AAADT’s Michael Jackson Jr. (Photos by Dario Calmese) Alvin Ailey dancer embraces the Black queerness in new piece RICH LOPEZ | Staff firstname.lastname@example.org Members of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.(Photos by Dario Calmese) If it wasn’t for his time with Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Michael Jackson Jr. (not to be confused with the singer) said he might not have been prepared for his tenure at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.
So to come back to Dallas this weekend brings up some truly poignant feelings for the dancer. Alvin Ailey ADT gives three performances Saturday and Sunday, April 22-23, at the Music Hall at Fair Park as part of TITAS/DANCE UNBOUND season. “It’s a full circle even if it does make me feel a little old,” Jackson said with a laugh. “But Dallas Black really prepared me for Ailey because of the similarities of the Black dance world there are.” Jackson was with Dallas Black for two years when he was in his early 20s.
That was also the first company of modern dance he had ever danced with after years of performing ballet. Like Ailey now, the dancer loves the expression Black dance offers audiences. “It’s a style of its own with the music and choreography and the stories,” he said. “We dance about slavery and the racism of the past but also to honor our heroes like Martin and Mandela.
Transitioning from the Dallas stage to a New York stage for Ailey was easy because of that experience.” Now in his 11th season with Ailey, Jackson is finding that the dance vocabulary that mixes Blackness with queerness is expanding. “In my first year, well even at Dallas Black, we had to be this hypermasculine image, married to the idea of a Black man,” he said. “It was always most important to show this manly type