Between each of the four excerpts of dance pieces the audience previewed, Mr. Battle gave an overview of what we were about to see and paid tribute to those who inspired the work. He talked about the man himself, Alvin Ailey, who was a genius and an inspiration to Mr. Battle, as well multitudes of dancers through the years.
A fixture in the dance and theater world for over six decades, de Lavallade helped pave the way for current stars like Misty Copeland and Michaela DePrince. In the clip below, I ask whether she carries any sentiments of resentment about the lack of opportunity for black dancers when she came up as opposed to today.
This great inner wanting yearned for a freedom we don't much talk about these days, in our relative affluence and comfort, but the music and the movement of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, with its roots in Africa, in Gospel revival -- in growing up black in America -- went so much deeper than that.
When a founder retires, the transition can be especially challenging. The organization was created specifically to support the vision of the founder. How does it support the new leader, and provide necessary visibility for a new vision, while recognizing and celebrating the achievements of the founder?