Monday, May 16, 2011

"It all started with a spare ticket." How One Woman Fell in Love With Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater [guest post]

It all started with a spare ticket. After aerobics class, a co-worker announced that she had a ticket for the next week’s Alvin Ailey performance and was anyone interested? Sure, I said. We agreed to meet at the Artists’ CafĂ© to grab a bite before the performance. We hardly knew each other but quickly learned we had dance backgrounds and were forever dance fans.

AAADT's Matthew Rushing, Briana Reed and Rosalyn Deshauteurs in Alvin Ailey's Revelations. Photo by Andrew Eccles.
AAADT's Matthew Rushing, Briana Reed and Rosalyn Deshauteurs in Alvin Ailey's Revelations.
Photo by Andrew Eccles.
The performance was amazing and I had not seen anything like it before. Such magical precision, such exquisite athleticism choreographed to powerful music. It was March 28, 2001 and Stef and I decided we would see them again the following year, no matter what.

Since then, we have invited our friends and families to join us in our annual spring ritual, now in its 10th year. Some of us dine together before the performance and then meet the rest of the group at our seats.

We’ve had lots of fun and many memories. By the time the company performs the masterpiece “Revelations,” many audience members are brought to their feet and are singing and dancing. For as many times as I have seen it, I don’t think I will ever tire of "Revelations" – a favorite is the solo "I Wanna Be Ready." One year, an elderly man who was seated behind us was brought to tears at the end of "Revelations." I will never forget the look on his face – a mixture of grief and joy. I’ve also seen sulky teens and reluctant husbands come alive during a performance. One year, I purchased a 2-CD set with "Revelations" and other music the company has used. It gets regular play and is a personal treasure – it is no longer in production. One of these days, I’ll see the company perform in their hometown of New York.

Being an Alvin Ailey Ambassador has allowed me to share my love for AAADT with friends, family and other dance fans. It has also showcased the fabulous work that the Auditorium Theatre staff accomplishes.

Alvin Ailey said "I believe that dance came from the people and that it should always be delivered back to the people." Yes, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has truly delivered in 48 states and 71 countries on six continents, and always in Chicago at springtime.

Ailey Ambassadors are a group of volunteers who's mission is to develop new Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater audiences through grassroots efforts.

Christina Breslow actively seeks and enjoys the art, film, fashion, architecture, music and exhibition programming offered by Chicago’s dynamic cultural organizations. She continues to be an ardent fan of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Her “happiness list” includes enriching must-do’s in Chicago’s vibrant neighborhoods and destinations worldwide.

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