Christopher Calvin Harrison

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Christopher Harrison
Christopher Calvin Harrison Profile.jpg
Born (1961-07-11) July 11, 1961 (age 53)
Evanston, Illinois, USA
Nationality American
Notable work(s) AntiGravity Performance Company, AntiGravity Fitness, AntiGravity Yoga, AntiGravity’s Crash Test Dummies, AntiGravity Tour, Circus Diva
Movement Aerial Arts
Website
www.antigravityyoga.com www.anti-gravity.com

Christopher Calvin Harrison (born July 11, 1961) is an American director/choreographer and Founder of AntiGravity, Inc..

Christopher began developing his movement style as a tumbling specialist competing in the 1978 USSAF World Games and later as a dancer in Broadway productions.[1] Since then, Harrison has spearheaded artistic projects ranging from original theatrical productions like AntiGravity: An American Band and AntiGravity’s Crash Test Dummies to events including the Inauguration of President Barack Obama and a segment of the closing ceremonies of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.

In 1990, Harrison assembled a group of athletes, some of which were Olympic competitors, known as Team AntiGravity. His team, in collaboration with pop celebrities like No Doubt and P. Diddy, gained notoriety for performances in numerous entertainment industry award shows, including the Academy Awards, the Video Music Awards, and the Grammys. Harrison has directed productions for numerous international corporations, including Microsoft, Samsung, Google, Inc., and Marc Jacobs.

He now works as an aerial designer for Broadway shows and the Metropolitan Opera, as well as director/choreographer for original theatrical productions including the AntiGravity Six-City Tour of Brazil.

Harrison is also the creator of AntiGravity Aerial Yoga, a fitness technique that combines aerial arts and traditional yoga practices. He has franchised the program and introduces this technique at fitness centers on the world. Christopher Harrison's AntiGravity Lab is his studio in Midtown Manhattan, NYC.

Early Years[edit]

Harrison choreographed his first performance for the closing ceremonies celebration of the New York Marathon at the Roseland Ballroom. His group of acrobats were credited as “ZeroGravity.” Harrison changed the name of the group to “AntiGravity” when his team secured an annual feature in the Easter Show at the Radio City Music Hall.

He directed his first full-length acrobatic show for Club Med Resorts in 1991.[2] For six years, the interdependence he established with the international resort company allowed his performers to attain access to rehearsal space, where he continued to develop the troupe’s acrobatic style.[3]

Theater[edit]

MET Opera[edit]

Harrison has had a long-standing relationship with the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.[4]

He led the Opera’s first in-house acrobatic troupe in 1992 in 14 stage appearances. The following year, Harrison created acrobatic staging in a production of Berlioz’s Les Troyens.

In 1995 to 1996, Harrison created staging for: Un Ballo in Maschera, La Traviata, Salome, Turandot, and Pagliacci. In 1997, the MET tested Harrison’s mettle by adding acrobatic acts to Ariadne auf Naxos and La Damnation de Faust. He collaborated with many of the house’s notable figures, including Hal Prince and Franco Zeffirelli.

From 1998 to 2011, Harrison consulted on acrobatic and aerial performances in the following opera productions: Aida, Samson et Delilah, Armida, and Manon.[5]

Theatrical Productions[edit]

Harrison directed his first full-scale theatrical show called “Circus Diva” at the Roseland Ballroom in March 1998. The show was marketed as a celebration of sexual diversity.[6]

In 2001, Harrison produced, choreographed, and directed “AntiGravity’s Crash Test Dummies,” a full-length acrobatic performance about reject crash test dummies at an “Extreme Product Testing Center” and a janitor who falls in love with one of the dummies as she is about to go into the recycling bin.[7]

In 2002, Harrison created a benefit performance for the September 11th terrorist attacks called AntiGravity: An American Band. The show was Harrison’s personal tribute to New York City.[8]

In July 2007, Harrison produced and created “AntiGravity: The Tour” at the Hammerstein Ballroom. The show ran in venues across the US.[9]

In 2010, Harrison revived “AntiGravity: The Tour” in a partnership with Banco Santander. The show was performed in six cities in Brazil, including São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Recife and Belo Horizonte.

Aerial Design[edit]

Numerous theatrical producers have called upon Harrison’s expertise in aerial arts on many Broadway musicals. In the 1997 revival of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, Director Hal Prince used the AntiGravity Team for acrobatic staging. In the original production of Swing!, The Musical, which opened on Broadway in December 1999, Harrison was credited for providing the show’s “aerial flying” elements. Harrison designed an aerial act for Jane Krakowski in the revival of Nine, for which he shared in a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.

In the original production of Stephen Sondheim’s The Frogs, Harrison collaborated with director Susan Stroman on aerial design and created an aerial bungee number for Nathan Lane.[10]

Television[edit]

Christopher Harrison and the AntiGravity Team made its first television appearance in 1991 on the Miss America Pageant in a segment called “Extreme Dance” by choreographer Scott Salmon.[11]

In 1992, Harrison choreographed a commercial for BF Goodrich. USA Networks, in 1996, hired Harrison to choreograph a segment on the late night series “Up All Nite.” Other companies to feature Harrison’s work as a performer and choreographer in their television advertisement campaigns include Samsung and branding agency, Big Blue Dot.

In 1991, Harrison choreographed a segment of the half time show for an NBA All Star Game as well as a television special “Stay in School Jam” with MC Hammer.[12]

1n 2002, Harrison and the AntiGravity Team was featured on Fox’s “Good Day New York” newscast, as well as ABC’s “Good Morning America.” This was followed by a debut of the company on NBC’s “Today Show” in 2003.[13]

Harrison was also artistic director of promotional segments for Atlantic Motion Pictures, which aired on many premium networks, i.e. Starz and Encore.

In 2004, Mr. Harrison and the AntiGravity Team were spotlighted on Fox News.

Publications[edit]

BMG hired Harrison’s company on a print advertisement campaign, later followed by similar commissions by Bell Telephone, Lycra, Vogue Russia, Mercedes Benz and Joe Boxer for Penthouse Magazine. Dance Spirit Magazine features on this cover in 2003 an AntiGravity Team performer named Alexandra Apjarova.

In 1994, Sports Illustrated magazine reported on the performance group where Harrison acted as an art director for the Swimsuit Issue.

Olympic Games[edit]

The Salt Lake Organizing Committee hired Harrison and his company for nightly Awards Medal Plaza performances culminating in a performance for the Closing Ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.[14]

The Chicago Olympic Organizing Committee commissioned Harrison for a special performance for the 2016 Olympics Bid Committee in an effort to promote Chicago for selection as host city.

Harrison also directed a performance for the International Special Olympics in New York City in 1996.

Harrison also travelled to Singapore with Mayor Mike Bloomberg of New York City and then-Senator Hillary Clinton of New York to represent New York City in the 2012 Olympic Bid.

Award Shows[edit]

Harrison collaborated with rapper/producer P. Diddy and rapper Busta Rhymes in a number featuring Usher and Pharrell as a choreographer for the 2002 MTV Video Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.[15]

Harrison also worked with the music group No Doubt on a feature song presentation on the Grammy Awards in 2003. Harrison’s other TV award show projects include the Radio Music Awards in 2003, wherein the AntiGravity Team appeared with Michael Jackson, the BET Awards (2007, 2008) appearing alongside Nelly, Fergie, and 50 Cent. His work on awards shows reached an apogee with a performance on the 2007 Academy Awards.[16]

Presidential Inauguration Ceremony[edit]

In November 2009, Harrison travelled to the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. to design and choreograph a performance at the Neighborhood Ball for the Inauguration of President Barack Obama.[17] The AntiGravity Team was the only performance troupe invited to the ceremony.

Fitness[edit]

AntiGravity Yoga Level One[edit]

AerialYoga

In 2007, Harrison launched a fitness technique called AntiGravity Aerial Yoga,[18] which he began selling to fitness centers on the world, including Virgin Active Fitness in Milan,[19] Steve Nash Fitness World in Vancouver, British Columbia,[20] Madonna's Hard Candy Fitness in Moscow, and Crunch Fitness [21] throughout the US.

Personal life[edit]

Harrison’s personal struggle with the tenets of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints pertaining to homosexuality, greatly influenced his outlook on life. Harrison’s approach to athleticism, a fascination with flight and an attitude against graveness called "Be AIRful" culminates in an overall purview he calls the AntiGravity philosophy.[22]

At the age of 18, when Harrison was a student of theater and dance and a competitive cheerleader at the University of Utah, he was discovered by director Herbert Ross and choreographer Lynne Taylor-Corbett who cast him as a featured dancer in the film “Footloose.” [23]

He went on to appear in Broadway musicals, such as “Cats,” “Damn Yankees,” “Meet Me in St. Louis,” “West Side Story,” and “A Chorus Line.” [24]

In 1992, Harrison and the AntiGravity Team appeared alongside Marisa Tomei in “The Comedy of Errors” at the Delacorte Theater for the Shakespeare in the Park.[25]

Corporate Private Events[edit]

While many of Harrison’s keynote performances brought AntiGravity, Inc. significant attention from the press, including a two-page spread in the New York Times Arts and Leisure section, the company strove outside of the public eye on invitation-only showcases for corporations and fashion labels throughout the 1990s and early 2000s.

Technology companies, like Sun Microsystems, Comdex, Nokomis, Lotus Notes, Compaq, and IBM, were drawn to the brand’s high-energy style. In 2000, AntiGravity was selected to perform for the 20th Anniversary celebration of the Microsoft Corporation. They performed for Bill Gates again in 2007 and at the Microsoft Dynamics Convergence in 2008.[26]

From 1996 to 2000, the company performed for Sony Entertainment, Condé Nast Publications, DeBeers, Aveda, Canon, Johnson & Johnson, Mercedes Benz, Motorola, Samsung, Coldwell Banker, Avaya, Nortel, Chrysler, Forbes, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Target, Merrill Lynch, Oldsmobile, D’Agostinos and Footlocker. Moreover, in 1999, Harrison directed a private performance for the George Soros Millennium Celebration.

Among pharmaceutical companies, GlaxoWellcome was the first in a long series of commissions, including Pharmacia Upjohn, Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer, Novartis, Shire Pharmaceuticals, and Symbicort.

By 2000, the troupe, which had until then only performed acrobatic moves on the ground, began to incorporate aerial techniques using silk fabric able to hold human body weight under Christopher Harrison’s direction.

The AntiGravity Team also grew in size. Harrison now offered clients optional acrobatic vignettes like Cubeology, which displayed the athleticism of his performers as they climbed in unison on a suspended steel cube. With a wide array of consummate acts, the company began to perform for celebrities and icons, i.e. Heidi Klum and Marc Jacobs, at nightclubs in New York City. Hotels, restaurants, and casinos in New York and Atlantic City also took an interest in the company with showcases at Borgata, Le Cirque, and Tropicana.

From 2001 to 2004, Harrison directed performances for Jeep, McNeil, Redken, NASDAQ, Unilever, NYSE, Xerox, AT&T, Equinox Fitness, Mazda, Pepsico, Samuel Adams, WonderBra, Henri Bendel, FedEx, and Kohler.

From 2005 to 2007, Harrison directed performances for Gillette, Smirnoff, Daimler AG, Omnitel, AT&T, Standard & Poors, Walmart, Sterling Jewelers, and Sara Lee.[27]

With the company’s transition to fitness branding, Harrison sought to focus his attention away from the corporate sector, opting for select performances sporadically throughout the year.

From 2008 to 2011, Harrison directed performances for Lexus, Louis Vuitton, Hewlett-Packard, Deloitte, UTV Ignition Entertainment, IBM and Heineken.

Finally, Harrison has directed many special performances for notable figures, including George Soros, Giorgio Armani, and Richard Branson.[28]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gurewitsch, Matthew (2007). "A Troupe That Flies Without Wings, or Wires". New York Times. 
  2. ^ Gurewitsch, Matthew (2007). "A Troupe That Flies Without Wings, or Wires". New York Times. 
  3. ^ Yucel (2011). "Dance and Nude Photos of Gymnast Jenna Swain". Cultured Woman, LLC. 
  4. ^ Gurewitsch, Matthew (2007). "A Troupe That Flies Without Wings, or Wires". New York Times. 
  5. ^ "MET Opera Archives". Metropolitan Opera Family. Retrieved June 10, 2011. 
  6. ^ Willis, John (1997). Theater World. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 160. ISBN 978-1-55783-409-6. 
  7. ^ Van Gelder, Lawrence (2001). "One Slam-Bang Show". New York Times. 
  8. ^ "Concept Artists, LLC". Tribecca Designs. Retrieved June 10, 2011. 
  9. ^ Bellafonte, Gina (2007). "Where the Bodies Are Perfect and Not Very Earthbound". New York Times. 
  10. ^ Willis, John (1997). Theater World. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 160. ISBN 978-1-55783-409-6. 
  11. ^ "Miss America Archives". Miss America Organization. Retrieved June 10, 2011. 
  12. ^ "TV Highlights". New York Times. 
  13. ^ "Concept Artists, LLC". Tribecca Designs. Retrieved June 10, 2011. 
  14. ^ Porter, Stephen (2003). "Flying High". Live Design Online. 
  15. ^ "Concept Artists, LLC". Tribecca Designs. Retrieved June 10, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Movie Reviews Archive". New York Times. 
  17. ^ "AntiGravity To Perform at Obama's Neighborhood Ball in Washington, DC". Broadway World. 2009. 
  18. ^ "AntiGravity Yoga Programs". AntiGravity Fitness, LLC. Retrieved June 27, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Virgin Active Programs". Virgin Active. Retrieved June 10, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Steve Nash Programs". Steve Nash Sports Clubs. Retrieved June 10, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Crunch Fitness Programs". Crunch Fitness. Retrieved June 10, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Christopher Harrison's personal blog". Blogspot. Retrieved June 10, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Making 'Footloose': The Movie's Unsung Stars on the Prom Scene and (Gasp) Kevin Bacon's Dance Double". Moviefone. Retrieved June 10, 2011. 
  24. ^ Gurewitsch, Matthew (2007). "A Troupe That Flies Without Wings, or Wires". New York Times. 
  25. ^ "Theater Review Archives". New York Times. 
  26. ^ Gurewitsch, Matthew (2007). "A Troupe That Flies Without Wings, or Wires". New York Times. 
  27. ^ Gurewitsch, Matthew (2007). "A Troupe That Flies Without Wings, or Wires". New York Times. 
  28. ^ Gurewitsch, Matthew (2007). "A Troupe That Flies Without Wings, or Wires". New York Times. 

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