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Thursday April 24, 2014
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Ann Arborite Gregory George

 

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with the tool belt."

When George was six, his father took him to see Rudolf Nureyev in Sleeping Beauty at the Detroit Opera House. Afterward, George announced that he wanted to be a dancer. His father, an engineer at General Motors who briefly played violin for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and his mother, a homemaker, were supportive. Though his peers in elementary school in the Detroit suburb of Wayne taunted him as a "mama's boy" and called him a "fairy," George stuck to his dancing.

As a teenager, things got easier. "I went to a teen dance, and I could move really well, and the girls really appreciated that. And the guys thought, maybe that's not so bad," he recalls. It also helped that he was a good athlete who could throw a football as well as land a mean pirouette.

Now fifty-three, divorced, and the father of a sixteen-year-old Huron High student, Gabby, George says matter-of-factly: "The ballet world is full of gay men. I'm just not one of them." Handsome, with a small muscular frame and longish hair, George directs the Children's Ballet Theatre of Michigan in Lansing and is a freelance choreographer. A former principal with the Ohio Ballet in Akron and the Indianapolis Ballet Theatre, he's optimistically planning a bold new project: starting an adult professional ballet company in Ann Arbor. All this in addition to his construction work with Washtenaw Woodwrights.

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