- The Washington Times - Friday, January 25, 2002

Any weeknight party where Mayor Anthony A. Williams stays late enough to dance until midnight with wife Diane, of course is bound to rate as one of the season's best.So it was at the Kennedy Center Tuesday following the opening night of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in its debut venue of a 20-city national tour. After a stunning performance in the Opera House, lithe and lively dancers the company has a total of 31 helped keep the joint jumping after dinner in the South Gallery with an eclectic group of luminaries that included Sen. Christopher Dodd; D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton; D.C. school board head Peggy Cooper Cafritz; lawyers Lloyd Cutler, Boyden Gray and Jamie Gorelick; Black Entertainment Television founder Robert Johnson; businessmen Greg Earls and Conrad Cafritz; former U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor; Bitsey Folger; Ann Jordan; Leo and Grega Daly; Penne Korth; and Liz Stevens.
Not to forget the organizers: co-chairwomen Carolyn Brody and Wendy Raines, plus Buffy Cafritz, Jackie Clegg Dodd, Debra Lee, Carolyn Peachey, Riley Temple and others who helped net read net a remarkable $220,000 for the New York-based troupe's Washington outreach and scholarship programs.
The company makes news wherever it goes. In June, it will break ground for a new home in 75,000 square feet of space on New York's west side that reportedly will be the largest dance complex in the country. Costing a total of $53 million, the six-story building will house 12 dance studios, according to General Manager and Production Director James King.
Next month in Salt Lake City, the world will see the dancers perform a new piece commissioned by the Olympic Committee based on the life of the late athlete Florence Griffith Joyner called "Here … Now," with choreography by Artistic Director Judith Jamison and music by Wynton Marsalis. The initial performance of the work, seen only once before, in December in New York, will take place in the Olympic Arts Theater in that city.
Accolades for Miss Jamison and her dancers resounded after an opening-night bill that included "Caravan" (based on Duke Ellington tunes), "Serving Nia" (music by Dizzy Gillespie, Branford Marsalis and others) and "Revelations," the late Mr. Ailey's gospel-inspired signature piece, which never fails to thrill an audience.
"You still get chill bumps no matter how many times you've seen it," said Cate Magennis Wyatt, sighted in the crowd with her husband, Steve.
When Miss Jamison was introduced, she at first refused to speak. "I won't say a word until I have all the dancers behind me," she said as the entire company scrambled forward to take yet another bow.
"They are all divine human beings, and they were burning up the stage tonight," she told benefactors, taking the opportunity to warmly remind them that a dancer's art requires not only enormous "commitment and dedication," but "great heart as well."
Kevin Chaffee and Ann Geracimos

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