What is Love?
The lights are dimmed, stomach the atmosphere is charged with so much anticipation that it can hardly contain itself, we are dressed to impress and our hearts begin to beat faster as the moment is finally upon us. The curtain rises on the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and they take our breath away. After almost 60 years this storied company founded by famed dancer and choreographer Alvin Ailey is still as stunningly magnificent as it has ever been. Since its first performance in1958 to the present, the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre has forever changed the perception of American dance. As they tour the world, the Company has left audiences amazed and delighted in over 71 countries on six continents and 48 states across the US. Over 25 million people all over the world have witnessed live performances while millions of others have been exposed through television broadcasts, film screenings and online platforms. In 2008, the US Congress declared the Company “a vital American cultural ambassador to the world” by resolution.
This iconic arts institution is uniquely and unapologetically African American and fully embraces the Black Aesthetic as the expression of its heart and soul. Through jazz and blues, spirituals and gospel, the company explores the cultural continuum of the Black experience in America and the preservation and enrichment of the American modern dance tradition. The love of the art, the form and its expression is a gift to humanity. Every time we have the privilege to experience their work we are moved, we are changed and that is LOVE. Love is bold and declares itself without apology. It gives completely without the expectation of receiving anything in return, with passion and abandon because it loves so completely. If only we could love one another with the joy and the fullness of commitment with which the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre dances. No matter how many times we witness their signature suite “Revelations” we are transported to a spiritual place beyond ourselves individually and collectively and we have an encounter with Love. That is what Love is…. it is not reduced to a commercially calculated holiday celebration like Valentine’s Day. It is real…it is an experience and it cannot be imitated, it is authentic and it moves you beyond words with unspeakable joy.
If you have not ever experienced the love that is shared with the world by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, you must make a sincere effort to change that if and when you ever have the opportunity to do so. They truly are an American treasure. Until then do everything you can to make Love a priority in your life, it has medicinal effects like nothing else. Love of self, love of others, love of art, culture and music enriches your life and by association the community of which you are a part. It is a part of our humanity that needs more urgent care and attention. Take the time to allow something beautiful, precious or amazing to take your breath away…. if only for a moment this week. Then pause and breathe in that moment and see how it uplifts your spirits and brightens your day. Love passionately, enjoy the moment you are present in and live your life on purpose.
Up Next Week: A Black History Moment