News

What Makes Ailey's ​Revelations So Special to So Many (And Where to See It This Week)

If you've seen Alvin Ailey's masterpiece, Revelations, you know why it's so popular—it's a powerful piece of dance that reflects African-American heritage and culture and takes the viewer on an emotional journey, from sorrow to elation to hope. (That Ailey choreographed this piece when he was only 29 years old makes it that much more incredible, to me.) Getting to hear what it's like to dance such a watershed piece from the performers themselves is a special treat. After all, they're the ones inside the piece, bringing it to life. Watch this short video to hear from company stars and guest artists about what makes Revelations special:


This week, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is performing at Lincoln Center, and Revelations is, of course, on the performance roster. There are plenty of other program highlights to get you there—premieres by artistic director Robert Battle, works by longtime company member Hope Boykin and choreographer Kyle Abraham—but Revelations is definitely the cherry on top of the repertory sundae.

Plus, the performance schedule coincides with New York City's Dance Week, which means the Ailey Extension is offering free classes—like last night's jazz class in the Lincoln Center plaza. DT was there—did you see?

Teachers Trending
Alwin Courcy, courtesy Ballet des Amériques

Carole Alexis has been enduring the life-altering after-effects of COVID-19 since April 2020. For months on end, the Ballet des Amériques director struggled with fevers, tingling, dizziness and fatigue. Strange bruising showed up on her skin, along with the return of her (long dormant) asthma, plus word loss and stuttering.

"For three days I would experience relief from the fever—then, boom—it would come back worse than before," Alexis says. "I would go into a room and not know why I was there." Despite the remission of some symptoms, the fatigue and other debilitating side effects have endured to this day. Alexis is part of a tens-of-thousands-member club nobody wants to be part of—she is a COVID-19 long-hauler.

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Teachers Trending

Annika Abel Photography, courtesy Griffith

When the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May catalyzed nationwide protests against systemic racism, the tap community resumed longstanding conversations about teaching a Black art form in the era of Black Lives Matter. As these dialogues unfolded on social media, veteran Dorrance Dance member Karida Griffith commented infrequently, finding it difficult to participate in a meaningful way.

"I had a hard time watching people have these conversations without historical context and knowledge," says Griffith, who now resides in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, after many years in New York City. "It was clear that there was so much information missing."

For example, she observed people discussing tap while demonstrating ignorance about Black culture. Or, posts that tried to impose upon tap the history or aesthetics of European dance forms.

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Studio Owners
Courtesy Tonawanda Dance Arts

If you're considering starting a summer program this year, you're likely not alone. Summer camp and class options are a tried-and-true method for paying your overhead costs past June—and, done well, could be a vehicle for making up for lost 2020 profits.

Plus, they might take on extra appeal for your studio families this year. Those struggling financially due to the pandemic will be in search of an affordable local programming option rather than an expensive, out-of-town intensive. And with summer travel still likely in question this spring as July and August plans are being made, your studio's local summer training option remains a safe bet.

The keys to profitable summer programming? Figuring out what type of structure will appeal most to your studio clientele, keeping start-up costs low—and, ideally, converting new summer students into new year-round students.

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