Ailey Star Jamar Roberts on How His Dance Teacher Was His Second Mom

Roberts in Garth Fagan's From Before. Photo by Paul Kolnik, courtesy of AAADT

As a young dancer, Alvin Ailey principal Jamar Roberts learned more than just how to pick up choreography quickly from his teacher and mentor Angel Fraser-Logan at the Dance Empire of Miami. In a recent New York Times article, Roberts, says that Fraser-Logan "taught me how to be an artist—the importance of dance being a form of expression and not just a physical act you do when music is on."

The article outlines their unique bond and how Fraser-Logan was far more than just a dance teacher:

"Ms. Fraser-Logan, 42, has been watching Mr. Roberts, 35, for two decades. As a teacher and a mentor, she helped him surmount a troubled home life and grow from an introverted boy who barely spoke to a world-class dancer. 'She made me feel safe to express the things I wanted to express,' Mr. Roberts said, 'without feeling like they were wrong, that I was wrong for wanting to dance or choreograph.' In return, he became part of her family, godfather to her children, and an inspiration to students at Empire, where he has returned regularly to teach and choreograph since he left Miami for Ailey, in New York, in 2001."

Roberts' journey has now, in a way, come full circle. He's started traveling back and forth from New York to Dance Empire in Miami, setting choreography and mentoring the next generation of students.

The article mentions that Roberts and Fraser-Logan are currently working on an "ambitious project" about his roots, called The House of the Most Loved. Choreographed by Roberts, the new work is scheduled to open in January at the Olympia Theater in Miami.

To read the full article, visit here.

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