inspired to dance: alvin ailey

Last night was my second opportunity to witness an Alvin Ailey Dance Theater company performance. This time it was at Brooklyn Academy of Music's beautiful Howard Gilman Opera House. Needless to say, I was so incredibly inspired – once again. These dancers are some of the best performers I've seen.

I often get asked about what style/technique of dance I study. Its the modern dance technique Alvin Ailey himself made famous called Horton (after Lester Horton). What I love most about Alvin Ailey's ideas about dance is that it ought be made accessible to everyone. Not just by the elitists in the world of dance. I must also mention the strong (and not necessarily pencil thin), elegant bodies that are the product of this type of training! And, yes, genetics, I'm sure, do play a role. Regardless, I believe these are some of the best bodies around. Just look at them! Particularly the men. Wow.

I always believe the best dance instruction is taught in dance schools (as opposed to gyms). I've studied dance on and off throughout my life. I've always loved it. But I have not been this inspired in years. I started to study the Horton technique early this year at the Alvin Ailey Extension. I was hooked after a friend took me to a performance. Dance has become a very big part of my life again. I can't say enough about what it does for me. Aside from the physical benefits, I get so much out of it mentally and emotionally. It's much more than going to a gym could ever give me.

The classes I take are accompanied by one (or more) live drummers. The live music aspect of the classes just add to an already inspiring experience. I also study Afro-Brazilian Samba as well as Jazz. I can't get enough!

To see a video on the Horton technique (as described by my teacher Karen Arceneaux) and to see what the Alvin Ailey Extension dance classes look like , click here (video via

Photo by Andrew Eccles via The Altanta Traveler