Grigory Chapkis

Grigory Chapkis

Ukrainian choreographer, judge of the show "Dancing with the Stars".
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Short biography

Grigory Chap kis is a choreographer, People's Artist of Ukraine.

Brief biography

Grigory Chapkis was born on February 24, 1930 in the city of Kishinev.

According to Chapkis himself, he began to work at the age of 7, when he delivered newspapers, as well as every evening shined shoes for money at one of the local restaurants.

After the outbreak of World War II, he was evacuated with his family to Kazakhstan, where, at the age of 11, he earned money by helping herd a herd of young horses.

In 1944, returning from evacuation, the Chapkis family fell ill with typhus. As a result, the journey home ended in Kiev, where the family began a new life. Here young Grigory began to work at a construction site.

In 1945 he entered a railroad school. In the same year he got into the Song and Dance Ensemble "Labor Reserves", which, among other things, performed in front of Stalin.

Subsequently, Gregory graduated from the Institute of Culture in Kiev and the studio at the opera house.

Later on, Chapkis became a professor at the choreography department of the Institute of Arts at the Borys Grinchenko University in Kiev.

Dancing and choreography

According to Chapkis, he first came on stage at the age of 10, when he performed at the House of Pioneers. He admits that he started learning to dance since he learned to walk. Chapkis explains this by the fact that he was born in Romania, where he grew up with Roma and Moldovans, who taught him to dance.

At the age of 15, Grigory, along with over a hundred other children, performed in the Kremlin Theater in front of Stalin, who after the performance gave young Chapkis a watch and took a picture with him, placing him on his lap. After Stalin's death and the debunking of his cult, Grigory's mother burned the photograph.

Since 1950, Grigory became a ballet master at the Ivan Franko Theater.

In 1951, 21-year-old Chapkis as a member of the Ukrainian team went to Berlin for the World Festival of Youth and Students. There the performance of the Ukrainians made a sensation, they managed to earn the largest number of gold medals.

Since 1955, Chapkis began to perform as part of the State Dance Ensemble of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, whose director was Pavel Virsky.

Subsequently, Grigory Chapkis became the chief dancer of the Vienna Ball, opened his own school and became a TV star in Ukraine. He published the book "Love and Dance - Secrets of Longevity".

State of health

In December 2020, 90-year-old Chapkis was hospitalized with bilateral pneumonia amid the coronavirus pandemic. He was discharged home on New Year's Day, but by January 7, Chapkis was back in the hospital. He was subsequently released home again.

On the night of February 9, Chapkis was hospitalized for the third time. He was placed in the intensive care unit, and his son in social networks asked to pray for his father.

Chapkis' death

On June 13, 2021, it became known about the death of Grigory Chapkis. The son of the legendary dancer Greg Chapkis stated that his 91-year-old father simply began to fail all organs due to age.


Chapkis was married four times. About who is his fourth wife he refuses to tell.

Chapkis' daughter from his first marriage, Lilia, is the head of the Chapkis Dance Ballet School in Italy. Her daughter, Anna Safronchik, is an Italian film actress and model. Her second granddaughter, Vittoria, also dances and graduated from a choreographic academy in Kiev.

Chapkis' son from his second marriage, Grigory, is the owner of the hip-hop school "Chapkis Dance" in San Francisco, USA.

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