Outreach: From Kennedy Center Performers to Audience Members All in One Week

Taylor, Jasmine, and Dionna in the Kennedy Center lobby

What’s better than performing at the Kennedy Center? How about starting and ending that same week by seeing your dance idols perform and then meeting them?

Bookending their performance on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage (see previous post), the teens in the Step Ahead Dance Ensemble went on two field trips to see local performances of world-renowned productions.

The weekend before their own performance, they got to see STOMP at the Warner Theater on January 30th. Company member Jasmine raved, “The show STOMP is now one of my favorites. The performance was fun and entertaining and involved the audience. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The following weekend, on February 5th, the Ensemble saw a matinee of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in the Opera House at the Kennedy Center. It was an inspired and inspiring performance and marked the first time anyone from Step Ahead had seen Ailey. Among the repertory they got to see were the iconic “Cry” and “Revelations,” which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Veteran Ailey dancer Renee Robinson with Step Ahead Dance Ensemble

Connecting with two Ailey dancers from the DC area was a major highlight of that afternoon. Veteran Ailey dancer Renee Robinson came out during intermission to meet the Step Ahead girls and Quynn Johnson, our Outreach Manager. The group got to chat with Renee about what it’s like to perform for such a beloved company, and about their own experiences in the Step Ahead Dance Ensemble.

Ailey dancer Ghrai DeVore with Step Ahead Dance Ensemble

Ghrai DeVore, also from DC and daughter of faculty member Elana Anderson, was invited to join the Ailey company within the past year. Step Ahead Dance Ensemble member Taylor jumped at the chance to ask Ghrai what dance styles Ailey dancers are trained in, making mental notes for herself. “That was my first time seeing the company, and it will not be the last! I would honestly love to dance for them one day,” reflected Taylor.