The Gustavian Weekly

“A man among penguins” | The Gustavian Weekly

By Sam Grace Staff Writer | March 14, 2008 | Variety

Meet Your Fellow Gustie: Christian DeMarais

Christian DeMarais can easily describe himself in one word: “gangster.”

“Pimpin’ ain’t easy, but it’s necessary,” said Christian, quoting his favorite line from Ice Cube’s hit song “Down For Whatever.”

A first-year student from Shoreview, MN, Christian has already made a lasting impression on the Gustavus community through his great sense of humor and addictive personality.

First-year Christian DeMarais has performed in an ecclectic collection of events. He has even performed in front of President George W. Bush.Perhaps one of Christian’s most notable and well-known characteristics is tap dancing. Since the age of seven, Christian has won countless awards and performed in front of thousands of people, including the President of the United States.

President George W. Bush recently watched Christian perform in Rochester, MN, at a political rally for Norm Coleman. He was also a two-time winner of the Amateur Talent Contest at the Minnesota State Fair.

“I performed at the Grandstand in front of around 10,000 people—twice,” said Christian.

Last December, he spent twelve days in Beijing performing with American and Chinese tap dancers at the Beijing International Arts Festival.

“I was invited [to China] by one of my instructors at the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, a tap festival I attend every summer,” he said.

Christian also spent the first week of J-Term at the National Foundation for Advancement of the Arts festival in Miami. Over 8,000 people audition and only 140 were accepted this year.

“I love tap dancing because I can always use it as a stress reliever,” said DeMarais. “I don’t have to worry about anything except dancing. It’s not like the daily grind of your life. Dancing always brings something new and exciting.”

During Shared Space last semester, Christian was able to showcase his talents by performing an original improvisational tap dance.

“I liked Shared Space because it was a lot of fun to watch other student choreography—to see how creative everyone else is,” he said.

Acting is also something that Christian values in his life. He has already performed in Gustavus’ theater productions, playing Dylan/Loner in Columbinus and Miles Gloriosus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

“[Dylan/Loner] was the most demanding role I’ve ever had to play,” said Christian, who spent hours researching his character, getting into the head of a Columbine killer and trying to understand his feelings.

“It was really difficult to play and pull off. Columbinus taught me a lot about being an actor and putting a message behind what you’re doing.”

Christian’s recent role in Forum gave him an opportunity to act in a completely different manner.

“My character in Forum is so different from what I am: [Miles is] super sexual, super sexist and [a] pig of a person. But it was really fun to make fun of people in the audience and make them feel super awkward,” he said.

When he is not acting or dancing, Christian spends much of his free time indulging in other interests including Harry Potter, penguins and music. Rap is among his favorite genres. He particularly enjoys underground rappers who speak out about politics and social issues.

“I see rappers as poets—they have a lot deeper meaning than you’d think,” he said, “…and penguins are bomb.”

Senior Molly Doyle has been friends with Christian since the beginning of the year and considers him to be an amazing friend.

“I consider Christian such a good friend because he is a person that always makes the people around him laugh and have a good time,” said Doyle. “I won’t even pretend that he’s not a charmer. He is sweet, funny and charismatic when he’s just being himself. He’s the type of person that captivates the attention of everyone in the room when he wasn’t even trying to.”

This semester, Christian has decided to become more actively involved with dance and will be performing an original tap dancing routine for the spring show along with the Gustavus Dance Troupe. He will also be accompanying Senior Britta Peterson as an actor in her piece called “A Wee Violence.”

“He is such an easy person to work with, which is a complete necessity in the artistic world,” said Peterson. “He is quick with learning, absorbing notes and [absorbing] the process in general.”

“He is such a likeable person because he is very comfortable with who he is,” said Doyle. “In turn, he makes the people around him comfortable. He has a great sense of humor and I’m always laughing when I’m around him. I love him like a fat kid loves cake.”

Throughout his life, Christian plans to continue being actively involved in the things he loves, including tap dancing, traveling and everything in between.

Photo By: Alex Messenger

Sam Grace