Tonight on the News Hour, Jeffery Brown did a story on the pending retirement of Judith Jamison, director of the Alvin Ailey Dance Company in New York. Those who know me might smirk, recognizing my antipathy towards concert dance. What moves me to write is the resonance of what Ms. Jamison says in the interview about the impact of dance... no... art in general: It is not the elevation of the kicks, but the ability of dance to evoke indelible memories of the heart.
I was fortunate enough to experience her genius firsthand, having seen an early performance of Bernstein's Mass in its premier run at the Kennedy Center nearly 40 years ago. Jamison (and Alan Titus, the Celebrant) knocked me on my heels, their performances and Bernstein's music carving one of those indelible memories. As recently as this morning on a rainy walk along the shore of Lake Washington, I found comfort in the refrains of the Trope: "I Go On". I wanted to confirm what she already knows: that art changes lives. Even for undiscriminanting dance-o-phobes.
Thank you, Ms. Jamison.
s/v Ripple, my own current art project