Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Gary Chryst reflects on his life's journey
DANCIN' FEATS
by Vicki Crain
2013-02-13

This article shared 10451 times since Wed Feb 13, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Biracial, gay, sextogenarian, California native … Gary Chryst is all of these things, but first and foremost, he's a dancin' man. From ballet to Broadway, from New York to The Hague, he has literally danced around the world for decades. Chryst, 63, is in town working with Thodos Dance Chicago (TDC) putting the finishing touches on the centerpiece of the company's winter concert, a new work about the early relationship of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan co-created by artistic director Melissa Thodos and Broadway legend Ann Reinking.

Born in La Jolla, Calif., Chryst's family moved to the East Coast when he was 8. At 14, he entered the High School of the Performing Arts (think Fame!) to study acting, but quickly switched to the dance department. Upon graduating, he landed a job with the Joffrey Ballet, where he met an apprentice by the name of Reinking, starting a long friendship and eventually a working relationship.

While he danced a number of pivotal roles during his tenure with Joffrey, it was his performance as The Profiteer in Kurt Jooss' The Green Table (which Joffrey performed earlier this season) that caught the eye of an esteemed audience member and set in motion the next chapter of his career. "Annie would bring Mr. Fosse to see the Joffrey," said Chryst. "He loved The Green Table because of the theatricality." When Joffrey went on a six-month hiatus in 1979, Fosse asked Chryst to join the cast of his Broadway show Dancin', which had Reinking as its star.

"Every decade I do something different," he said. "The '80s is when I did my Broadway shows (Dancin', A Chorus Line, Guys and Dolls) and from there I went to Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT)." Chryst joined NDT III, a company created by Jiri Kylian for older dancers, at a time when most dancers would be easing into retirement. "When you're in your 40s, you think you're done," said Chyst. "Jiri had this wonderful idea for creators and dancers of a certain age, he called it between 40 and death, to create pieces on artists of that age, at this point in their career, because you can do things like stand on stage and it can mean a helluva lot." He calls the six years he danced with NDT III in The Hague the most artistic part of his life so far.

Just as a hip injury had him rethinking his career, Reinking was in need of someone to help audition and stage the international touring casts of the musical Chicago. "Annie called me and I said I'd come help," Chryst said. "That was the beginning of a 15-year adventure with the musical. I ended up being Annie's eyes and ears." Eyes and ears, right-hand man—whatever you call it, he became an indispensable aide.

When Reinking collaborated with Thodos on a new story ballet in 2010, she called on Chryst to come work with the dancers. The White City: Chicago's Columbian Exposition of 1893 premiered in 2011 to glowing reviews. Still celebrating the success of their first ballet, they started thinking of what to do next. Thodos credits Chryst on the idea that sparked the new ballet, A Light in the Dark: The Story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan, set to premiere this month. Chryst recalls watching TDC dancer Jessica Miller Tomlinson rehearsing a scene from The White City where she is locked in a box and suffocates to death. "I was watching Jessica in the studio during the suffocating scene. She can't see anything and she looked so young in that white dress and I thought blind. During the research for the ballet, I read that Helen Keller visited the fair and I thought what a wonderful role that would be for her."

Talking about his career makes Chryst reflect on how far he has come. As the son of a white mother and Black father, he's thrilled to be living in the age of Obama. "I thought I'd see a woman president before I'd see someone of color in office," he said. "Also, in dance, there wasn't that many people of color in ballet companies. Robert Joffrey was one of the first to go 'color-blind,' as we called it. Even in the late '60s touring in the Midwest, it wasn't comfortable. Now, to see the diversity of Americans and the demographic change is phenomenal. It's amazing how it's changed. Being colored and being gay, I have quite a few strikes against me. I have to pinch myself. To live through all that … it's quite amazing."

Thodos Dance Chicago presents its Winter Concert 2013—featuring the premiere of A Light in the Dark along with two other world premieres and a repertory work—at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $36-$46; call 847-673-6300 or visit www.northshorecenter.org . The performances will also be presented at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph St., Saturday, March 2, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 3, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $30-$60; call 312-334-7777 or visit www.harristheaterchicago.org .

Other February shows:

The Joffrey Ballet presents a two-week run of its American Legends program featuring works from Twyla Tharp, Jerome Robbins and Gerald Arpino as well as a world premiere from Stanton Welch at The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Pkwy., Wed., Feb. 13-Sunday, Feb. 24. Performance times vary. Tickets are $31-$152; call 800-982-2787 or visit www.ticketmaster.com .

Seattle-based husband and wife team zoe | juniper comes to town with a full-evening work, A Crack in Everything, inspired by the Greek tragedy The Oresteia at The Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan Ave., Thursday-Friday, Feb. 14-15, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $26-$30; call 312-369-8330 or visit www.colum.edu/dancecenter.


This article shared 10451 times since Wed Feb 13, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

M3 Dance presenting 'The Nutcracker' in Elgin on Dec. 4-5 2021-11-28
- M3 Dance and Synergy Dance Academy will present Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 2 and 7 p.m.; and on Sunday, Dec. 5, at 2 p.m. at Elgin's Hemmens Cultural Center, 45 ...


Gay News

Ivan Aguayo brings eclectic background to 'evolution' of dance 2021-11-23
By Cris Villalonga-Vivoni - In the center of the A&A Ballet studio stood the Mouse King. His long, felt tail trailed behind him as he made attempts to pose both for the camera and the numerous other ballet performers in ...


Gay News

TV JoJo Siwa in finale of 'Dancing with the Stars' and the winner is… 2021-11-23
- Queer social-media and reality-show figure JoJo Siwa made history on this season of Dancing with the Stars by being part of the series' first same-sex couple (with partner Jenna Johnson)—and the twosome made it all the ...


Gay News

Joffrey announces return of reimagined classic, The Nutcracker 2021-11-08
--From a press release - CHICAGO (November 8, 2021)— The Joffrey Ballet's critically acclaimed reimagined classic, The Nutcracker, by Tony Award®-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, will be a part of the Joffrey's first-ever season at the historic Lyric ...


Gay News

Joffrey names new head of studio company and trainee program 2021-10-28
- Abbott Academy Director of the Joffrey Academy of Dance Raymond Rodriguez announced that Christopher Marney is the new head of studio company and trainees at the academy. Marney begins his new role Nov. 3, just eight ...


Gay News

Hubbard Street Dance back on the stage with 'RE/TURN' 2021-10-21
- Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (HSDC) will present Fall Series: RE/TURN to herald its return to the stage at the Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph St. The program will feature new premieres as well as audience favorites ...


Gay News

MOVIES 'Bolshoi Ballet' series to start locally Nov. 7 2021-10-21
- The "2021-2022 Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema" series is set to begin Sunday, Nov. 7 with Bolshoi Ballet: Spartacus—LIVE. Spartacus is considered a ballet tour de force, set to Aram Khachaturian's score. Bolshoi Ballet: Spartacus—LIVE is set t ...


Gay News

Visceral Dance Chicago bringing world premieres to Athenaeum Theatre 2021-10-06
--From a press release - CHICAGO, Oct. 5, 2021 — Visceral Dance Chicago—a contemporary company committed to the progression of diverse artists, programs and community collaborations—announced its Fall Engagement 2021 program. The dance company returns ...


Gay News

LGBTQ History Month: Until legal ruling, Disneyland banned same-sex dancers 2021-10-01
- Deemed the "Happiest Place on Earth," Disneyland sadly didn't live up to that billing for same-sex couples during its first three decades. Opened in 1955 by the late Walt Disney, the family-oriented amusement park was built ...


Gay News

Joffrey's Nutcracker returns for the holidays 2021-09-27
--From a press release - (Chicago) — The Joffrey Ballet's reimagined holiday classic, The Nutcracker, by Tony Award®-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, returns to Chicago during the Joffrey's first-ever season at the historic Lyric Opera House ...


Gay News

DANCE Hubbard Street presenting drive-in edition of 'Inside/Out' Oct. 2 2021-09-23
- Hubbard Street Dance Chicago will hold its annual "Inside/Out" choreographic workshop, "Drive-In(side Out)," on Saturday, Oct. 2, at 7 p.m. at ChiTown Movies, 2343 S. Throop St., preceded by a welcome party and DJ starting at ...


Gay News

Chicago Dance History Project moving to Ruth Page Center 2021-09-17
- Chicago Dance History Project (CDHP)—which investigates, documents and presents the individual and institutional past of Chicago dance—plans to move into The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., as an artist in residence. ...


Gay News

Joffrey welcomes four dancers from South Korea, Spain and the U.S. 2021-09-15
- The Joffrey Ballet's Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director Ashley Wheater MBE, The and President and CEO Greg Cameron announced the addition of four dancers to the Joffrey roster for the 2021-22 season: Brian Bennett (Lanham, Maryland), ...


Gay News

DANCE Ensemble Espanol to open Auditorium Theatre season Oct. 16 2021-09-10
- Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater, in residence at Northeastern Illinois University, will return to the Auditorium Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 16, at 7:30 p.m. The company will mark the finale performance of its 45th-anniversary "Zafiro Flamenco ...


Gay News

Footwork dancers to be featured Sept. 10 in Art on theMART event 2021-09-05
- "Dance Down by The River"—an evening of Chicago dance and music—is coming to the Riverwalk in conjunction with Art on theMART thanks to a Chicago Presents grant awarded by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.