Friday, December 7, 2012

My Dance Mom: Christopher Perricelli

There has been no one on this planet who has given more to me than this remarkable, incredible, phenomenal woman...referred to by my niece and pup as, "Nonni Barbara!"  She is without a doubt my most precious gift, and if it was not for her loving, caring, and generous heart I would not have been able to pursue this career path.  

It could not have been easy for her to see me gravitate toward the arts, especially after she spent all that money for private school!  While my friends were going off to become lawyers and doctors she was taking me to Wal-Mart looking for tights…in the woman's section (being a male dancer is not a popular hobby among boys - when's the last time YOU saw a dance belt at Target?)

She is an angel, my mom.  With no extra money for anything luxurious, she always made sure I had nice clothes for school and would drive an hour every week, exhausted I am sure, just so I could have the most delicious Italian bread in western New York for sandwiches every week.  

Witnessing my mom's journey from a part-time department store clerk to a full-time sales director of a major grocery brand helped me to see with my own two eyes that hard work and talent can lead to success.  She is an accomplished businesswoman today, but had to forfeit her dreams of being a teacher to be a mom. . . although she has been my most influential teacher.  

She taught me how to squeeze a dollar, clean, cook, and most importantly to love. 

She was the one who picked me up and drove me to rehearsals for the spring musical in high school - my first introduction to the arts.  When I was old enough to have my own wheels she was always there to help me put gas in the car, and made sure I never went hungry on many long days.  She would come to all the shows and concerts she could, and after every performance she would meet me in the lobby afterwards and say how great I was…actually her words were always the same. . ."You were the best."  

She saw Niagara Falls, my hometown, as a limiting space for my sister and me, and encouraged us to study out of town.  Dancewise, I was a late bloomer, so on my breaks from college I would go to NYC.  

Mom made sure I didn't arrive empty-handed. 

Not only would she pay or use her miles to get me there, but there was always extra for food and some more to treat myself.  She made sure to remind me to be a great houseguest for my friends who were already in the Big Apple fighting for their chance at the Broadway pie. I always washed the dishes, stocked the fridge, and left a little something when I left.  Good manners are very difficult to come by this day and age.  I'm glad my momma gave me some class, and practical smarts too, like putting double toilet paper barriers down in public restrooms!

Over the past several years I have taken a break from performing to see more action from the other side of the table.  My mom was there to guide me as I created a dance talent agency, and began marketing myself as a teacher, judge, and choreographer.  She has passed on her grace and sense of humor. She has a natural quality that makes everyone comfortable around her, and at the same time gets the job done with absolute integrity and professionalism.  

Recently, my creative passion has turned to choreographing pixels instead of bodies.  Being my biggest fan, my mom is happy to send my work out to potential clients. And because she has an incredible eye for design, she has great critiques and ideas.  Is she a mom or momager, teacher or mentor? 

If you ask me, there are no limits when love is your religion.

Christopher Perricelli has been teaching all levels of multiple dance disciplines and fitness classes since 1997, and is an accomplished performing artist and choreographer.  He has presented master classes around the world at conventions, universities, and schools for dance, and has assisted in choreographing, staging, and casting various dance-related projects.  He has been sought after by Chicago’s premier dance and fitness centers to create and implement dance and fitness programs for his expertise in jazz, musical theater dance, male dancer, and dance fitness.  Some highlights include: curriculum development for Columbia College Chicago, Joffrey Academy of Dance, Giordano Dance Center and dance fitness formats for Chicago Sports Clubs, Equinox Fitness, Crunch, and Lakeshore Athletic Club. He represented the Midwest to launch Nike Rockstar Workout, “Hip Hop, Latin, and Sol” under direction of Jaimie King (Madonna, Britney Spears). He was principal dancer for Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago under choreographer Mia Michaels (Celine, So You Think You Can Dance).  Mr Perricelli was the dance captain and swing while creating the staging “bible” for National Tour of Footloose, The Musical, and pre-Broadway International tour of West Side Story

Christopher currently produces video, visual effects, and computer graphics, and is collaborating with artists and production companies to elevate the performance experience by combining innovative technology and live

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