Last night, I treated myself to a performance of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. A few years ago, I splurged and bought myself a ticket for my 40th birthday. Since then, it has been an annual tradition. For me, this ritual is not just the chance to see a nice show—though it is a pretty amazing show. For me, this is a celebration of black bodies.
Now, more than ever, when I am confronted on an almost daily basis with the fear and revulsion with which black bodies are met, the Ailey company reminds me of the sheer beauty and power of black bodies. In a culture that presents bodies like mine for exploitation; in a society that promotes the idea that black bodies like mine are expendable, the Ailey dancers reminds us that black bodies that look like mine—that move like mine—are sacred and holy.
With a mix of new and classic pieces, I was delighted. I watched After the Rain barely breathing—mesmerized by the beauty and grace of the pair. By the time they got to the third piece, Exodus, premiering this year, I could feel my own body responding to the rhythm of the music and the dance. The audience was alive with exuberant joy. And the dancers were on some special kind of fire tonight. Here’s a little bit of Revelations – just for old time’s sake.