Alvin Ailey and Dancing

Alvin Ailey Dance Company Turns 60. I remember the first time I saw Alvin Ailey. It was 1969 and I was a freshman at Wagner College on Staten Island. Our modern dance teacher, the wonderful Mrs. Gardner, took a group of us to see him in his troupe.

Looking Back to 1969 and Dancing

It was the first of many times I saw “Revelations” with Judith Jamison. In the last number that night, Alvin Ailey’s grace and athleticism inspired me to promise myself to always dance. The number ended with the huge back stage door opening (I think it was NY City Center then) and he walked out into the street. Now that was awesome!

Alvin Ailey Dance Co. Today

In a NYT article Dec. 2, Rennie Harris, Ailey dancer in residence, captures it perfectly for me. “Lazarus” is about resurrection and, for Mr. Harris, that circles back to Ailey: With each dancing generation, with every performance of his 1960 masterpiece “Revelations,” Ailey is reborn. “He’s still affecting folk: black, brown, white, indifferent, whatever,” Mr. Harris said. “He’s still affecting the world on a massive scale.”
The arts–whether dance, music, books, storytelling, theater, sculpture, painting, (What did I leave out?) can open my heart, free me from cultural and self-imposed restraints, and leave a wide open path to connect with my self and other people.
What frees you?

This photo and the NYT article started my day off pretty nicely this morning.

man dancing with group- arms upraised

Rennie Harris and the Alvin Ailey Dance Company

Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships.


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