For their spring engagement at the Harris Theater, Giordano Dance Chicago stretches away from their jazz-based core with a new contemporary piece by Miranda Davis. The program includes splashy repertory favorites situated solidly in the jazz-dance lexicon that has been Giordano’s signature for more than fifty years, including Brock Clawson’s “Sneaky Pete,” and Ray Leeper’s feel-good, bounce-out-of-your-seat “SOUL.” Davis’ premiere is the latest in a series of commissions intended to push the company’s boundaries and explore the intersections of jazz, modern and contemporary aesthetics.
“Flickers” is fueled by the daunting challenges Davis faces each day as a relatively young emerging choreographer collecting accolades with some commercial success, who also suffers from multiple rare and life-threatening autoimmune diseases. “I can honestly say I’ve lived that proof that your darkest moments are generally shifting and preparing us for our brightest,” Davis said In a press statement. “This piece is about searching for the light in your darkest hours… hanging on to the flickers, and trusting that no matter anyone’s opinion or doubt, your dream and story will unfold when you are most qualified to tell it and the universe is most ready to hear it, but it has to find you authentic and working.”
A preview rehearsal of “Flickers” offered an early look at the full Giordano company giving their all to a piece which travels from anguished darkness—pierced by a small spotlight of hope—to explosive, joyful light. “Flickers” is well suited to the Giordano dancers’ athleticism and emotive presence; the choreography moves from the floor to feet in the air in the first few seconds. Davis sweeps the full company across the entire stage with urgency to a heavy score by Son Lux. Jazzy hip movements morph into contemporary use of gesture and facial expression. “Flickers” is a stretch for Giordano, but it’s also a dance choreographed to their strengths—muscular showmanship, a smattering of acrobatics, and guileless emotion. (Sharon Hoyer)
Harris Theater, 205 East Randolph. (312)334-7777. Friday-Saturday, March 22-23, 7:30pm. $15-$75. Tickets at harristheaterchicago.org