Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Christopher Wilson in "WE. DANCE." (courtesy AAADT)

Essential Viewing: “WE. DANCE.”, a Powerful Video by Ailey’s Dancers

"When our hearts break, WE Dance."

That's the caption for the video above, created by and featuring dancers from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Made in the midst of widespread protests over the death of George Floyd and so many other innocent Black people, it features poetic text written and performed by company member Hope Boykin, and moving, meditative dance footage from 25 other Ailey performers.


Here are the dancers featured, in order of appearance:

Hope Boykin, @hbdance
Yannick Lebrun, @yannicklebrun
Akua Noni Parker, @onlyupward
James Gilmer, @j_gilmer
Jacquelin Harris
Brandon Woolridge, @brandon_michael_woolridge
Samantha Figgins, @sfigg_udigg
Sarah Daley-Perdomo, @cherrysunblush
Jeroboam Bozeman, @jeroboamb
Jacqueline Green, @jagreen711
Jessica Amber Pinkett, @jessica.a.pinkett
Jermaine Terry, @jerms83
Jamar Roberts, @7jlr27
Constance Stamatiou, @constance.stamatiou
Belén Indhira Pereyra, @belen_pereyra_pro
Renaldo Maurice, @r_maurice25
Courtney Celeste Spears, @bahamaballerina
Christopher R. Wilson, @christopher.r.wilson
Vernard J. Gilmore, @vern93
Kanji Segawa
Clifton Brown
Miranda Quinn, @mirandaming4
Patrick Coker, @pcoke
Chalvar Monteiro, @chlvrmntro
Matthew Rushing, @matthewrushing73
Danica Paulos, @lens_of_the_heart

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Jason Samuels Smith, photographed by Jayme Thornton

Moving Forward by Looking Back: A Week at the L.A. Tap Festival Online

I turned to tap at the outset of the European lockdown as a meaningful escape from the anxiety of the pandemic. As a dance historian specialized in dance film, I've seen my fair share of tap on screen, but my own training remains elementary. While sheltering in place, my old hardwood floors beckoned. I wanted to dig deeper in order to better understand tap's origins and how the art form has evolved today. Not so easy to accomplish in France, especially from home.

Enter the L.A. Tap Fest's first online edition.

Alongside 100 other viewers peering out from our respective Zoom windows, I watch a performer tap out rhythms on a board in their living room. Advanced audio settings allow us to hear their feet. In the chat box, valuable resources are being shared and it's common to see questions like, "Can you post the link to that vaudeville book you mentioned?" Greetings and words of gratitude are also exchanged as participants trickle in and out from various times zones across the US and around the world.

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