(CBS) – He grew up in Englewood and has since travelled the world as a professional dancer.
This weekend, Vernard Gilmore is performing in chicago with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
CBS 2’s Harry Porterfield tells says he’s someone you should know.
In its 56 years of existence, the dance theater has performed for more than 23 million people in 71 countries. Under a U.S. congressional resolution, it is known as America’s culture ambassador to the world.
“I have traveled all over Europe, asia, I’ve been to Russia. My life has now been more enriched by all these experiences,” Gilmore says.
A graduate of Curie High School, Gilmore joined the company in 1997. An active choreographer, he teaches workshop and master classes around the world and helps train young people.
“It’s all about giving these young dancers, an opportunity to see something different, to be pushed past their boundaries, and to allow themselves to dream,” says Gilmore.
Case in point: His recent session with students of the Footworks dance studio on West 76th Street.
“Giving back is very important, because that’s how we exist, that’s how we become a culture,” Gilmore says.
How does a dancer stay at the top of his game? By working at it, constantly.
“Being in the company, you’re constantly working to stay in the company,” Gilmore says. “You’re only hired for a year contract. There’s not a time when you ever actually feel like you’ve arrived. You’re constantly working to achieve the perfection.”