-by Liz Berntson
The Etoile (etoile, in case you didn’t know, translates to star) Questionaire was created to get to learn more about the stars at Washington Heights Dance Project (WHDP).
We’ll be featuring the Etoile Questionnaire once a month to get to know all of the stars at our organization – here at WHDP, we have an abundance of personalities that bring light to all of our lives.
Whether they be students, parents, teachers or someone otherwise involved in some way with WHDP, they are the “etoiles” whose luminosity connects us to ourselves and each other, the stars who are forever brilliantly shining on our world – in the arts, in friendship and in community.
So without further ado, this month, we’ll be getting to know Gentry Isaiah George (known by his students as Mr. George):
1.What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A life with family and friends, as well as a career where I have the opportunity to empower and encourage.
2.What is your greatest fear?
Well... I hope to maintain a healthy lifestyle and live with little to no pain, if possible.
3.What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
4.What is the trait you most deplore in others?
5.Which living dancer do you most admire?
Whoa... anyone who has courage to train and perform has my admiration.
6.When did you first know you wanted to be a dancer?
When I was ten years old I saw the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater perform. I knew then I could grow up to have what it takes to be a professional dancer.
7. What is your current state of mind?
Work Hard. Be Kind.
8.What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
9.What is the quality you most like in a dancer?
10.Which dance words or phrases do you most overuse?
"Yes" and "good job".
11.What or who is the greatest love of your life?
12.When and where were you happiest?
When I was a child, with my family.
13.Aside from the ability to dance, which talent would you most like to have?
The ability to play piano and speak several languages.
14.If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would like to spend less time on the internet and more time asleep.
15.What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Founding ZEST Collective Dance and working for Dance Project of Washington Heights have been my greatest achievements.
16.If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, who or what would it be?
A horse or a golden retriever, with a sweet and compassionate owner.
17.Where would you most like to live?
Inwood or Riverdale, NYC. In truth so long as I can live and work near my students I am happy.
18.What is your most treasured possession?
I have plant a friend gave me a long time ago. I recently threw away all my old furniture so it is pretty much the one thing I still look after.
19. What is your most marked characteristic?
20. What do you most value in your students?
Their smiles and their abundance of joy.
21. Who are your favorite dancers?
My students at Dance Project of Washington Heights of course.
22. What is the most memorable dance you have ever witnessed?
I once saw Alonzo King's Lines Ballet performance Jacob's Pillow during a thunderstorm. The entire theater was on edge as no one had ever experienced such a powerful storm, yet the dancers were so luminous and expressive. The work was about the migration of birds and it was so brilliant to witness them live during such a scary evening.
23.Which professional dancer do you most identify with?
I identify with anyone who expresses great gratitude for life and shares their joy and discoveries with the world.
24.Who are your heroes in real life – dance-related or otherwise?
My mom and dad. Also my teachers Linda Agyapong, Sylvia Padron, Peter London, and Vladimir Issaev.
25. What are your favorite names?
Names from the past are often very beautiful to hear.
26. What is it that you most dislike?
People who are unsupportive and who actually go out of their way to bring others down.
27. What is your greatest regret?
The times I thought telling a lie was better than telling the truth.
28. What is your motto?
Peace, Light, Love, Unity.
29. What words of wisdom would you offer your students?
Never Give Up.