The piece New York choreographer Mia Michaels has created for Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago begins with an arresting image: five couples slow dancing in what appears to be a decayed nightclub, the women draped over the men like half-dead antelopes. The rest of the innovative, demanding Le Grand Futur Is Here! reveals how they got that way, following a torturous but vibrant route through glamorous poses, animalistic face-offs, ballroom dancing with the men on their knees, and a menacing sequence with a rope. In jazz dance, attitude counts for a lot, and this piece has it in spades. Chicago choreographer Alberto Arias’s new Surrender displays a different kind of attitude, softer and more romantic but just as theatrical. This piece for three couples illustrates the strength and maturity required to give up, most movingly shown in an image that suggests being lifted by a wave: the men lift the women bent at the waist, pedaling their feet in the air. Also new for this engagement is artistic director Nan Giordano’s Untitled, meant to suggest art coming to life, and the company premiere of Randy Duncan’s challenging solo Unarmed, performed by John Lehrer. The three new pieces plus Duncan’s popular Can’t Take This Away will appear on every program, while Gus and Nan Giordano’s Le Firebird de Jazz will be shown Friday and Sunday, Gus Giordano’s Sing, Sing, Sing on Saturday and Sunday, and Unarmed and Keith Anthony Cross’s Be Still My Beating Heart on Saturday only. Friday and Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 3 at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport; $15-$20. Call 312-902-1500 for tickets, 847-866-6779 for information, including information about the company benefit following the Friday-night performance. –Laura Molzahn

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Mike Canale.