Michelle Obama’s Tribute to Judith Jamison!

YouthDancers: Photo Credit http://www.thewhitehouse.gov

 Mrs. Obama says “What brings us together today is the extraordinary career of an amazing, phenomenal, fly woman the renowned dancer, choreographer, and artistic director Judith Jamison”this is perhaps the reason Michelle Obama decided to honor Ms. Jamison at the White House on yesterday allowing young dancers the opportunity to participate in a 90 min workshop in the East Room of the White House and then attended the performance honoring Jamison’s career in dance.

Michelle Obama

During Mrs. Obama’s opening remarks she made mention of the new White House Dance Series. She also spoke about their new music series where they showcase a whole range of different genres of music- from classical to country, to music of the Civil Rights movement. However, last night instead of hearing the beauty of song she was more interested in witnessing the glory of movement.

Who was in the house you may ask…..The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Billy Elliott the Musical, The New York City Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Super Cr3w and the Washington Ballet. Mrs. Obama said that from ballet to Brod way to hip-hop was represented and that last night was a celebration of some of the most beautiful, powerful, and emotional aspects of American dance.

Mrs. Obama stated that Jamison’s work has been an inspiration to her personally and the President. She recalls that the only piece of art they had in their home was Jamison’s picture in “Cry”. She went on to say “After my husband’s inauguration, our family’s very first trip to the Kennedy Center was for the Alvin Ailey 50th anniversary performance. That was great.”

Mrs. Obama went on to say:

And for years I have gone to watch Judith’s company whenever and wherever I can.  And I always try to bring these two little women with me because I want them to see Judith’s gifts on display, because I want them to witness the grace and the beauty that stirs our souls and connects us to each other like nothing else can.  
And in her biography, entitled “Dancing Spirit,” Judith wrote — these are her words: “Dancing is bigger than the physical body.  Think bigger than that,” she said.  “When you extend your arm, it doesn’t stop at the end of your fingers, because you’re dancing bigger than that.  You’re dancing spirit.”
In so many ways, Judith Jamison embodies that spirit –- a spirit that is alive in all the dancers she’s inspired, in all the pieces she’s perfected, in all the audiences she has moved and uplifted.

 And so the White House Dance Series began with an excerpt from “Cry” by the Alvin Ailey Dace Theater. Mrs. Obama said “It was a gift from Alvin to his mother, and Judith made it famous. Now, it is a gift from us to her. So enjoy.”

Have you had an Alvin Ailey Dance experience?


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