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"How did Gary inspire you?" In our dancers' own words...

We asked all of our dancers to share with us how Gary inspired them the most. We'd like to share a few with you.

“Gary’s tireless ability to inspire discipline and creativity through dance consequently built a community based on love and respect. He had a gift for instilling in each of us a drive to find our sweatiest edge. Gary built his classes to crescendo in a final group unison dance phrase that would bring the diverse class members together in body and spirit. We all looked forward to that, the old ladies, the middle aged men and the tweens . Gary’s gift of instilling individual uniqueness while relating to and communicating with a diverse group of humans through dance is what I aspire to create in my classroom every day.” ~Kristin, guest artist

"Gary had a sharp level of appreciation and memory for any of his mentors, colleagues and friends in the dance world. This is what really struck me about him - he could recall an event from moons past with compelling detail, and honored that memory and those involved with his whole being. With mutual mentors, colleagues and friends, and mutual appreciation for the value of said individuals, I believe it was there that our connection was born. It’s not easy to regard dance and art education with such a high standard for execution in today’s modern world, where business is an undeniable and sometimes poisonous piece to the puzzle. Gary treated his students, parents and colleagues as friends and loved ones, with their best interest in mind, and the business of it all came second, as almost a necessary evil." ~Leighann, guest choreographer

"Gary made me feel so comfortable and welcomed from the first day I met him. Working with Gary always put a smile on my face and made my heart feel warm because he was so genuinely happy to be doing what he loved to do most - dance! I am inspired to provide kindness and compassion to my students as I saw Gary did. I am inspired for them to see how much this art means to me, just like it meant so much to Gary. I am also incredibly inspired by his sheer talent! Gary had such impeccable sense of timing and musicality. He showed finesse and style. He was a true showman. I loved watching him tap." ~Jordan, guest choreographer

"Gary's love of dance and his passion to never stop dancing inspired me the most. Age was never an excuse for you to stop dancing because if Gary was still dancing why couldn’t you. His passion for dance was evident in every class he taught, every piece he choreographed and in his endless stories he had from his career. Dance was his life and life was dance to Gary. Also, his nurturing and loving spirit. Gary had a way of knowing you and knowing just want to say to give you encouragement, lift your spirits and to make you want to work harder. You wanted to do your best because he believed in you, even if you doubted yourself, because you never wanted to let him down." ~Tiffany, GGDC Ensemble dancer

“Gary always had you thinking anything was achievable. Be it doing a hundred crunches in one sitting, to extending your leg a few inches higher, nothing seemed impossible in the presence of Gary. His unforgettable passion for the art of dancing and teaching shined through at a constant. His drive and ambition is what I continue to strive for, as well as his hope to never stop believing.” ~Tamika, GGDC Ensemble dancer

“Gary inspired me most with his passion for dance and the way he shared that with his students. When you took a class with Gary, he challenged you to give your all and be the very best you could be. But seeing the joy in his face when he saw you succeed was worth every minute of hard work he put you through. (“And one more time!” his famous saying.) His kindness, compassion, sense of humor and the sound of his laughter are what I miss the most about him. To know Gary was to love him, and being able to dance with him was truly a gift.” ~Lori, GGDC Ensemble tap dancer

“Gary inspired me as an instructor. The way he could break down the most complicated steps so dancers could get them was amazing. He’d start with the first eight counts, then the next eight and so on. He’d make sure each count was “good” before he added another. Then he’d speed up the ryhthm of the steps putting everything together. He was so patient with all of us.” ~Cindy, GGDC Ensemble tap dancer

“Gary never did anything half way–his ability to put in 110% amazed me. He was always striving for the perfect combination, and he showed us that if you worked hard enough, the final product would turn out exactly how you wanted it. Gary also had a way of encouraging us. I remember during jazz warm-ups he would push my leg just a little higher, because he knew I could do it. I will never forget the drum that he used for core exercises because he would slow the beat wayyy down as we were holding tough positions! Gary was a great role model, for any dancer, and I’m truly lucky that I had him as one of my instructors.” ~Samantha, GGDC Ensemble dancer

“With his radiating personality, Gary always seemed to brighten a dull room, laugh and put a smile on everyone faces (even when we all were struggling in his class with his abdominal phrases!) When he was creating work, I could see the passion behind the movement and the way he spoke about each phrase or step he was crafting. That attribute of Gary really allowed me, as an artist, to live in every moment of choreography, life and happiness.“ ~Claire, guest artist

“Gary inspired me from from day one. We met at a summer dance intensive; and I’m generally not a bold person, but I walked right up to him after class and said, “I want to dance with you.” And that was it! Gary’s passion for dance was infectious! Thirty minutes of abs? No big deal! You did it because he had a way of making you want to do it. He would make you do the steps over and over and over, and he would get so excited about the smallest ounce of improvement or when something came together just right. Gary’s incredible support was beyond amazing. He never expressed any doubt in me. When I decided to make the next step in my career, he supported me, and he willingly and happily let me go. Some of the best years of my life were spent in those beautiful studios. One of the best memories I have of Gary are of he and I rehearsing a duet. He would just lift and toss me around and I never had an ounce of doubt that he wouldn’t be there to catch me. Trust, support and passion - that’s how Gary inspired me.” ~Lynn, GGDC Ensemble dancer

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