Alvin Ailey, the Obamas and America

By | February 11, 2013

Lord knows I am no dance critic. But I do claim to know something about the country. So before the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater leaves the Kennedy Center here after its annual visit, I want to say something vaguely political about this famous, pioneering company.

Here it is: They helped make the America that made the Obama presidency possible.

And having done so, they now — appropriately — are striving to embody the ideals of universality amid diversity and individual self-worth that were at the troupe’s core from the start, though obscured by more immediate missions.

I first saw Alvin Ailey in college in the late ’60s, when they had just gained fame for dramatically bringing the spirit and history of old juke joints and black churches into Culture with a capital “C. ” African Americans always had influenced dance, but Ailey showed how, and why that was important, and did so using impeccably (classically) trained dancers. (Huffington Post)

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