Adia Matthews '10: Awed by Ailey

by Dance

Adia Matthews '10 reflects on her long-time admiration of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and her preparation to perform Ailey repertory this weekend as part of Dancers' Viewpointe 10: March 26 - April 3From my years as a young dancer at my home studio in Maryland, I was always in awe of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. In high school, I attended summer intensives at the Ailey School, and I was pleased to learn that that the passion, strength, grace, versatility and precision that make Ailey dancers’ stage presence so captivating was also instilled in their students. Despite the large class sizes, instructors still took time to give individual corrections, note progress and encourage each of us to reach full potential as a dancer. The discipline and work ethic I developed at the Ailey School were beneficial not only in dance, but also in overcoming the challenges I faced as college student.I was very excited to learn that the OFA Dance Program and the Committee on Dramatic Arts were bringing Sylvia Waters and Elizabeth Roxas-Dobrish to Harvard for a class on Alvin Ailey’s legacy this semester! I love being able to study the Horton technique again, as well as having personal interactions with Ms. Waters and Ms. Roxas. Throughout the course, I am gaining a stronger understanding of the theory behind the Horton technique and hearing first-hand accounts on how the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater grew to become the world-renowned institution it is today.Overall, I am most ecstatic about performing in the Ailey medley in Dancers' Viewpointe 10 this weekend! The role has challenged me to focus on both my technique and my ability to emotionally internalize the character. In "House of the Rising Sun," a section of Blues Suite, I perform the role of the youngest sister who is tormented by feelings of despair, humiliation, compassion and anger over her life in a brothel. This is my first time performing a dance where it doesn’t suffice to simply show these emotions; I must mentally and emotionally envision myself as this character going through this ordeal. It hasn’t been easy, but the biggest reward has been seeing how much I’ve improved over the last several weeks. I feel very blessed to have this opportunity and wish all of the performers the best this weekend!Video: Ailey II performs part of "Blues Suite." Harvard students will perform excerpts from "Blues Suite" and other Ailey dances in Dancers' Viewpointe 10. []