Christopher Gillis; Acclaimed Modern Dancer, Choreographer

Christopher Gillis, choreographer and a critically acclaimed leading dancer with the Paul Taylor Dance Company, has died at his home in New York City. He was 42.

Gillis died Saturday of AIDS complications, a spokeswoman for the company said.

On the West Coast, the New York dancer had performed a lead role in the company's parody of "From Soup to Nuts" in Los Angeles in 1986. He danced several roles with the company in performances at UCLA's Royce Hall.

Last year, when he performed with his sister, Margie Gillis, in San Francisco, a San Francisco Chronicle critic noted: "As a leading member of the Paul Taylor Dance Company for the past 15 years, Christopher Gillis has established himself as one of the outstanding modern dancers of the late 20th Century."

Gillis was born in Montreal, the son of Olympic skiers Gene Gillis and Rhonda Wurtele. He began his modern-dance training in 1972 and joined the Taylor company a few years later.

He danced major roles in Taylor productions of "Le Sacre du Printemps," "Profiles," "Arden Court" and "Speaking in Tongues."

A prolific and versatile choreographer, Gillis created 21 works to music ranging from classical Mozart to popular Dionne Warwick. He performed his final piece, a solo meditation on death called "Landscape," in New York last January.

In addition to his parents and sister Margie, Gillis is survived by another sister, Nancy Anderson, and a brother, Jere Alan Gillis, both of Montreal.

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