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Gotta dance: out choreographer-actor Scott Grossman shines on top TV pageants, in films, and in Broadway shows. But first came ... football?



Not every guy who plays football wants to win the Super Bowl. Just ask openly gay Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850.  based choreographer Scott Grossman. The man behind the sashays and chantes of Donald Tramp's Miss USA Not to be confused with Miss America.
The Miss USA pageant is a beauty contest that has been held every year since 1952, with winners competing in the Miss Universe pageant. The Miss Universe Organization operates both pageants, as well as Miss Teen USA.
, Miss Teen USA Miss Teen USA is a beauty pageant run by the Miss Universe Organization for girls aged 15-19. The reigning titleholder is Hilary Cruz of Colorado.

The pageant was first held in 1983 and has been broadcast live on a succession of channels, most recently on NBC from 2003-2007.
, and Miss Universe pageants played high school and college football because he couldn't be a cheerleader.

"I hated football, [but] I was fascinated with cheerleaders Notable cheerleaders
  • Paula Abdul, Los Angeles Lakers, Van Nuys High School
  • Christina Aguilera, North Allegheny Intermediate High School[]
  • Kirstie Alley
  • Ann-Margret
  • Toni Basil
  • Kim Basinger
  • Halle Berry
  • Sandra Bullock[0]
," says the former offensive tackle. "The jumping and the leaping ... and I did the splits better than they did!"

Not bad for a beefy beefy, beefyness

1. in dog conformation, used to describe overdevelopment of musculature in the hindquarters.

2. in cattle, used to designate the desirable physical conformation of a beef animal, but an undesirable character in dairy cattle.
 guy who stands six foot two and weighs in at 210 pounds. But in the 1970s, decades before MTV's Camp Jim, there weren't many outlets for a young man who could do a perfect C jump. Especially not in Staples, Minn. (population 3,104), three hours north of Minneapolis. "I'd get caught cheerleading The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject.
Please [ improve this article] or discuss the issue on the talk page.
 behind the barn, and I was always ashamed," recalls Grossman, 44. "'Oh, you can't cheerlead cheer·lead  
intr.v. cheer·led , cheer·lead·ing, cheer·leads
1. To lead organized cheering, as at sports events.

2.
; that's for girls,' my mother would say. And all l was doing as a little kid was expressing myself."

Football became a substitute be cause the intricacy in·tri·ca·cy  
n. pl. in·tri·ca·cies
1. The condition or quality of being intricate; complexity.

2. Something intricate: the intricacies of a census form.

Noun 1.
 of running plays on the field felt right to him somehow. "It was kind of like choreography," he says. "Block to the left, block to the right, go forward." Although he dreaded the workouts ("So grating"), Grossman played well enough to land a football scholarship to Concordia College in Moorehead, Minn. But in his sophomore year, showbiz, as it often does, changed everything: He got the lead in the school's musical production of Li'l Abner.

"Can't you just see it?" he laughs, and then bursts into song: "'If I had my druthers druth·ers  
pl.n. Informal
A choice or preference: "Given their druthers, these hell-for-leather free marketeers might sell the post office" George F. Will.
 ...!'

"I found a love of dance through this musical," Grossman continues. The 19-year-old farm boy gave up the school gym's chin-up bar for the ballet barre in Nancy Hoggins's basement studio. For a year, he was the only guy in a ballet class with sixth-grade girls. "All my football buddies thought I was crazy," he says, "but I knew I had to follow something. And I was a natural at it." He shrugs. "I was born a dancer."

That realization would eventually lead Grossman to a full scholarship in 1982 at Los Angeles's Dupree Dance Academy, where he began his years of professional dancing, his large, limber frame anchoring dance lines in music videos such as Michael Jackson's "Beat It." He joined the Miss Universe organization The Miss Universe Organization is the organization that currently owns and runs the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA beauty contests. Based in New York, it is owned jointly by NBC Universal and Donald Trump. The current president is Paula Shugart.  as an assistant choreographer, then took over as choreographer of that production and for Miss USA in 1993. For April's show at the Kodak Theater he worked with 51 delegates to prepare them for a live prime-time TV special in just eight days. "I get it on time and under budget so I don't get fired," he laughs. The latest sample of his wizardry wiz·ard·ry  
n. pl. wiz·ard·ries
1. The art, skill, or practice of a wizard; sorcery.

2.
a. A power or effect that appears magical by its capacity to transform:
, the Miss Universe pageant, was broadcast live from Ecuador on June 1.

Grossman's path as a gay man hasn't always gone quite as smoothly. At one point, lonely and flush with success, Grossman married his long-time assistant, Michelle D'Amico. He also had a boyfriend at the time--and, as he confesses now, he naively believed he could have both man and wife. "It was just so wrong," he admits. The doomed relationship ended after two years. It's telling that although Grossman says he's in a relationship now, he wears his commitment ring on a silver chain around his neck. He won't say much else.

Except that he can see his life beyond pageants. "I'm not just a pageant choreographer," Grossman says, noting that he played himself and handled the choreography for Sandra Bullock's Miss Congeniality and has choreographed many other movies, including Raising Helen with Kate Hudson and The Princess Diaries II, starring Anne Hathaway.

Grossman's heating up the theatrical stage too. In the near future he plans to work with director Garry Marshall to bring Happy Days: The Musical to Broadway.

"I keep following my heart," Grossman laughs. "From cheerleading behind the barn, doing the C jump."
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:television
Author:Jones, Anderson
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2004
Words:660
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