3 Reasons We're Ecstatic That Alvin Ailey's Life and Work Are Being Made into a Movie
Alvin Ailey's life and groundbreaking work are coming to the big screen. Photo courtesy Ailey Archives.
There must be something in the water: Last week, we announced that Madonna is directing Michaela DePrince's upcoming biopic. And yesterday, we got wind of another major dance film: According to The Hollywood Reporter,Fox Searchlight has sealed the deal to make Ailey Ailey's life and work into a movie. Yes, please.
While some movies falter along their way to the big screen, we think this one's got legs (and hopefully a whole lot of lateral T's and hinges and coccyx balances, too). Why?
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Sean Aaron Carmon in Ailey's Revelations. Photo by EricGrayPhotography.com, Courtesy AAADT.
1. High-profile songstress and all-around goddess Alicia Keys is one of the film's producers.
2. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is on board. The Hollywood Reporter specifically mentioned that artistic director Robert Battle and artistic director emerita Judith Jamison will be part of the process.
Robert Battle and Judith Jamison will work closely with the movie's producers. Photo by Christopher Duggan.
And it goes without saying that the dance scenes will amazingly fierce and likely full of current Ailey dancers. Still, it's too early to know exactly what the film will look like: Will it be a dramatized version of the late choreographer's life? A documentary laced with archival footage and commentary from Ailey experts?
In a statement, Battle expressed his excitement for the project, saying, "We are thrilled to be working with these incredible partners to bring to the screen the amazing journey and revolutionary choreography of Alvin Ailey, whose life and legacy profoundly impacted people of all backgrounds around the world."
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Linda Celeste Sims in Ailey's rousing Cry (1971). Photo by Christopher Duggan.
We're thrilled too. What choreography do you hope to see most in the movie? (We're dying for a fiery Cry and some soulful snippets of Revelations.) Tell us in the comments.
James Whiteside (Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine)
Say you're perpetually impeccable designer Thom Browne. Say you're planning your Spring 2020 Paris menswear show along a "Versailles country club" theme. Say you want a world-class danseur to open the show with some kind of appropriately fabulous choreography.
Who do you call? James Whiteside, of course. On Saturday, the American Ballet Theatre principal—wearing pointe shoes and a glorious pinstriped tutu—kicked off Browne's presentation at the École des Beaux-Arts with a 15-minute, show-stealing solo. Whiteside choreographed the piece himself, with the help of detailed notes from the designer.
I'd been a professional dancer for five years when I realized the pain I'd been feeling in my hip and down my sciatic nerve was not going away. I had been treating it for two years as we dancers do—with regular visits to my masseuse, physical therapy, baths, ice and lots of Aleve—but I never stopped dancing. It finally dawned on me that if I kept going at the speed I was going (which was, well, speedy), the pain would only get more severe and unrelenting, and I might never dance again.
I told myself I'd take two months off, and all would be better.
That first morning when I woke up at 10 am, I had no idea what to do with myself. My life until that moment had been dictated by class and rehearsal, every hour accounted for. How should I fill the huge swath of time ahead of me?