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 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

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

This article shared 12884 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 12884 times since Wed Feb 13, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago announces programs for May 17-19 season finale 2024-04-17
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (HSDC) announced program selections for Spring Series: Of Joy, the final installment of Season 46, Abundance. The engagement will include four unique works, once ...


Gay News

Theater Review: Billy Elliot, The Musical 2024-02-19
- Book and Lyrics: Lee Hall; Music: Elton John. At: Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora Tickets: 630-896-6666 or Paramountaurora.com; $28-$79. Runs through March 24 Billy Elliot: The Musical may nearly be two decades old, but ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ JoJo Siwa, Tom Holland, Bowen Yang, Pet Shop Boys, Mariah Carey 2024-02-02
- In the wake of Nigel Lythgoe exiting So You Think You Can Dance, queer personality JoJo Siwa is returning to the series, per Deadline. Siwa, who was a judge on season 17 of the Fox show, will replace Lythgoe, who left ...


Gay News

DANCE Choreographer Dwight Rhoden talks David Bowie, Alvin Ailey, queerness 2024-01-31
- In "STAR DUST: A Ballet Tribute to David Bowie," Complexions Contemporary Ballet co-founders Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson—backed by their Alvin Ailey lineage—and their dance troupe tackle many of the ...


Gay News

Chicago Dancers United and The Dancers' Fund become Chicago Dance Health Fund 2023-12-14
--From a press release - Chicago Dancers United, which has supported the health and wellness of Chicago's professional dance community through The Dancers' Fund for more than 30 years, announces that, effective January 1, 2024, the organization will operate and distribute ...


Gay News

DANCE 'Sugar Hill: The Ellington/Strayhorn Nutcracker' running Dec. 20-30 2023-12-12
- Tony-winning producers David Garfinkle and Dr. Ron Simons announced the world-premiere of "Sugar Hill: The Ellington/Strayhorn Nutcracker"—a holiday dream told in dance—which will play at Chicago's Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. ...


Gay News

MOVIES Rick Cosnett chats about 'Shoulder Dance,' Molly and Jason Momoa 2023-12-05
- In the new movie Shoulder Dance, which is out on streaming, friends Ira (played by out actor Matt Dallas, looking and sounding quite different than from his days on TV's Kyle XY) and Roger (played by ...


Gay News

DANCE Deeply Rooted performing Nov. 3 at the Auditorium Theatre 2023-09-27
- The Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr., is presenting Deeply Rooted Dance Theater—a Chicago-based contemporary dance company rooted in traditions of American and African-American dance—in a one-night-only performance ...


Gay News

Chicago Dancers United raises more than $365K at Dance for Life 2023-08-29
- Chicago Dancers United (CDU)—which supports the health and wellness of Chicago's professional dance community—welcomed 1,600 people to the 32nd annual Dance for Life on Aug. 19 at Auditorium Theatre, per ...


Gay News

Teen suspect arrested in killing of gay dancer 2023-08-05
- The New York Police Department arrested a suspect in the fatal stabbing of 28-year-old O'Shae Sibley, who was attacked last weekend at a Brooklyn gas station. According to The Advocate, Sibley, a professional dancer, had been ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Drag news, HIV-bias lawsuit, Disney, Brittney Griner, gay dancer 2023-08-04
- Swastika flag-toting neo-Nazis, some of them armed, were at a Wisconsin LGBTQ+ Pride celebration that included a drag show, The Advocate reported. Members of the neo-Nazi extremist group Blood Tribe joined other right-wing hate groups, like ...


Gay News

Billy Masters: Cattrall passive-aggressively returns just like that 2023-06-06
- "I kinda look like a 200-year-old pole dancer now! I don't think that's gonna happen, but thank you anyway." —Sylvester Stallone's response when Sherri Shepherd asks if he'll wear his tank top and booty shorts in ...


Gay News

ART on THE MART's summer programs include Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project, Pride celebration 2023-05-11
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL — ART on THE MART, an innovative digital art project that transforms a Chicago architectural landmark into a larger-than-life canvas, will introduce two new commissions this summer. Building Light, a new projection by Gensler, ...


Gay News

South Chicago Dance Theatre to debut 'Memoirs of Jazz' on June 10 2023-05-09
--From a press release - (May 8, 2023) Through the 1960s and '70s, Jazz in the Alley on Chicago's South Side was a hotbed for jazz and a meeting place for some of the country's prominent musicians, visual artists, poets, activists, ...


Gay News

Artemis Singers presents June 10 "Better Times Will Come" Pride Concert and Dance 2023-05-03
--From a press release - CHICAGO─Artemis Singers, Chicago's lesbian feminist chorus, will present "Better Times Will Come" Pride Concert & Dance, Saturday, June 10, at the Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox Ave. ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

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 Transgender 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
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
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     
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.