I remember taking class at Homer Bryant’s Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center (CMDC) as a little girl and coming to the studio early to watch Bryant’s advanced ballet class. He always demanded an absolute respect from his students that, quite frankly, was a little scary, but the result was beautiful. His motto, “The fun is in the discipline. The discipline is in the fun,” truly defines his teaching style. While I never actually took classes with Bryant, I loved every minute of watching them. Now, the inspirational teacher’s remarkable ways are caught on tape, so everyone can experience the awe that I once felt, peeking my head around the door of his studio.
Emmy-award winning producer Terry Spencer Hassel has created a 30-minute documentary film to tell Bryant’s tale. “Raising the Barre: The Homer Bryant Story” will premiere tomorrow (Wednesday, October 21) at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago at an event to benefit Bryant’s studio.
Among many performance and choreographic credits, Homer Bryant was a principal dancer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem and is Assistant Artistic Director at Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago. He currently devotes the majority of his time to running CMDC, which he founded in 1990. The center, located in Chicago’s South Loop in historic Dearborn Station, was opened with the goal of reaching out to underserved children so people of all races and socio-economic backgrounds could benefit from quality dance instruction.
Surely, Bryant will demand as much respect on screen as he does in the studio. For those that can’t make it to the “Raising the Barre” premiere, the film will also air on WTTW Chicago on December 17.