alvin ailey dance

vimeo

Just Dance: Moonlight x Alvin Ailey dir. Anna Rose Holmer (2017)

An original dance piece pays homage to director Barry Jenkins’s award-winning drama, Moonlight

View of actress Diana Sands and dancer Alvin Ailey in the play, “Tiger, tiger burning bright.” Typed on back: “Diana Sands in ‘Tiger, tiger burning bright’ (with Alvin Ailey).”

  • Courtesy of the E. Azalia Hackley Collection of African Americans in the Performing Arts, Detroit Public Library
6

These 5 black dancers paved the way for Misty Copeland 

Misty Copeland made history on Tuesday when she was promoted to principal dancer at the American Ballet Theater. Her ascension is the result of her own hard work, and decades of struggles faced by America’s black ballerinas. From Janet Collins to Alvin Ailey, black dancers have elevated the form for decades while dealing with discrimination and injustice.

Revelation (Hamilsquad x Reader)

A/N: Hey, my babies. Mama is home!! I just want to thank you all once again (WE HIT 1K) and remind y’all of the AskHam happening tomorrow. You can hit my inbox up with asks starting tonight and I’ll get started tomorrow (or tonight if I get too excited to wait). I have been working on this request for the LONGEST TIME…I am excited to share it. I do think it could be better but…here it is anyway! Let me know what you think?

Warning(s): Cursing; A bit of sauciness; A bit of Google translated French

WC: 2265+

Relevant Fact: The Alvin Ailey School of Dance (located in New York) was founded by choreogrpaher Alvin Ailey in 1969 and their dance numbers are heavily influenced by African-American spirituals, sermons and gospel. 

Links: These videos were used as inspiration and are not mine: Fix Me Jesus and Needed Me


I stand in the wings of the stage, my nerves all over the place. It’s almost time for my duet with Tony and I am about to panic. It’s the first part of the show, “Pilgrim of Sorrow”, and Tony and I are doing the “Fix Me Jesus” portion of the song. I don’t doubt that he and I can successfully execute this duet with minimal error, we’ve been practicing for weeks. I’m just afraid of what my boys will think.

This is their first time seeing me dance. They know that I do dance heavily influenced by African-American spirituals, sermons, gospel and things of that nature, but they don’t know what all of that exactly entails. Besides…I didn’t exactly tell them that I was doing a duet. Knowing them, this may not end well.

The song before ours ends and the stage goes black, giving us just enough time to get into position. The lights go up and the song begins. Luckily, the house is dark so I can’t see into the audience. My mind goes completely blank and I focus on Tony and I’s movements.

The dance itself is slow. Not in a sensual way, but in a way that is technical but graceful. Our bodies seem to depend on each other for each movement we make. The dance is an act of teamwork so there has to be some level of chemistry and comfort. For the message of this song to resonate, it must be as if we are one. The different moves we make carry an emotion that we have to focus to get across.

When it gets to the part I am sure the boys will hate, I don’t hesitate in executing it fully. When Tony hinges backward I do the same and he walks backward on his hands, guiding me into a sitting position. I reach upward, as if trying to grasp at something, then Tony pushes me upward. My right leg is on relevé and the left is extended upward.

Tony spins me around slowly until I am facing him and he lays back, suspending me in the air with his arms still on my waist and his legs holding mine up. I contract into him twice before rising up and kicking backward. After that, the rest of the song goes by fairly quickly for me, as does the rest of the show, and the next thing I know I am being shoved into a yellow dress and hat for the last three numbers.

We breeze through them and the final bows are taken. When the curtains close we all file off the stage and pack for home. We congratulate each other and tease each other and say farewell until practice next week. Upon exiting the backstage area and entering the lobby, a few people linger to ask for autographs.

One woman in particular says–

“Oh! The chemistry was visible, honey! I loved it! Is there anything going on between you and that young man,” she gushes. “I could swear there is! So much chemistry! I loved it, I really did.”

I smile at her kindly and sign her program. “I’m glad you enjoyed the show, ma’am. That means so much.”

She gives me a quick hug before running over to Keiley, the umbrella bearer for “Wade in the Water” and talking her ear off. I send her a small smile and shrug when she looks over to me with wide eyes. When I turn around, my boys are standing there. I give them a tired smile.

“Hey, guys. You ready to–”

I am cut off by Tony jumping on my back.

“I know good and damn well you weren’t leaving without telling me bye were you?”

I shove him off of me, chuckling. “Piss off, Tony. I see you every day. But hey, let me introduce you.”

He throws an arm over my shoulder as I introduce him to my boys.

“This Hercules, John, Alex, and Lafayette,” I say, smiling. “They’re my boyfriends.”

“Nice to meet you all,” Tony says, stretching his hand out. However, the boys just stare at him menacingly. Silent hostility rolls off of them in waves. Tony awkwardly places his hand at his side. “Tough crowd.”

I frown. “Yeah…well, you better get back to Sasha,” I say, pulling him into a hug. “See you next week.”

“Sure thing, sugar,” He says, hugging me back quickly before skipping off.

I turn back to the boys, my face turned up in confusion and annoyance.

“What’s with you guys? That was so rude,” I say, placing a hand on my hip. “Tony is a cool guy.”

“Let’s go,” Alexander grits out, taking my dance bag. I scowl, taking the bag back.

“What the hell is up with you,” I say. I glance at the boys. Their faces are stone cold. “What the hell is up with all of you?”

“Let’s go,” Alex says sharply, snatching the bag from me. He turns on his heel and exits the building, then John takes the other bag and follows him. Hercules and Lafayette escort me out of the dance hall behind them. I am placed in the backseat between Herc and Laf as John and Alex put my things away. When everyone is in the car, I immediately start trying to defuse the situation.

“Guys–”

“Save it,” John snaps. I roll my eyes, crossing my arms.

“You guys are being childish.”

“Childish? No,” Alex says, starting the car and peeling out of the parking lot. “We’re pissed, sweetheart. Fucking pissed.”

“Over what? I come off of the stage after a performance and you guys don’t even tell me if it was good or not. You just snap at me. If anyone should be pissed, it’s me,” I retort.

“How would you feel if some girl were all me at one of my shows,” Lafayette snaps. “And then sauntered up right in front of you after the show and was all over me then too?”

“So you guys are jealous. Oh my fucking–”

“Why would we be jealous? Just because some attractive guy was all over our girlfriend? Nah, we aren’t jealous,” John says sarcastically.

“Oh my God, guys! Come on. It isn’t that big of a deal! It was just a duet.”

“So why didn’t you tell that woman that there was nothing going on? When she asked, why didn’t you tell her that it was ‘just a duet’,” Hercules asks. His voice is low and steady. He is fucking livid.

“I don’t have to answer to some woman I barely know. Besides, if you were paying attention, the woman was talking a mile a minute.”

“No excuse. You should’ve said something! We came out to support you tonight, not to see you cuddled up with some dancer dude,” Alex nearly shouts.

“Don’t you dare fucking yell at me, Alexander Hamilton. I did nothing wrong,” I say, my anger rising. “It’s you all flying off of the handle over nothing. If you would let me explain–”

“Ne pas. There is no need,” Laf cuts in. “We know what we know.”

“But–”

“Leave it alone,” Herc says sternly. “You’ve done enough.”

I look up to him in disbelief. If anyone were to be on my side, I thought it would be Hercules. I glare at him before staring down at my lap in anger.

The rest of the car ride is silent.

When we get home, the boys file into the house with me behind them. Once inside, however, I storm past them and head for my room. Alexander grabs my arm.

“Where are you going? We need to talk.”

I snatch my arm from him. “Don’t grab me like that, Alexander. Besides, now you wanna hear what I have to say?”

“Yes,” Laf chimes in. “We want to know what’s going on with you and the danseur. Vous deux avez la chimie. Why is that?”

“It doesn’t matter why we have chemistry. What matters is that you guys don’t trust me,” I snap. “I tried to tell you what was up in the car but you weren’t hearing it. I’m done.”

“Baby, please,” John says, his voice seeimgly calm.

“Don’t ‘baby’ me. I wasn’t your baby when you were talking at me in the car now was I,” I say, crossing my arms. “All I wanted was for you all to see me do what I do and be proud!”

Each of them hung their heads, hopefully feeling properly chastised. I sigh.

“Don’t worry about coming to the next show,” I say, turning around and exiting the room.


When I wake up the next day, it’s to the sound of our house bumping with music.

“What the hell,” I mutter as I slip on some pants and a bra and pad into the living room. I nearly die when I see the boys dancing to “Pon De Replay” with none other than Tony leading them through a simple routine. I shake my head, chuckling at the sight before me.

Hercules notices me first and grins, pausing the music.

“Why the fuck did you pause the music in my rehearsal, Mr. Mulligan,” Tony says, turning around. Noticing me, he smiles. “Oh, hey, girl. What’s good?”

“You tell me,” I say with a small smile. “What is this, guys?”

John steps forward. “Well…we felt bad about last night…,” He starts.

“So we got a hold of Tony and asked him to teach us some moves to make it up to you,” Lafayette finishes.

“We’re really sorry, baby,” Hercules adds.

“Really. We were acting like jackasses last night,” Alex says. “Mostly me.”

“I see…well. Make it up to me. Show me what you’ve got boys,” I say, taking a seat on the couch. Tony switches the song to “Can We Dance”.

I’m not sure what I was expecting but their routine is absolutely wonderful! The moves aren’t complicated but they are certainly more advanced than I would’ve thought they could handle. Tony taught them well! During one part of the song, the boys got a chance to showcase their own moves. It was clear that John was the most comfortable up there dancing but the others were great as well.

By the end of their mini-performance, I was grinning from ear to ear.

“So,” Alex says breathlessly. “What did you think?”

I look between each of the boys, watching their nerves build as I form my next words.

“I loved it,” I squeal. “Oh my gosh! It was so freaking cute!”

“Hold on, cute? My choreography was cute? I know not,” Tony complains, giving me bitch face.

“Lose the ‘tude, peasant,” I say, standing. “Yeah, it was cute.”

Tony purses his lips. “‘Ight. Since my shit was cute, why don’t you show your boys something hot?”

“Sit down, boys,” I say, glaring playfully at Tony.

They scramble to the couch. Tony smirks, changing the song.  “Needed Me” starts blaring through the speakers. I smirk back, turning to my boys as I start the number. I won’t lie, I did way more than what Tony taught in class a while back. But what can I say? I wanted to make them squirm in their seats.

Let’s just say that by the end of the song, the boys were in a rush to get Tony out of the front door.

“I am going! I’m going damn! I get all of you laid and fix your relationship and this is the thanks I get,” Tony shouts as he’s shoved to the door. “Oh my! Herc you’ve got quite the p–”

John slams the door in his face before he can finish that sentence.

“Well. I’m gonna go shower,” I say walking away.

“Oh no, Princess. You’re not going anywhere,” Hercules says, stalking towards me. The others follow suit, their eyes lustful. My eyes widen and I take off down the hallway.

“Get her!”

I turn the corner, hoping to make it to the bathroom before–

“Gotcha!”

“Aw man,” I whine, as John drags me back into the living room. He flops me on the couch and my boys gather in front of it, looking down at me.

“Tell us where you learned to dance like that, kitten,” Alex says.

My eyes flit between the four of them, not sure if I should answer or not.

“Speak up, babygirl,” John says. “He asked a question. We know you didn’t learn that at Alvin Ailey.”

I bite my lip. “Tony taught me the routine,” I say quietly. Laf looks confused.

“Tony?”

“Yeah…he and his boyfriend, Sasha, choreograph almost all of our hip hop routines. I do some and Keiley does some. We have another dance team outside of Ailey.”

“Hold on, Princess, you mean to tell me that Tony was gay this entire time?”

“I knew he was checking me out,” John exclaims. I laugh.

“Oh yeah, Tony is hella gay. I was the first person he came out to.  That’s why we’re so close.”

“Ohh,” They all say, their eyes widening with realization. They murmur amongst themselves about the turn of events and I try to slip away quietly. I almost make it around the corner but alas, the universe is against me today.

“Not so fast, little girl,” Laf says, pulling me to the middle of the floor before returning to the couch. Hercules flips on the stereo and takes a seat by Alex. John saunters over to me, a smirk playing at his lips.  

“Let’s give them another show, babygirl. Dance with me,” he whispers.

thescene

So you think you can moonwalk?


Here, watch the ultimate moonwalk in fall’s best shoes.