The Hope College Great Performance Series will kick off its 2002-03 season with Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago (GGJDC) on Thursday, Sept. 19, at 8 p.m. at the Knickerbocker Theatre in downtown Holland.

The Giordano dance company was founded 40 years ago by Gus Giordano, and is now run by his daughter, artistic director Nan Giordano.

GGJDC was the first jazz dance company to tour the Soviet Union, when invited to share the American dance form with the Bolshoi in 1974. The company has toured all over the world, and is the host performing company for the annual Jazz Dance World Congress.

Dance critic Ann Barzel has said, "the jazz dance of Gus Giordano expresses feelings, portrays emotions, confronts problems, analyzes ideas in the tempo of today. In the exhilaration of its presentations, it mirrors the freedom that we like to think is the American way."

The company's American dance form has spoken to non-Americans as well. "World-class jazz dance," wrote the German newspaper "Langener Zeitung." "GGJDC enchanted the audience with a breathtaking program."

Gus Giordano has received numerous awards in his career, including an Emmy Award, a PBS Award and the Katherine Dunham Award. Nan Giordano is a leading teacher, and has led masterclasses throughout the world. Her choreography has appeared not only on stage, but in such diverse places as television commercials and one-time celebratory events.

While on campus, members of GGJDC will meet with students and lead masterclasses for dance students.

Funding for part of the performance is through the Heartland Arts Fund Program, which is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. Additional support has been provided through the DeLong Endowed Dance Chair fund at Hope.

Great Performance Series season subscribers may reserve their seats on Thursday-Friday, Sept. 12-13. Tickets for the general public will be sold Monday-Thursday, Sept. 16-19, at the box office in the DeWitt Center, located on Columbia Avenue at 12th Street. The box office will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and can be called at (616) 395- 7890. Tickets are $14 for regular admission, $12 for senior citizens, and $5 for Hope students and children under 18.

Great Performance Series subscriptions are also available for all seven shows at $55 for regular admission, $45 for senior citizens, and $115 for a family membership.

Additional information about the 2002-03 season of the Great Performance Series and links to the performers' Web pages may be obtained on-line through