The 92nd Street Y in Manhattan was the stage for that famous performance. Ailey drew upon his "blood memories" of growing up in Texas. Those were of the blues, spirituals, and gospel. They were his source of inspiration and it is in his masterpiece, Revelations, that this becomes incredibly clear. Almost too-much-to-bear, clear.
The performance did not disappoint. Each exquisitely choreographed number was amazing. These dancers are the best in the business and their movements, testimony to the beauty of the human body.
The thrill was there and it built to a crescendo when the final thirty five minute piece, the masterpiece, was performed. I was near tears when I told Lucy how fortunate we both were, to be seeing this in real time, on the beautiful stage of the Wang Theater. She recognized "Wade in the Water" from having seen it in school on YouTube. Her music teacher must be a very wise one for having selected this for the students to comprehend the African-American contribution. She knew instantly that the dance consisted of a series of spirituals. It was as incredible then as I am sure it was in March of 1958 and, I'm sure the audience at the 92nd Street Y were moved to their feet just as this audience was, by "Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham".
After it was all over and my Lucy was returned safely to her mother, I posted an Instagram, a photo of the two of us, arriving at the theater. Her response......"memories". I kinda have to agree. Yes, memories are made of this stuff. Beautiful memories. Thank you Lucy and thank you Alvin. May your memory last eternal. You rocked our souls.