Alvin Ailey opening night gala, where everybody’s a dancer
By Helena Andrews

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.”

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