Last week, I had the great fortune to attend this summer's first performance of Alvin Ailey Dance Theater at Brooklyn Academy of Music. Firs off, I must say, live dance absolutely, one hundred percent, trumps watching the stuff on television. And wow, can these folks dance! I haven't seen much live dance in my day (perhaps I was scarred by participating in dance recitals as a three- and four-year-old, donning sequined leotards and more makeup in one night than I've applied in all twenty-something years since then, combined). I watched the Fanny Packs and others on America's Best Dance Crew, and marveled at the probably imperfect dance stylings in such classic movies as Step Up and Centerstage; but, modern dance never really caught my fancy.
Alvin Ailey led his group of dancers to their first performance in 1958, and after more than 50 years, his spirit is undoubtedly still alive. Set to a fantastic score of gospel, jazz, spirituals, and more, the choreography tells stories and brings characters to life. What's more, I was nodding my head and tapping my fingers all night long. The costumes were also fantastic, and the few props used were just perfect. I recommend taking in an Alvin Ailey show to dance enthusiasts and skeptics, alike. You won't be disappointed. Check out http://alvinailey.org/ for more information on the group's tour schedule (both within and outside of the U.S.), mission, and incredible history.