‘Original jazz dance company’ coming to town

Published 9:38 am Monday, March 10, 2014

Giordano Dance Chicago will be visiting the Berrien County Dancers. (Submitted photo)

Giordano Dance Chicago will be visiting the Berrien County Dancers. (Submitted photo)

STEVENSVILLE— Reputation is everything, and Theresa Graziano’s efforts to establish a superlative one for the Berrien County Dancers are paying off in ways that can be of benefit to all dance lovers in the area.

As the artistic director for the dance company, Graziano was approached two years ago by Nan Giordano, who offered Berrien County Dancers the opportunity to host an extended residency with Giordano Dance Chicago this month.

“Nan had heard really great things about what we’ve been doing, and we’re super excited that they will be with us all week long,” Graziano said.

Girodano Dance Chicago, hailed as “America’s original jazz dance company,” has its own reputation — one that relies upon both critical and audience acclaim. They are known worldwide for their high-energy, high-impact performances and their diverse repertoire.

Berrien County Dancers have hosted extended residencies with other companies in the past.

In 2010, choreographer Jon Lehrer and LehrerDance visited, and in 2012, HS2, the second company from Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, came to work with Graziano’s students. The next residency is scheduled for 2016.

However, the upcoming extended residency with Giordano Dance Chicago is different for two exciting reasons.

“First, they approached us with this opportunity,” Graziano said. “Usually, it is the other way around.”

“Also, this is the main company that is coming. A lot of times, they’ll only send their second company to high schools,” Graziano explained. “This will be a fantastic experience for the students.”

Berrien County Dancers is based at Lakeshore High School, where Graziano is a dance instructor. So, the school will be at the center of the week’s activities. However, members of the surrounding community can also benefit from Giordano Dance Chicago’s visit.

“Throughout the week, from March 17 through 22, they will be teaching each of my classes, beginning through advanced, and they will be setting repertoire for my advanced class as well,” Graziano said.

“The students will take what they learn in that class, and they will perform it for the show,” Graziano explained.

That show will take place at Lakeshore High school Auditorium, located at 5771 Cleveland Ave., on March 22 at 7 p.m.

“That’s the really exciting, huge part of this—that the main company will perform here at Lakeshore!” Graziano said.

Dancers who are not affiliated with Berrien County Dancers can also benefit from the extended residency.

Dancers ages 12 and up are invited to learn Giordano technique by enrolling in a master class scheduled for 5 p.m. on March 22. Advance registration is required due to limited space. The cost is $12 for the class alone, or students can purchase a package that includes both the class and the performance for $20.

General admission tickets for the Giordano Dance Chicago and Berrien County Dancers joint performance cost $15 for ages 12 and up, or $10 each for groups of 10 or more. Ages 8-11 are free with parent admission. Giordano Dance Chicago recommends the performance for children age 8 and up.

Both ticket purchases and class registrations can be made online at www.BerrienCountyDancers.com or by phone at (269) 428-1402, Ext. 2099. Performance tickets will also be sold at the door starting one hour before the show.

“We’re really excited about this opportunity,” Graziano said. “It’s going to be a great experience for the students and for the audience!”