Bradford, are you ready for Ailey?


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LIPA student Roy Quinn updates us on his life on tour with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

It was a bitter-sweetness boarding the bus and leaving Plymouth for our new city – Birmingham! Our coach journey was a nice short one. While on the bus we discussed the tour schedule and made amendments to it and so forth. Arriving into Birmingham was interesting as I had never visited before so it was nice to get to finally see the city. After checking in it was straight over to the Hippodrome, our new home for the next few days. I was given a tour of the venue before setting up the company office. By late evening we were finished and I went straight back to the hotel to sleep! It was much needed!!

Friday morning arrived and we had a busy day ahead of us. First stop was workshops. I attended the very intensive workshop given by Ailey dancer Vernard Gilmore. It was definitely a challenging one, he pushed everybody to their max!

After busy afternoon meetings I popped into front of house offices to sort out the programmes for the shows. Friday night’s performance programme was different to Plymouth so I got to watch the show and it was just mind blowing! My favourite piece was Piazzolla Caldera, it was spectacular. After the performance there were company drinks, here I was introduced to Arts Council members including Sarah Bond who I had a lovely chat about the Arts Council and its funding.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Belen Pereyra and Yannic Lebrun in Paul Taylor's Piazzolla Caldera. Photo by Paul Kolnik

Saturday morning was another busy day and I was left with the sole responsibility of getting Ailey dancer Renaldo Maurice to his workshop in ACE studios. I really enjoyed this responsibility, plus Renaldo is such a fun character and he shared some great tips in surviving tour life! Saturday we had two performances so the theatre was very busy all day. After the evening performance we cleared up the company office and awaited the ever so important programme sheet to come back. Once all this was sorted we packed up and said goodbye to the Hippodrome. It was a Saturday night so I decided to go out after the show and see what night life was like in Birmingham, before we left for Bradford the next day. My experience in Birmingham was different to Plymouth; I found Birmingham whizzed by due to the hustle and bustle of the city with its expanding dance hub.

Sunday morning arrived and we loaded up the buses and hit the road on route to Bradford…

…Bradford, are you ready?

Roy Quinn is dancer, director and student at Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts