Feb 18, 2020
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews Lauren Giordano Whittington and Sarah Giordano Curran — the two granddaughters of the late American jazz dancer, teacher, choreographer, and icon, Gus Giordano. While Lauren and Sarah journeyed different paths, both are now faculty members at Gus Giordano Dance School, where they are honored to carry on the legacy of their grandfather, alongside their mother and brother.
On the podcast, both Lauren and Sarah spend time admiring their grandfather and the work that he has done for the dance community and describe the ongoing work that Gus Giordano Dance School is doing to carry on his work, even after his passing. Both Whittington and Curran speak to the ongoing evolution of their company’s dance programs and discuss the company’s branding, mission, and vision. Both also discuss the challenges and joys associated with ensuring consistency across a rapidly growing brand, working within a family business, and much more.
[On forming the Jazz Dance World Congress] “Gus didn’t care if this person was from a ballet company or this person was from a contemporary company or a modern company — he brought everyone together just to spread his love for dance."
“Most people see Gus as this dance master teacher that bred dance all over the world, but we got to see him in a really different light — he was our grandfather, and we saw him first."
“I see working alongside my family as a growing opportunity because you learn to love the things that make you mad or angry in another scenario within your family life."
“Our mission is to make you a better person, as well as a better dancer."
Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:
4:27: Lauren discusses the company in its current form, including its move from Evanston to Chicago, and describes the different programs that it offers for dancers of all ages.
8:25: Lauren and Sarah discuss the challenges of ensuring its branding, programming, and mission are consistent across the many programs that the company offers.
11:44: Lauren shares the ultimate vision of the Gus Giordano Dance School and her desire to see the company grow, particularly the GUS Legacy Foundation.
14:42: Lauren describes the passion of her grandfather, Gus Giordano, how he initially got involved in dance, how he started teaching, and how his love for dance eventually made him a global icon.
21:27: Sarah and Lauren describe the sweetest memories they have of their grandfather.
24:06: Sarah and Lauren discuss how they settled on the clean, classic branding that the school currently displays and how their grandparents have helped them from a branding perspective.
27:03: Lauren and Sarah speak to the pros and cons of working in a family business.
29:21: Lauren and Sarah answer some rapid-fire popcorn questions, spanning a myriad of subjects.
Bullet List of Resources –
Lauren Giordano Whittington
Sarah Giordano Curran
Gus Giordano Dance School