When you believe in something it becomes true. Today I believe that Gareth George Thomas Chapman is singing and dancing with Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, David Bowie, Michael Jackson and so many others.
I met Gareth when I was hired to choreograph for the Original Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus. He had volunteered to be a featured dancer in some numbers. The 1st piece I set on him was “Fame” which lyrics state: “I’m gonna make it to heaven. Light up the sky like a flame, fame. I’m gonna live forever, baby remember my name.”
As the director of Body & Soul Dance Theatre I fell in love with his willingness to try anything. Even when it made him giggle uncontrollably. He was always willing to put forth great effort which always paid off in the end.
I was able to see him grow into what he called a “tiny dancer”. He is an integral part of our dance family. My last conversation with him was about how he came to class in MY dance pants. Yet, another pair of pants of mine that be “borrowed” for class one day and never returned. He flippantly responded how he is the only man that has been in my pants for at least the last 5 years and sauntered to his spot on the dance floor chuckling.
True, Gareth has worn my pants, he has also worn my bra, dress and shoes when he played Tracy singing “Good Morning Baltimore” from “Hair”. Of all of the things he has stolen from me, most of all he stole my heart.
I spent many a moment with him from creating props and costumes for The Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus, Body & Soul Dance Theatre, and Broadway Kids Studio to teaching him how to drive. We shared many laughs together and today most of all I want to remember those moments. He was more than just a dancer, he was more than a friend, he is my family.