Alvin Ailey opening night gala, where everybody’s a dancer
The 16th annual Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater opening night gala benefit at the John F. kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Feb. 4th, 2015 (Photographer James Brantley)
The 16th annual Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater opening night gala at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Feb. 4, 2015 (Photographer James Brantley.
Got the gala going up on a Tuesday.When Debra Lee, BET’s chief executive, shimmies past in a flash of diamonds, quickly followed by a two-stepping Bennett Rink, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s executive director, and a knot of Ailey dancers doing “the Wobble,” it’s safe to say that Ailey’s 16th annual opening night gala is officially a dance party.“I didn’t know it was going to be like this. I thought it would just be dinner and go home,” said one partier, a White House staffer, who was a first-timer at the Kennedy Center event. “And on a Tuesday?”
It’s always on a Tuesday, and it always goes just past midnight with the nearly 700 guests throwing Wednesday morning caution to the wind.
The tables, about $1,000 a plate, empty out right after the main course (beef short ribs) is served. When the go-go beats kick in, gala co-chairs Lee, lobbyist Gina Adams and lobbyist Lyndon K. Boozer (who topped last year’s turquoise velvet blazer with a fire engine red number) are some of the first to hit the floor.
“Look how much everyone’s having fun,” said Lee during a dance floor break. “People just feel like partying,” she added before grabbing a friend and doing just that.
Earlier that evening, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, who didn’t exactly bring her dancing shoes, said the night was a big part of Washington’s “12-month social season. It’s nonstop.”