Giordano Dance School recently announced via its Facebook page that it will relocate to Andersonville in June, affecting many Northwestern students who are taking dance classes there.
The school, currently located half a mile from campus at 614 Davis St., is moving to a new location on 5230 N. Clark St., five miles from its current one. This year’s summer programs will be the first classes held at the location.
Giordano managers could not be reached for comment, but according to students of the dance studio, it was a dream of founder Gus Giordano to open his school in Chicago. His daughter Amy Giordano is currently in charge of operations.
Giordano Dance School specializes in jazz instruction, but also provides training in a variety of modern dance forms such as ballet and tap. Gus, a jazz legend who created the Jazz Dance World Congress, founded the school in 1952, and hundreds of students, aged 2 through adult, have since enrolled in classes there. Gus died in Chicago in 2008 and his daughter Amy took charge of the school while his other daughter, Nan, became involved with the Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago group, which is affiliated with the school.
For many NU students currently enrolled in Giordano classes, losing the studio is an inconvenience and a disappointment. Communication sophomore Amy Secunda attended Giordano for the past year and half, sometimes taking class two to three times a week.
“I didn’t even know that place was closing,” Secunda said. “It’s just very upsetting to me because there’s no place in Evanston like it. I honestly don’t know where else I’d go. As far as I knew the only place that was really good was Giordano.”
Giordano was also significant to NU dance enthusiasts because of the accessibility of its classes, especially since enrolling in NU’s dance classes is notoriously difficult for non-dance majors. Dancers had the option of paying by the class or for full years. A single class card costs $16.
Medill sophomore Naomi Nason is one of many Giordano students who danced competitively in high school but decided not to pursue dance as a major in college.
“Giordano had great teachers, a great selection of classes, and it was a great way to just spend an hour,” Nason said. “If I were upset, I would go dance and it would make me feel better.”
Nason, who danced since she was 2 years old and competed throughout high school, said she might take dance classes at Evanston Athletic Club in the future, even though she said they’re not up to the level of Giordano.
Weinberg junior Elizabeth Peoples also takes classes at Giordano because she said she’s passionate about it, but she’s not pursuing a dance major. She said it’s unlikely she’ll follow the school to Andersonville.
“It’s really unfortunate that Giordano is closing and I’m really sad about it,” Peoples said. “It’s more time-consuming, more expensive and too far to go downtown. I’m not going to take dance at NU. I’m just not going to be able to do it at all.”
The school has become such a landmark in Evanston that in 2009, the City Council unanimously approved to designate a block of Davis Street, between Orrington Avenue and Chicago Avenue, with the honorary street name “Giordano Dance Street.”