Twenty-five years is a long time to be involved in any discipline. Now imagine having to be in prime physical shape all that time—on the level of an elite athlete. Vernard Gilmore, who grew up in Chicago, has been with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for a quarter-century. He began his training at Curie Performing and Creative Arts High School before studying at the Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theater and then moving to New York City. Gilmore is currently featured in Alvin Ailey's solo "Reflections in D" and takes center stage in other classics such as Revelations and Blues Suite. Gilmore, who's openly gay, recently talked with Windy City Times about Alvin Ailey, the evolution of dance, the Ailey documentary and his own feelings during the past two years that have challenged everyone.