Last night I saw the spectacular, athletic, precise, and joyful Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at the Detroit Opera House. On the way in, I marveled, as always, at the looming ruins in Detroit – burned out and boarded up homes adjacent to the freeway, the Amtrak building, tall and empty. The desolation makes me wistful and sad.
I met my mom at the Opera House and we walked to dinner. Our restaurant overlooked grand Comerica Park. Kids and parents and Elmo balloons streamed by the window, leaving Sesame Street Live at the Fox Theater. Foxtown was vibrant.
Back at the Opera House, the first piece, “Love Stories” (2004) paid tribute to Ailey’s legacy. Ailey wanted to “hold a mirror to our society so people can see how beautiful they are.” The piece was a celebration of dance, of the dancers, of beauty and achievement, of power, precision, athleticism, and grace. As usual with Ailey, the night closed with Ailey’s trademark Revelations (1960), choreography to gospel music that is both sorrowful, courageous, and transcendant. The audience rose to our feet and clapped time during the encore. As we left, couples laughed and touched each other affectionately, families chattered happily. In the afterglow of the dance, all felt whole and luminous.