Apr 6, 2021
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra speaks with Amy Giordano, Founder and Executive Director at The Gus Giordano Jazz Legacy Foundation and Executive Director at Gus Giordano Dance School. Growing up, Amy danced and trained in all styles, while assisting her parents – Gus and Peg Giordano — as they ran the school. However, after a car accident shattered her kneecap, she was forced away from the stage. Amy went on to pursue a Bachelor of Arts from Tulane University and, upon her mother’s passing in 1993, assumed all of her mother’s responsibilities at the school.
On her father’s birthday in July of 2017, Amy founded the Gus Giordano Jazz Legacy Foundation, which offers financial assistance for dancers seeking education at the school. On the podcast, Amy speaks directly to the pride she takes in carrying on her father’s legacy — a legacy of extreme generosity, driven by a love of people and a love of the arts — and how, now, Gus’s spirit and his movement will be carried on from generation to generation.
"The school was never to promote Gus; it was always about promoting the dancers."
"This year, the foundation has become even more important with the pandemic. It's turned the world upside down for so many dancers... I feel so fortunate to help more children in a time where life is so upside down. I can give them the consistency of dance."
"At the school, I tell my dancers, 'Yes, you're all doing the same technique. But I want your influence on it. Because that's what makes it come alive.'"
[On fighting the gender gap in dance leadership] "Just be who you are. And if you feel like you can do the job, do the job. Because anyone that is doing their job will be respected."
"My dad felt very strongly that every dancer should train in every dance style. Because that's going to guarantee you success in a dance career. If you only know how to do one thing, you're limiting yourself."
"Ballet is the foundation for everything. People sometimes want to skip the ballet, straight into hip hop and quick movement. Ballet teaches how the body is connected. If you have the ballet, you can have every style."
"You have to be willing to put the work in and present a product that you're proud of. If you're proud of it, you'll attract people who want to be a part of your whole community."
Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:
3:40: Amy discusses the Gus Legacy Foundation and the pride she feels in carrying on her father’s generous spirit.
10:49: Amy explains why she believe dance is a universal language that transcends demographic differences and cultural barriers.
15:07: Giordano speaks to the gender gap in dance leadership and how she believes women can overcome the disparity.
17:55: Giordano speaks to the evolution of modern dance and how the change has only cemented her belief that ballet is the backbone of all dance types.
22:52: Giordano briefly walks through the Gus Giordano technique and what makes his specific form unique from others.
27:15: Amy describes how dance teachers and professionals can obtain training on the Giordano dance technique.
29:00: Amy discusses future events for the Giordano Legacy Foundation, as it continues to raise money to ensure dancers receive training who otherwise may not receive it.
Bullet List of Resources –
The Gus Giordano Jazz Legacy Foundation