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Trip Report A mini trip to Alvin Ailey recital in D.C.

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In the early 1970s, I was fortunate enough to see these amazing modern dancers when the incredible Judith Jamieson's dancing attracted so much attention.

40 years later, I carried the memory of the troupe's "Revelations" but never got to see them dance again. Sold out, something else going on, or out of town--all good reasons. 40 years later. Ms. Jamieson went from starting her own troupe to directing Alvin Ailey, to adding 'emeritus'. Robert Battle is now Director.

The first dance ("Arden Court") was rather balletic and, based upon my memory of their type of dance, bland. Indeed, the choreographer was Paul Taylor. Paul Taylor dancers? Remember? If it had a visual theme, it was lost on me. The male dancers had more movement--the females got carried around. It just didn't move me. Although I loved not hearing their feet.

The second was amazing. "Takademe" had staccato sounds and moves--very interesting and fast paced. Mr. Battle's choreography here. Try to see this as same dances aren't in each performance.

"Grace", again a Battle dance, started slowly, ratcheted up and ended slowly. Again, the visual theme got lost for me and the slow ending was a downer and I thought made the dance too long.

The genius of Ailey's "Revelations" was unchanged. It is a series of 10 dances with traditional gospel music. "Fix Me, Jesus" was gorgeous and touching. "Sinner Man"--brought out the best in the male dancers. And the final "Rocka My Soul...." had all to their feet and a curtain call was demanded.

I felt like many of the women's costumes were ill-fitting and not revealing enough considering the bare-chested, tights-wearing males. Some of the long skirts seemed of heavy material when it should have been more fluid. I couldn't remember if they wore almost bridesmaid-looking dresses in the "Revelations" of my memory. Anyone remember? When the men had on shirts, they looked clunky. And there was one dance where everyone stood with one hand in the air and not all of the hands looked the same; some with ballet fingers, some with fingers straight out. Every dancer was amazing but there were quite a few differences in their heights and musculature. Enough that it made a visual difference to me.

Although I had a little ballet and years of tap, I am not a critic so none of the above is important or maybe even valid--just my opinion. And now about the trip since this is a trip report:

Driving to D.C. is less easy by myself. I was navigator and JR driver. In D.C., when the street name can change without you making a turn, having 2 people was easier! Roles are now switched: I drive and the Australian Male ("Dundee") voice of my Garmin navigates me. It works fine so far.

From Suitland Parkway to 395 to Maine Ave. to 15th St. SW to Virginia Ave. SW and follow Kennedy Center signs. Easy with Dundee guiding lane changes. Leaving, I reversed but took the South Capitol St. exit off 395 which becomes Suitland Pkwy. JR and I took a route closer to the Potomac River that dropped us right at the K Center parking lot--I have yet to replicate it on my own but will try again as it is scenic. You can end up in Virginia so driving and sign-reading can be problematic!

Parking at Kennedy Center is $22 (gulp) and getting out can be slow but it's nice to just leave one's coat in the car. At the rooftop café, I had a kosher hot dog, some potato chips and a glass of red wine. About $20 (gulp again). The potato hot dog roll rather fell apart but the food was good. They have a great salad bar, grill and pasta area. Pre-made sandwiches, beer, wine, sodas. I bought an Orchestra seat--just a tad too much to the left but the dancers kept to the center of the stage--for $99 plus $11 surcharge for internet sales. Not a cheap day but not as bad as it could have been if I'd hired a limo!

Ladies rooms are totally inadequate so please go before the show. Lines, lines, lines during intermission and after the show. I've heard a rumor about Kennedy Center expansion--hope they add more stalls!

I'd love to hear from anyone who has followed the Ailey troupe over the years or who has good tips for driving D.C.

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