IU students reap benefits from visit by Alvin Ailey dance company

Guest post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Lena Morris:

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, a modern dance company started in New York City in 1958, is known for its extraordinary talent, international scope and impeccable history. When the troupe performed at IU Auditorium last week, Bloomington residents got to see the company’s most well known and critically acclaimed work, “Revelations.”

What audience members didn’t see, however, was the 15 lucky IU students who received instruction from an Alvin Ailey performer a few hours before the evening performance. Students from IU Ballet, IU Contemporary Dance and the African American Dance Company were chosen to be taught by dancer Kirvin Douthit-Boyd, who has been with the company for a decade.

The masterclass is part of the dance company’s mission to give the dance back to the people. Alvin Ailey’s rehearsal director Matthew Rushing said, while the company performs around the world, the dancers themselves provide free dance lessons to the local community for a real rhythmic exchange.

“Not only do I get to pour into the dancers or the people taking the class, but the teaching artist also receives from the people,” Rushing said.

Douthit-Boyd led the class with stretches, taught them a dance combination, and then answered the students’ questions afterwards.

“He was so down to earth,” student and attendee Arika Casey said. “He was very sweet and encouraging.”

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