Four weeks into Ailey’s UK tour and we caught up with dancer Sarah Daley on her adventures in Plymouth, Birmingham and Bradford. Next stop… Nottingham!
We are a few weeks into the tour and the UK has welcomed us warmly from London to Plymouth to Birmingham and now Bradford. Our run in London ended triumphantly, a highlight for me was an exciting performance of Piazzolla Caldera (by Paul Taylor) with the incomparable Hope Boykin as our lead. Every dancer knows the feeling of an ensemble working together to create a certain atmosphere onstage, transporting everyone in the theater to another realm. We had a great time onstage and the audience loved it!
From London we went to Plymouth, a lovely old city steeped in history. We had a day off so many of us visited the Plymouth Gin Distillery. Originally a monastery built in the 1400’s, it’s the oldest working gin distillery in England. We were led thorough the complex history of the distillery, what ingredients go into the different types of gin they produce, and then of course we had to do some tasting! After hitting the gift shop for some delicious souvenirs, we spent some time in the lounge atop the distillery learning even more about the wonders of navy strength gin from a creative bartender/artist in his own right! The relaxing day off was much needed and we came back to work renewed and ready to give the audiences in Plymouth a memorable two days.
Our next stop was the Hippodrome in Birmingham for a couple nights. There was a hip hop festival happening while we were there. We’d pass graffiti artists creating works on huge panels and dancers sharing their skills while crowds gathered to watch, while on our way to rehearsals. I heard that the entrance fee to one of the actual dance battles was a donation of canned goods to go towards people in need, which I thought was a great idea. It was a reminder of how essential art and artists of all kinds are to communities around the world. I was off for our last performance in Birmingham and decided to watch from the house…I love blending in with the audience, watching them as they are moved by the brilliance onstage, and being re inspired myself by my co-workers.
After Birmingham was Bradford, where we had another day off to relax and re-charge. Although it rained almost all day, I walked around with a few friends appreciating the quiet streets and really beautiful buildings that we stumbled upon. They were the perfect backdrop for impromptu photoshoots and Renaldo is always a great subject! Opening night was successful, we had an open rehearsal of Mr. Ailey’s Night Creatures earlier in the day and the students in attendance also came to the performance showing us lots of love, which is always energizing and much appreciated.
Tomorrow night we are in Nottingham and I know it’ll be amazing. Everyone is dancing beautifully and I’m looking forward to continuing to inspire through dance, tonight and for the rest of this tour.
Sarah Daley os a dancer for Alvin Ailey; Sarah was a member of Ailey II and joined the Company in 2011.