This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to go and watch the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater perform live on stage in Los Angeles. It was the 50th anniversary of “Revelations” and my very first ballet of any kind, so I was super excited to watch what was most certainly an unforgettable performance.
Brief History: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater grew from a now-fabled performance in March 1958, at the 92nd Street Young Men’s Hebrew Association in New York. Led by Alvin Ailey and a group of young African-American modern dancers, that performance changed forever the perception of American dance.
After experiencing the show firsthand I fully understand why. The dancing was more than impressive and the narrative therein was beautiful; but what stole the show for me were the costumes! As soon as the curtain opened, I was taken by the elegant simplicity of each garment. They moved as the dancer moved; intensifying each movement and pulling me deeper into the unspoken story. For this week’s ‘Designer Spotlight’ I would like to pay homage to costume designer Geoffrey Holder. Watch this & guess which of his designs is my favorite from “The Prodigal Prince”.
Standing at 6 feet 6 inches tall, Geoffrey Holder is legendary in The Arts. Born in the Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, Holder is also an esteemed director, choreographer, dancer, singer, painter, author and costume designer. Most of us remember him best as the ever-so-enchanting Punjab in the 1982 movie version of the musical “Annie”. Some of his television fans likely remember him most from the classic 7-Up advertising campaign in which he was the spokesman for many years.
A true jack of all trades, Geoffrey Holder has paved a way for generations of African-American artists in every spectrum of art & design. He has received numerous awards for his contributions to The Arts “including two Tony Awards for his groundbreaking work as a director and costume designer for the hit Broadway musical, The Wiz, in 1974.” (source)
Today, Mr. Holder lives in New York City with his wife, fellow dancer Carmen De Lavallade. Although you cannot follow him on Twitter or Facebook, you can always continue to watch and support the work that he has done through the years. He dedicated his lifetime to inspiring the masses and by doing so proven to be a role model to us all. Click the links. Google him. Take some time out of your day to honor the one and only Mr. Geoffrey Holder.
…And please leave a comment below.