Christopher Gillis born 26 February 1951 (d. 1993)
Christopher Gillis was an important gay male dancer and choreographer and member of the Paul Taylor Dance Company.
Born in Montreal, Quebec, the son of the late Gene Gillis, a US Olympic skier, and Rhona Wurtele, a Canadian Olympic skier who competed in the 1948 Winter Olympics along with her twin sister Rhoda. His sister, Margie Gillis, is also a dancer and choreographer; they were dance partners from childhood and collaborated on numerous shows. His brother, Jere Gillis, played professional hockey from 1977 to 1987.
Christopher Gillis joined the Paul Taylor Dance Company in 1976 in New York City. He lived and worked in New York for the next seventeen years. His major roles with Taylor included the detective in Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rehearsal), as well as leads in Profiles, Arden Court, and Speaking Tongues. He also danced with the O'Donnell and José Limón companies while making frequent appearances with his sister Margie Gillis, for whom he also choreographed. He began making and showing his own dances in the early 1980s, contributing to the repertories of the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Mikhail Baryshnikov's White Oak Dance Project, the Repertory Dance Theater, and the Fairfax Ballet.
Having been one of the Paul Taylor Dance Company's leading dancers and showing every sign of becoming a great choreographer - he choreographed more than twenty works - he was designated Taylor's heir-apparent. Unfortunately, this was not to be as he died from AIDS complications at the age of 42 in 1993.
The Taylor Foundation in New York City, which provides finding to support the Paul Taylor Dance Company's work, will house the Christopher Gillis / Alumni Dancers Lounge from 2010, in memory of the beloved dancer who performed with the Taylor Company for so many years.
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