ALL IS WELL
Rain turned to snow as I trotted down 8th Ave headed to see the greatest show on earth, the annual winter performance of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. “Umbrellas, five dollar umbrellas, I got blue, pink, green, anything you need”! Ignoring all the side hustlers and street vendors, racing to the 8pm curtain, I had no time for discussion even if it was rewarded with a great bargain. I worked for the Alvin Ailey Company this past summer and was gifted with 4 complimentary tickets to the show. I should have known that complimentary really meant our seats were basically past the 42nd street bus terminal where my mother’s Greyhound coach parked earlier that evening. Nonetheless, we were there. They were here. And all was well in the spirit of Dance!
Watching the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater perform was not only inspiring but also moving, encouraging, and tremendously motivating for a professional dancer such as myself. The applause began before the curtain even opened. Anticipation settled over the crowd like a descending feather. You could feel the magnetic energy through each movement of the dancer’s bodies transferring from the stage onto your own body, radiating through your skin and tingling down your spine. Each number emotes a different sentiment throughout the crowd. Pirouette, LEAP, RUN, split, JUMP, collapse, melt, sink, FLY! Seeing their bodies flow in and out, between, under and around the rhythm of the music was simply transformative.
The interaction between the dancer’s bodies played off one another like water’s ballet on a non-stick pan. The costuming flawlessly mirrored the tone of the dances. The costume of a dancer must compliment the dance, not the dancer. One of the company’s more recent pieces in their repertoire, entitled “Shelter” choreographed by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, was created to represent the culture of homelessness in our society. The piece is accompanied by a gently spoken word performance and subtly African influenced music. The dancers were costumed in earth-toned natural colors and their hair was refreshingly untamed. The stage was lit with cool green and blue hues that cushioned the eyes of the audience. There was an attractiveness to the dance that left us yearning for more.
Tears turned to smiles as the finale number of “Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham” faded to a bittersweet end. The annual winter performance of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater was phenomenal! No amount of rain or snow or sleet or slush could have kept me from seeing the greatest show on earth. Working for the Alvin Ailey Company this past summer was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Sitting at the pinnacle peak of the balcony section in the City Center theater on W 55th street might seem like a terrible thing; However, if it’s Alvin Ailey that your seeing, trust me it’s worth it! We were there. They were here. And all was well in the spirit of Dance!