Following a successful New York Season that garnered rave reviews from critics and audiences, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, is on a 21-city US Tour from January 30 – May 19, led by Robert Battle in his second season as Artistic Director.
I recently spoke with the newest edition to the Alvin Ailey family, Baltimore native Jacqueline Green, who has climbed the dance ladder extremely quickly. Here’s a few excerpts from our interview:
How did you begin your journey in dance?
I attended an arts high school that had really good academics…and it was close to my mom’s job. It was all about the academics for her. I auditioned for the dance program with no dance experience and I made it. I grew so much in technique. By my senior year I officially considered dance as what I wanted for my professional career. That’s when I began to look for colleges and I found out about the Fordham University/Alvin Ailey BFA Program. By the time I was in my senior year in college, I was on tour professionally with Alvin Aliley in Europe. It was amazing.
What advice to you have for aspiring dancers:
My main one is faith. In this field, you’re working towards something and you don’t know how it’s going to turn out. When you hear “no” at an audition, it’s not necessarily no to you, it just may mean no at this time or that’s just not where you’re supposed to be. A lot of people will be told no a lot. Sometimes it could be because they specifically needed a short person or a girl or a guy. You’ve got to have drive and passion. You’ve also have to take care of your body because your body is your instrument. Eat healthy on a daily basis. Time management is also important, especially if you’re balancing work, class and play. Make sure you’re a well-rounded person.
After 1 year with the company, Jacqueline was cast as the infamous Umbrella Carrier in the “Wade in the Water” section of Ailey’s 1960 masterpiece “Revelations.”
“I love that role so much! It’s everything to me. I revere the people who have done it before me and what it stands for. It makes me nervous every time I pick up the umbrella before I go on stage. I still can’t believe I’m ‘this’ person. It’s such a mature role.
You recently turned 23. What did you do on your birthday?
I had two performances on my birthday! It was perfect. All of my company members were so supportive.
What do you do in your free time?
I go to the movies! My favorite right now is Lincoln. I’m also a big family person. Since I travel so much, it’s a big deal when I can spend time with them all at one time.
What’s next for you?
Right now I’m in rehearsal for Pas de Duke (Alvin Ailey’s modern-dance translation of a classical pas de deux…aka dance duets). In college we would watch video tapes over and over again. I never knew 3-4 years later I’d actually be performing it with Alvin Ailey Dance Theater!
Alvin Ailey will be at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in Atlanta Feb. 16-19, 2012. For their complete tour schedule, visit www.alvinailey.org