020-21 season and danced in Sony Pictures’ “Little Women” (2019). He has also performed as Juan in a production of West Side Story by the Lexington Theatre Company, and as Rudolpho in Franklin Performing Arts Center’s rendition of Matilda. Rosario has choreographed for the San Jose Dance Theatre, the Commonwealth Ballet Company, and the Boston Conservatory at Berklee.

Adam-Houston

Adam Houston,
a main company member of Boone, Iowa has been with GDC for nine seasons, and is serving as this year’s co-Costume Manager and co-Rehearsal Captain. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with the "Outstanding Senior" award from the School of Dance at University of Arizona, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. Adam has many performances under his belt, but some of the most fulfilling in his career include being cast as the male soloist in signature GDC work and personal Gus Giordano favorite "Can’t Take This Away" choreographed by Randy Duncan, and has participated in the Finale section of Dance For Life, also by Randy Duncan, for the last four years. Adam has choreographed three pieces for Giordano II, and in the Fall of 2021, Giordano Dance Chicago premiered his first work, "All For You" on the main company.

Amanda Hickey

Amanda Hickey
from Hanover Park, Illinois is in her first year as a main company member, and her fourth year with GDC. Amanda began her dance training at the Fauborg School of Ballet and graduated with honors from Butler University. She spent four years dancing with Nomi Dance Academy, and she has danced principal roles in the Schaumburg Dance Ensemble’s annual Nutcracker performances. Amanda has had the opportunity to choreograph pieces for Nomi Dance Academy, the Ballet Theatre of Indiana, and The Ballet INitiative.

Sasha Lazarus

Sasha Lazarus,
from Delray Beach, Florida, is in her first year with GDC as a member of Giordano II. She trained in the Complexions Contemporary Ballet Pre-Professional Program and then kicked off her career dancing with the Menlowe Ballet. While with the Menlowe Ballet, she performed works by Donald McKayle, Christopher Huggins, and Margo Sappington, and was a principal dancer in Michael Lowe’s “It’s A Wonderful Nutcracker” in 2019. Sasha was a National Young Arts Winner in Ballet Dance in 2016, and again in Modern Dance in 2017.

Zachary Morris

Zachary Morris,
from Bay Area, CA, joins Giordano II in the second half of the 59th Season. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan (U of M) School of Music Theater and Dance with a BFA, in addition to his degree in Women and Gender Studies from the U of M School of Language, Science, and the Arts. He has performed in works choreographed by Victor Quijada and Kara Davis, worked with Shannon Gillen and Vim Vigor at The University of Michigan, and performed with Alonzo King Lines Ballet. Zach danced with the Dance Legacy Project in Brandenburg Concerto NO. 4 by Doris Humphrey, as reset by Jillian Hopper for the Library of Congress. He has also received recognition for his portrayal of Action in The Mountain Plays 2016 production of West Side Story.

Skyler newcom

Skyler Newcom
from Lawrenceville, Georgia is in his first year in the main company after a year as a Junior Performing Associate with GDC. Skyler graduated with a Certificate of Achievement from the School of Dance at the University of Arizona, and is certified in the Beginning Level of the Nan Giordano Certification Program®. Through the Medici Scholarship, he was able to study at the Perry Mansfield Summer Camp and perform with Stacy Tookie and her company. Skyler performed “Na Floresta” by Nacho Duato while in college, and was honored to dance in what he considers his most challenging duet role to date, “All For You” by Adam Houston in 2020’s Giordano on Giordano.

Onjélee Phomthirath

Onjélee Phomthirath,
from Columbus, Ohio, is a new dancer to Giordano Dance Chicago as a member of Giordano II this season. She spent many years learning at Pinnell Dance Centre under Jeri Pinnell, and recently graduated from Ohio State University with a BFA in Dance. During her time at OSU, she collaborated with her peers and BalletMet, and performed in the Dance Brazil Tour. She has danced with Bella Moxi Dance, and SALT 2 Contemporary Dance.

Katie Rafferty

Katie Rafferty,
a main company member from Oakford, Pennsylvania, is entering her twelfth season with Giordano Dance Chicago. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with the Outstanding Jazz Dance Performer Award from the UArts Jazz Faculty. Katie couldn’t be prouder of her time with the company; this year, she has taken on additional responsibilities as co-Costume Manager and co-Rehearsal Captain. She has been teaching for GDC Outreach programs, including Jazz Dance/Science & Health since 2010, and is certified to the Professional Level of the Nan Giordano Certification Program®. Katie had the honor of choreographing a pas de deux for Giordano on Giordano last season entitled “Fly Me to The Moon.”

Fernando Rodriguez

Fernando Rodriguez,
of Fort Gratiot, Michigan, is in his first year as a main company member after one year as a performing associate with GDC. He graduated from Grand Valley State University, Lakewood School of Therapeutic Massage. He has danced with River North Dance Chicago and the Missouri Contemporary Ballet and became a Resident Choreographer for the Missouri Contemporary Ballet in 2016, dancing from South Korea to Lincoln Center in New York City. Fernando won the 2019 Inside Chicago Dance Choreography Competition with his piece, “Pass Me By.”

Erina Ueda

Erina Ueda
was born in Nagoya, Japan, and was raised in Chandler, Arizona, now in her first year with GDC as a member of Giordano II. She attended the University of Arizona where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a major in Dance and a minor in Psychology in 2021. Despite being a new graduate, Erina has already accumulated many performances by choreographers including Paul Taylor, Martha Graham, Albert Blaise Cattafi, and Beverly Blossom, and has toured and performed with Tempe Dance. Erina has been featured in Netflix’s 2018 film Driven to Dance by Tati and Anthony Vogt, and she will be featured alongside Autumn Eckman in a soon-to-be-released documentary filmed by Emmy Award winner Ryan Fitzgerald.

Eduardo Zambrana

Eduardo Zambrana
from Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, is a Giordano II member who joined the Company in the second half of the 59th Season. He earned both his BFA and MFA in Dance, concentrating on performance and choreography, as well as a BS in Electrical Engineering, from the University of Arizona (U of A). While at U of A, Eduardo won the 2020 Creative Achievement Award for his exceptional creativity and innovation, and at the Red Rock Screen Dance Film Festival in 2021, he won Best Student Film for his work It’s Made of Thoughts. At the U of A MFA Thesis Concert, he choreographed and danced The Acorn Principle: A Study of my Roots. He has performed with Dance Kaleidoscope in 2021 for their show, Breaking the Surface. Eduardo is excited to join the GDC family!

CHOREOGRAPHERS | COLLABORATOR

Autumn Eckman

Autumn Eckman
Born in Atlanta, GA, Autumn Eckman (MFA Choreography, University of Iowa) received her training from Tom Pazik, Susan Banks Beebee, Patricia Bromley, Kathryn MacBeth, Gary Harrison and Dean Williams prior to graduating on full scholarship from the Houston Ballet Academy. In her performance career, Autumn had the privilege to dance with Giordano Dance Chicago where she also served as Assistant Artistic Director, Resident Choreographer and Director Giordano II, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Luna Negra Dance Theatre, Lucky Plush Productions, Ron De Jesus Dance, State Street Ballet and The Cambrians. Her choreographic commissions include original works for State Street Ballet (Artist-In-Residence), DanceWorks Chicago, Kit Modus, Big Muddy Dance Co., Wylliams-Henry Dance Company, Missouri Contemporary Ballet, Washington & Lee University, Stephens College, Western Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and the University of Missouri- Kansas City. Her choreography has been presented at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Bates Dance Festival, Women In Dance Leadership Conference, Performática (Mexico), Solo Duo Dance Festival (NYC), Detroit Dance City Festival, Charlotte Dance Festival, Blackbox International Theatre & Dance Festival (Bulgaria), Dance Gallery Festival (TX), Men In Dance Festival (WA), the McCallum Choreography Competition (CA) and with JUNTOS Collective (Guatemala) where she served as the outreach choreographer in the summer of 2019. Autumn taught as Instructor of Dance at Northern Illinois University (2009-2015) and as Assistant Professor of Dance at the University of Arizona for four years. She teaches nationally for schools including the Atlanta Academy of Ballet and Dance, Vitacca Vocational School for Dance (Houston), Jacqueline’s School of Ballet (Utah), State Street Ballet Summer Intensive/Professional Track, Open Doors Dance Festival and the Bates Dance Festival. Autumn is currently an inaugural faculty member of the School of the Arts at Gwinnett High School in Lawrenceville, GA.

Roni Koresh

Ronen Koresh
Roni Koresh is an Israeli-American choreographer whose work presents “a wealth of forceful invention” (Art Burst Miami). Koresh has established a repertoire of over 60 works “rang[ing] from intimate to high-voltage” (Northwestern Press). He develops 2 to 3 new works each year including commissions for notable companies across the country. His work has been supported by Pew Charitable Trusts, the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Jerome Robbins Foundation, among others.

Koresh’s work represents his experience of both Israeli and American cultures.  Born and raised in Israel, he received early dance training from his mother, a folk dancer in the Yemenite tradition. He then joined Martha Graham’s Batsheva 2 Dance Company before enlisting in the Israeli army. Koresh integrates each of these influences into his choreography, which draws its strong sense of humanity, sweeping circle patterns, military precision, and Middle Eastern flavor from his life in Israel.

In 1983, Koresh moved to New York to study at Alvin Ailey, solidifying his strong foundation in ballet, Horton and Graham techniques. He soon began performing with Shimon Braun’s Waves Jazz Dance Company in Philadelphia, where he studied Luigi Jazz and developed the muscular isolations and periods of continuous movement that define his style today. At this time, he also began to draw from club dancing, hip hop, and pedestrian gesture. A consummate observer and movement chameleon, this prolific choreographer builds his movement repertoire from any genre that can best make his point clear. Undefined by any one school of movement, Koresh calls his style simply “Dance.” “If a movement fits, I use it,” says Koresh. “It is about using movement to communicate, not about adhering to a particular style.” And communicate it does, leading audiences to laughter, tears, and awe within a single program.

Committed to exploring human relationships, perception, and change, Koresh produces contemporary dance that is highly technical and deeply resonant, acclaimed by critics as both innovative and accessible. “Athletic, exuberant, [and] disciplined” (Cincinnati Enquirer), Koresh choreography displays a quick wit, “big-heartedness, and … humor” (Reading Eagle).

Dan Myers

Dan Myers
Composer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Dan Myers grew up in the north woods of Wisconsin and currently works and resides in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. Dan composes for film, television and the stage, and his original songs can be heard in major motion pictures, digital animation features and network television series. As a member of actor Gary Sinise's Lt. Dan Band, Dan has enjoyed the privilege of dueling on fiddle with Charlie Daniels at the Kennedy Center, performing for U.N. troops in Afghanistan and Kuwait, and debuting new music at the Ravinia Festival. Dan recently recorded and toured nationally with his Indie-folk band Stolen Silver, and has been featured in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, American Way Magazine, and WGN. When he's not on the road, Dan writes, arranges and produces a wide range of contemporary music with partner John Ovnik at Deaf Dog Music, Chicago. Dan recently penned the "Let's Go Places" mnemonic for the international Toyota television, web, and radio campaign. Dan earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies from Western Michigan University and a Master of Fine Arts in Music Composition for the Screen from Columbia College. www.thedanmyers.com

Ray Leeper

Ray Leeper
Talented and creative, Ray Leeper has established himself as one of Hollywood’s leading creative directors, producers, choreographers, and master educators. His provocative and powerful style, his innovative vision and outgoing character, makes him highly sought after in this field.

Ray’s work spans the spectrum from television, movies, and commercials to off –Broadway and music videos. He has choreographed for some of the most popular televisions shows, most recently on FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance, where he managed to win the love of millions of viewers each week. He has worked past seasons of Dancing With The Stars, American Idol, All My Children, One Life to Live, Big Bang Theory, X-Factor UK, and America’s Got Talent. His big screen credits include, They Shoot Divas, Don’t They starring Jennifer Beals, the short film, This Island, as well as starring himself in the films, Move, and I Dream of Dance.

Originally from Los Angeles, Ray always knew he wanted to be a choreographer. At 9 years old, he was cast as the Artful Dodger in the musical “Oliver!” and the choreographer suggested dance training to his mom. There weren’t many boys training at that time, so he desperately tried to keep it a secret and continued to play sports. At 13, the kids found out and he was bullied, but persevered and started to focus on his dance training and love of choreography.

His long career has including working with such artists as Elton John, Snoop Dogg, Nick Cannon, Nile Rodgers, Kelly Rowland, Kathryn Jenkins and Geri Halliwell. His favorites include Cher because of her willingness to collaborate & humbleness and Matthew Morrison for his professionalism. Creative Director credits include Franco Dragone’s INDIA and One Love, So You Think You Can Dance, Matthew Morrison’s Where It All Began tour and NKOTB/BSD tour, IL DIVO World Tour, X-Factor European Tour.

All the components combined are what Ray appreciates most about the creative process and has collected a vast number of commercial credits for international brands Pepsi and Levis, working with Hollywood notables like famed director Nigel Dick for Sierra Mist and BAFTA award-winning director Phil Heyes for American Idol & X-Factor UK.

Ray has recently directed and choreographed the critically-acclaimed Off-Broadway musical, One Day, as well as the Off-Broadway show Mental – the Musical and other notable Off- Broadway shows, Inappropriate and Nightlife. He was awarded the esteemed “Best Choreography Award” for his work on Common Grounds in the New York Musical Theater Festival and the prestigious “Gold Leo Award” for Excellence in Choreography at the Kennedy Center.

After 30 years of teaching worldwide and being one of the most sought-after choreographers and master teachers in the United States, Ray now spends his time dedicated to his new creative endeavors, producing original content and choreographing for television and film.

Jon Lehrer

Jon Lehrer
Raised in Queens, New York, Jon Lehrer took his very first dance class at age 19 at the University at Buffalo. While dating a dancer, Jon teased her about how easy it must be to get an A in a dance class. The girl dared Jon to try a beginning level modern dance class and his life was changed.  After only two years of training at UB, Jon was asked to join the University's Zodiaque Dance Company. Jon ultimately received his B.F.A in Dance from the University at Buffalo.

As a professional, Jon has danced with the Erick Hawkins Dance Company, Paul Sanasardo, John Passafiume Dancers, in Merv Griffin's "Funderful" and the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular. In 1997, Jon was hired by Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, and after three years, was promoted to Rehearsal Director and then given the position of Associate Director two years later. During his ten years with Giordano, Jon also became the resident choreographer, creating seven original works on the company that received rave reviews all around the world.

Jon has choreographed for several professional dance companies and universities all over the country. Jon teaches master classes throughout the U.S. and around the world, having been on faculty at Dance Masters of America, Jazz Dance World Congress, Dance Teacher Summer Conference, Chicago National Association of Dance Masters (CNADM), Chautauqua Institution and is a guest artist at numerous universities. In 2003, Jon had the honor of receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award from University at Buffalo Zodiaque Dance Company for his accomplishments as a dancer and choreographer. Jon was featured on the November 2007 cover of Dance Teacher Magazine, and has been reviewed and interviewed in Dance Magazine numerous times. In 2009, Jon was commissioned by CNADM to write their Modern Dance Syllabus, which is utilized by teachers all across the country to properly teach and introduce their students to modern dance. In 2010, Jon was honored with CNADM’s Artistic Achievement Award for his excellence and artistry in concert dance. In August 2011, Jon was the guest speaker for Convocation at Shenendoah University. In 2015, Jon received the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award. Most recently, he was awarded the ‘Rising Star” SPARK Award for being an integral part of Buffalo’s thriving arts and cultural community.

In July 2007, Jon moved to Buffalo, New York, to begin his much anticipated professional dance company. The company showcases his unique choreography and definitive style.  Jon's extensive background in both the modern and jazz dance idioms fosters choreography that is organic, artistic, accessible and often humorous, reflecting life experience and the human condition. In its short history, the company has received much international recognition and critical acclaim, keeping audiences around the world, throughout the US, and in Buffalo on the edge of their seats with their trademark athletic style. As Dance Magazine said, “took the house not so much by storm as by quantum physics. Jon Lehrer's strikingly original choreography transformed the stage into an energy field of super-charged particles."

Sherry Zunker

Sherry Zunker
 Sherry is an established director and choreographer whose work covers the concert dance realm, musical theater, corporate entertainment, production shows, television, video and film.  She has also worked as a creator, director and choreographer on over 35 productions for Royal Caribbean International.  From 2011 to 2014 Sherry directed Chicago the Musical for Royal Caribbean’s Broadway venture.  Her teaching career spans 35 years and is as diverse as the works she has created.

Zunker is also Co-Artistic Director Emerita of River North Chicago Dance Company.  She was Artistic Director of River North Dance Chicago (RNDC) for 11 years.  She joined RNDC as Artistic Director in 1990 and choreographed numerous works for the company, one of them being the signature piece Reality of a Dreamer, which also became the finale piece for the award-winning televised documentary of the same name.  Sherry also commissioned the work of many choreographers to compile the company’s diverse, engaging repertoire.  Zunker has set her works on several companies including the Joffrey Ballet and Giordano Dance Chicago.

Before taking on the roles of director and choreographer, Zunker had a diverse performance career.  She danced with Chicago Repertory Dance Ensemble, was a principal dancer with Giordano Dance Chicago, performed as a soloist in Bob Fosse’s Dancin’, and also danced under choreographers Ann Reinking and Chet Walker in the Goodman Theatre’s production of Pal Joey.  Zunker also danced in several musical stage productions, commercials, and films including The Blues Brothers and A League of Their Own.

Sherry Zunker is the founder of BeMoved®, a company passionate about sharing the joy of dance with people of all movement abilities.  Her belief that movement expressed through dance and music has a transformative power that enriches lives inspired her to create BeMoved®.

Box Office: (708) 974-5500

For more information on these events or other performances or to purchase tickets online, visit www.morainevalley.edu/FPAC

Fine and Performing Arts Center Staff

Technical Director

Assistant Technical Director

Manager of Theater Operations and Services

Secretary

Art Gallery Coordinator

Front-of-House Staff

Technical Crew

Sean McIntosh

Amanda Hantson

Julian Tillery

MaryAnn Luciano-Smith

Cecilia Vargas

Ramsey Bauer, Karen Datro, Page Domikaitis, Tom Gerez, Robin Kmiec, Jim Novak, David Roczkowski, Lisa Rock, Sujith Saju

Jaclyn Bobbitt, Nathan Carpenter, Alex Craig, Samm Hilger, Jessica Miller, Tom Schoenbeck, Guadalupe Sosa, Quintin Turnbow

By attending this performance, you acknowledge that you have granted permission to appear in photographs, video capture and capture by other media in all public spaces in the Fine and Performing Arts Center. Your image may be used by Moraine Valley Community College for promotional purposes. This blanket permission releases and  waives any claim against the college and its employees arising from the use of such images in any medium.