November 3, 1953 - February 4, 2002
Long-time Rhode Island ballroom promoter, coach and dance teacher Christina Cryan lost her fight with breast cancer February 04 at Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro.
She was one of nine children born to Ruth and Walter (the well-known newscaster) Cryan . She graduated from Attleboro High School and Dean Junior College in Franklin Massachusetts and married (and divorced) twice, first to Robert Girard and then to Randy Deats.
Christina was a wonderful dancer; somehow melting into the movement while at the same time bringing a joy and energy to each dance that was all her own. She had taught Ballroom Dance since 1977 and competed in many world class dance competitions garnering numerous first place awards and ultimately achieving the title of Rising Star International Latin Champion. She was an active member of the Dance Teachers' Club of Boston and the National Dance Council of America. She served as a professional advisor to the Rhode Island State Games Ballroom Dance Competition and the Fairhaven Ballroom Dance Competition as well as coached the Brown University Ballroom Dance Team, a position she had held since 1993, to various awards in England, Bermuda and Florida. She was the organizer of the Annual Brown University Intercollegiate Ballroom Dance Competition (the largest intercollegiate dance competition in the Northeast) and the Winter Ball held every year at the Biltmore.
As a young girl she studied tap dancing, but did not pursue it, starting her dance training and teaching as an adult with Pat and George Lawton who ran the Arthur Murray Dance Studio. There she started dancing with Randy Deats. They traveled to London where they trained with numerous coaches, including Nina Hunt, Alan and Hazel Fletcher, Donnie Burns, Peter Eggleton, and John DelRoy. Back in the United States they continued training with Jim Donaghey and Judi Hatton, John Hatton, Sam Sodano, and Ron Montez among others. In 1983, she and Randy founded The Dancin' Feelin' in Cranston - an audacious act, as at the time, the Arthur Murray Dance Studio was located a stone's throw away. Dancin' Feelin' went on to do very well and is still in operation today under Randy's direction. She also co-founded The Dance Factory Studio in Westerly.
In Rhode Island, she was probably best known for her very popular group ballroom classes in Providence, Cranston and East Greenwich which were legendary for their size, the amazing energy Christina brought to the classes (which she always ascribed to her students) and the wonderful teaching abilities she used to such good effect for ballroom dance.
COMMENTS & MEMORIES" I became acquainted with Christina during my many years as Youth Outreach Coordinator for MASSABDA - Christina was the founding club and team coach at Brown University, beloved by not only her students, but by everyone who knew her. Several years ago I learned that Christina had been diagnosed with breast cancer - and the news weighed heavily on me. At the time I suggested to several members of the R.I chapter that it would be appropriate to establish an endowment fund at Brown University in Christina's name. But, at the time, those I spoke with thought the suggestion was premature, so I laid the idea to rest - but I never forgot it.
Sad to say, I was out of town when Christina passed away on February 4 and was unable to attend the memorial service. But my suggestion came to mind and I decided to pursue it - again. And in so doing, I discovered that in January 2000, Michael McCarrin, Captain of the Brown University Ballroom Dance Team, took the initiative to set up an endowment fund at Brown University in Christina Cryan's name. What a magnificent surprise to find that this tribute had been put into action by one of
Long-time friend and admirer of Christina Cryan
(also one of the driving forces in Boston's dance community for ballroom and Argentine tango.)
COMMENTS & MEMORIES
"Christina told us that she got into ballroom dancing when she read an ad in the newspaper that said 'make your own hours, get good pay, see the world, and will train'. She thought it was an ad for the Army! She answered it just on a lark and ended up training with Mr. Lawton [Arthur Murray Dance Studios at that time located in Garden City]. "
Diane O'Day and Sue Hill
"Christina Cryan worked for my parents [George & Pat Lawton] starting in 1977 and as soon as she had passed her teachers examination, one of her first assignments was for her and another instructor [Steven Saul-Christina's first dance partner] to go to New York City to learn a new dance called The Hustle. They found themselves at a club called the Ipanema and after a very enjoyable weekend, were some of the first to bring the Hustle to Rhode Island. Many of us who learned Hustle in Rhode Island or nearby Massachusetts, whether we realize it or not, are part of the Christina Cryan legacy. Christina may be gone from this earthly realm, but she is, and always will be, a part of us."
Professional instructor, and student of Christina Cryan
"Christina had danced hustle and International Latin in competition with Steven Saul, I had danced primarily International Latin in competition with Gail Rundlett. Both partnerships ended and we practiced for three weeks before winning the Rising Star Pro Latin event at the North American Championships! "
"I could see Christina in every step you took"
Kathy Soscia to Brown Ballroom Dancers after they did a tribute rumba for Christina at the February 9, 2002 K&S Dance.
"She was a true veteran of Ballroom Dance in RI and an inspiration to us all! It's hard to believe she is gone. She will be terribly missed"