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I BELIEVE THAT THE RHYTHMS OF DANCE RELECT THE VERY HEARTBEAT OF THE UNIVERSE. After all, the human body was made to move, and that is true whether a person is able-bodied or is differently-abled. I marveled at how much more quickly my husband Roger recovered when doctors added physical therapy with music to his schedule at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. We dance for many reasons.
As you can see from the header photo, Modern Dance was a part of my life long ago. I performed on stage with Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five during my days as an amateur dancer (also long ago). And in 2013 I joined Tilda Swinton dancing at Ebertfest with an audience of 1500 people in celebration of Roger, and Tilda's mother. But where in the world did I gather the nerve to join Prince on stage at the United Center on September 25th, 2012! Days later someone wrote to my daughter rather disapprovingly, "Did you see that lady prancing all around the stage with Prince?" "Yes," Sonia replied, "That was my mother."
But dance has not been part of my life for far too long. I have grown older, and less flexible, and to be quite honest, I have forgotten how to dance. Someone suggested that it was time to bring it back.
The scenes in The BlackWhite Love Play at the Black Ensemble Theater where actress Rashada Dawan as me, and Kevin Pollack, as Roger, were dancing to a variety of music were entirely reflective of our own relationship. We danced for the sheer joy of it, though next month, I will be dancing for purposes that are even more meaningful. I am participating in the 11th annual Dancing With the Giordano Stars, a ballroom dance competition that benefits Giordano Dance Chicago by pairing the company's dancers with contestants from the Windy City. My accomplished dance partner, Adam Houston, graduated magna cum laude from the University of Arizona, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance. He has worked patiently to help craft two dances, a foxtrot, and a surprise dance, that we will perform on stage before hundreds at Park West. Gulp...
It has been a great passion of mine to support and champion programs for children and families with an emphasis on education and the arts. The arts contribute so much to the development of positive attributes like empathy, kindness and compassion. Giordano Dance Chicago has various outreach programs that enrich the lives of youth and their families. The company's Jazz Dance/Science & Health curriculum in Chicago Public Schools, the Giordano Dance Ticket Program granting thousands of students free admission, the internationally beloved "Jazz Dance Beat...Then and Now" program and the Giordano master classes and workshops are all invaluable. They also participate in arts venues in other countries to further international relations.
I was so impressed with Board member's Sue Mazzoni's performance at last year's competition that I decided to sign up for this year's charity dance. It is a joyous occasion that raises money for an excellent cause. I advise audiences not to expect too much from me on the dance floor, though I do promise you an evening of sheer exuberance.
Dancing With The Giordano Stars kicks off at 7pm Thursday, October 6th, at Park West, 322 W. Armitage Ave., with a cocktail hour followed by the competition at 8:15pm and open dancing immediately afterward. To purchase tickets, to sponsor me or simply to contribute to the organization to help them continue their good work, please visit the official site of Giordano Dance Chicago.
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