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Week 9: Frankfurt, Germany Isn’t it funny when you realize what your calling in life is? Some people search years to find that one thing that satisfies their passionate heart, while others seem to find that one niche that fulfills them completely. For me that is performing, whether I’m dancing with Ailey, at a voice lesson, or in acting class.
At one time in my life, while I was in Juilliard, I wanted to move to the United Kingdom to join Ballet Rambert (now known as Rambert Dance Company), or any European City that had an amazing contemporary dance company. Obviously, this was before I auditioned and was honored to join one of the greatest dance companies in the world, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, then under the artistic guidance of Ms. Judith Jamison. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have had an outstanding career with this organization and to travel the world extensively. Dancing at Ailey has taken me across North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and South Africa. I have encountered many people, touched lives, learned a couple of foreign phrases, and added to my personal satchel cultural experiences that will last me a lifetime. That is the main reason why I love being an Ailey dancer, for the cultural exchange that you experience while on tour. I cherish performing onstage and sharing a gift that moves people and changes their lives within two hours, leaving sparks of your personal light with them for years.
Honestly, tour life is hard. It’s a survival-of-the-fittest to see if you will make it to the end of a tour/season. In my first post, I spoke about the extensive 15-week U.S. tour that we had before the 10-week European tour and how exhausted the dancers were. Now, in week 9, our bodies are aware of the finish line, which is to happen at the end of week 10 in Hamburg, Germany. The greatest reward for me during the last performance of a tour/season is hearing these words, “My soul is glad, my soul is free, I’m going home…” from the Company’s signature work, Revelations in “Move, Members Move” (also known as “The Yellow Section”). That is always a guarantee that I am done!
The curtain eventually falls. Photo by Glenn Allen Sims.
Looking forward, I can’t wait to turn the key to my condo and take a huge sigh of relief that I am home. Being home doesn’t mean that work ceases; yes, we are on our own schedule, but we must still go to the gym and take ballet class. Why? In mid-September we start rehearsals for our upcoming season at New York City Center. I am most excited about dancing Paul Taylor’s Arden Court and Ohad Naharin’s Minus 16.
I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to allow you to get a fishbowl experience of Ailey on tour and share a part of myself with you. There are so many individuals who have made an impact on my life, but the greatest person was my Grandma. Her greatest wish was for me to be educated, speak eloquently, and carry myself as a gentleman. Lastly, my impetus for this blog was a quote by Dr. Maya Angelou, who said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” I have told a part of my story and I hope that it’s spoken to you in some way.