April Alisa Marquette's Blog

February 18, 2014

Dance that makes the heart soar

Alvin Ailey American Dance TheatherAs I’ve written in the past, I love to see dance that makes the heart soar. Thus I try to see the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater – That used to be under the artistic direction of once-dancer par excellent Judith Jamison — whenever they are in town. I happen to love this troupe that has performed for over 23 million people in 71 countries on multiple continents. I totally relate to the dances and the music that happens to be rooted in the unique African-American experience.

I also love that while creating his dances, the late great formally trained founder, Alvin Ailey called forth his memories of the American south. He summoned the universal human experience so aptly expressed in the blues, gospel music, and Negro spirituals. Doing so caused him to create unbelievable works, one of which is his critically acclaimed and most popular, entitled Revelations.

Now don’t get me wrong. The company performs ballet and other dance genres. They also strive to preserve the wholly American modern dance heritage. Now more than ever is this evident. Perhaps it is due Robert Battle, who became the Ailey Dance Theater’s Artistic Director in 2011.

I must say this year, there was a distinct difference. In the past, while watching the performers, whose ethnicities widely vary, I felt powerfully moved, and stirred. I even thought about the origins of African Dance. However, there have been subtle changes which caused myself and others who attended to question whether or not the Dance Theater is moving away from the traditional, to become more mainstream.

To me ‘more mainstream’ like portions of the 2014 show are overkill. I mean who can’t turn on their TV or tune in to YouTube to watch modern dance on any number of platforms. For me what made the Ailey experience one that I looked forward to each year was the fact that the dance troupe reminded us that African dance has always played a vital role in the lives of tribal people. Dance was used in everyday life. It was significant in religious rituals too; it was used to request success from the supernatural, and to deter danger. Dance was and still is used to express emotion, and to celebrate life’s milestones.

I know that other ethnicities use dance in similar manners. However African dancers do what some others do not. They use their body’s different centers to create complex movements; whereas in parts of the world dancers simply move the body as a whole.

I love the isolation that African dance employs, which causes different areas of the body to rhythmically move while creating a breathtaking whole. I love the mood, set by the drum, the beat — the actual steady heartbeat of the dance. The drum and the beat were carried to the new world when the enslavement of Africans began, in the 15 and 1600’s. In Spain, the Caribbean, and in the Americas, dance and the drumbeat were used to keep the African’s cultural connection with his and her homeland alive. However, in North America this became prohibited. Yet despite the oft times degrading harshness of their new existence, the African found a way to allow his and her spirit to occasionally soar.

My ancestors did so through beautiful transcendent dance. They allowed their moves, and their bodies — unlike their souls and their dreams — to adapt. Instead of lifting the feet, as prohibited, the hips took over, and the feet were slid or shuffled, as the rest of the body continued to undulate to the beat.

This type of dance is a powerful thing to watch, especially in a collective audience where the energy felt can be palpable. Not only does it speak to those of African descent, it simply speaks…to humans no matter their race, or ethnicity. This is evidenced by the millions, who like me; flock to see the Ailey Dance Theater. This is also evidenced by the dances that we see throughout the world, innumerable dances that have been Afro-Rhythmically inspired. As an African-American, I am proud to say: beautiful dance – African dance, and ethnic dance — will forever live on. I simply hope it will do so in the performances of the Dance Theater that was founded by Alvin Ailey, the creative genius now gone who also believed in African-inspired dance.

As a longtime patron of the arts I have one thing to say. I plainly say to the present and future Artistic Directors who will helm this TRADITIONAL dance troupe, REMEMBER OUR ROOTS! I say so because we want to continue to experience dance that makes the heart soar.

February 27, 2012

Book Review: Iniquities by April Alisa Marquette

Book Review: Iniquities by April Alisa Marquette.

Read Tamela Quijas’ stunning review of ‘Iniquities’ Book III in The Cohort Trilogy!

 

November 17, 2010

Is DWTS A Dancing Contest or a Popularity Contest?

I am so disappointed, actually I feel betrayed. Sure, it may seem petty, but I have to talk about it. I’ve been watching ABC’s ‘Dancing With the Stars’ (DWTS) on television, and as a writer, editor and motivational speaker , I don’t have a lot of time to just kick it. So this has been my little gift to myself, the time to sit and absorb the music, the dance, and the beauty. The thing is: now it’s time for the finals… and my favorite is gone. What kind of foolishness is this? I was rooting for Brandy and Jennifer. However, now I have to sit back and see how I feel, now that one of them is gone.

Like Fox t.v.’s ‘American Idol,’ ‘Dancing’ is starting to get on my nerves. Why? Because the audience gets to vote. Hey, I’m all for democracy, but I still think there should be some type of DWTS electoral college. I believe the judges should have the last say, or they should at least be able to rescue someone if the voting public, the viewing audience gets it wrong. And I say the viewers got it wrong last night, because there is no way that Brandy the singer, who has blossomed into a wonderful dancer, should have gone home. The fun of the show was knowing that she and actress Jennifer Grey, a superb dancer in her own right, were going to be in the finals.

The excitement, for me, was that they would face off, against each other, since they happen to be the top two dancers. Both have beautiful moves, they give it their all — granted Jennifer cried a little too much for me, and someone said that Brandy wanted the Mirror Ball Trophy a little too much — but each dancer has to have their quirks right? However, the other people who are left to go into the finals… honestly, I don’t think they should be there, plain and simple. Bristol Palin seems to be a sweet, and she appears to slowly be emerging from her shell, quite possibly stepping out of her famous mother’s shadow. Kyle Massey happens to be a Disney favorite; he is charming and such a showman! But he and Bristol are not the greatest dancers, to put it plainly. Both have repeatedly been in the lower scoring tiers. In my opinion, at least one of them should have to watch from home, or they should have to watch the finals from the sidelines. Yet they are in the finals!

To the show producers I have something to say. If the judges have given a dancing couple the lowest scores, and this is consistently the case, eject that couple. Applaud them for effort, but eliminate them, let them go home. Or other viewers may begin to feel like I feel. They may even ask the question, does popularity matter more than achievement? Or perhaps viewers may ask: is the show more about who (or whose family) can best manipulate the media? Producers, you hired the judges because they are professionals; they know dance, and theory. They know what true dance aficionados are looking for, whereas the viewing audience may simply see the show — not as a dance contest, but as a popularity contest.

September 10, 2010

I’m Stoked!!!

Outwrite Wins!!

I am so excited to announce that in ATLANTA Georgia, you can now order my books from OUTWRITE BOOKSTORE & COFFEEHOUSE!

It is an independent bookstore and coffeehouse located in midtown Atlanta, at 991 Piedmont Avenue NE. Opened in 1993, Outwrite serves Atlanta’s gay & lesbian community. With expanded products and services this friendly space reflects the ATL’s ever changing, growing & diversifying Midtown community.

You can also order my books from CHARIS BOOKS & MORE! Located at 1189 Euclid Avenue NE, it’s the south’s oldest and largest feminist bookstore. They specialize in: diverse and unique children’s books, feminist and cultural studies books, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer fiction and non-fiction.

If you live in the ATL, or you’ll drop in, why not stop by one or both for a visit?

Check me out, at both stores. I’m telling you… I’ll catch you from any page, and make you a willing captive!

I look for you to pick up something of mine soon. 🙂

Big ups to Charis & Outwrite!!!

September 2, 2010

Not to worry

Some of you have said you missed my interview. Not to worry…

It will rebroadcast today, this afternoon.  4 p.m. is ‘A Woman’s Spirit’ the re-broadcast — with me! Just click here on ‘Radio Show.’ 

Hit ‘Listen Online,’ then ‘Live Streaming Radio.’ 

 If you miss the re-broadcst, not to worry. It will go in the ‘Archives.’  Again, just click on the link below, click on ‘Radio Show.’  Then once at the America’s Web Radio site, scroll down untill you see my name in blue. Then click ‘Listen.’ Anytime! Podcast should be up by the weekend.

Thank you all for your interest! And at my website, sign up for the contest. Answer one question and become a winner!  Hopefully!

August 31, 2010

Gentle Reminder…

Listen for the Giveaway!!

A deliciously frustrating and exhilarating love story.

Don’t forget to listen to my upcoming interview on
‘A Woman’s Spirit’ the lovely radio show for women. I’ll discuss many things, including my latest novel Turnabout. Then I will ask a question on my personal site: http://www.aprilalisamarquette.com on my Check This Out page. There will be room for you to answer.

Remember, there’s no pressure… The question asked will refer to something discussed in the interview. Afterward, two winners will be randomly chosen! Within days you’ll know if perhaps YOU have won…so don’t forget to tune in!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 for one hour,
from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. You can also listen anytime afterward, because the broadcast will become a podcast!

Click on ‘A Woman’s Spirit’ to listen on the web at anytime! Or use the following web address:

http://www.radiosandysprings.com/showpages/womansspirit.php

Under the word ‘ARCHIVES’ look for the date September 1, 2010 and Guest: April Alisa Marquette.  Then click on the ‘listen’ link.

Even if you don’t participate in the giveaway, then perhaps you’ll just listen.  Whatever you do, it’s up to you, but do enjoy!

August 24, 2010

Book Giveaway and Radio Appearance

Hi there, 

I wanted to let you know about something I’m doing soon… 

I am going to appear on ‘A WOMAN’S SPIRIT’ — the radio show, click on ‘Listen Online, Live Streaming Radio.’  It is an empowering, enriching 1-hour program, for women. Men are welcome too. Briefly, let me describe the show. It is a laid back, quiet space, located smack dab in the middle of a week that sometimes consists of chaos. You get the picture…this show is something you need, an experience you can use to re-charge. I must tell you, the show’s host, Ms. Vanecia Wills-Leufroy has the most lovely cadence to her voice. I often listen to her while I write. Her rich deep vocal tones  remind me of cacao and cream, or of the jazz diva Sarah Vaughn’s extraordinary singing voice, and this host connects with her audience. She feels them, and they her! I like that. Check out the show and you just might agree. Oh, and trust me to liken anything — even a person’s voice — to food! 

However, to get back on track, on ‘A WOMAN’S SPIRIT’ we will host a two-book giveaway for my latest novel. 

A deliciously frustrating and exhilarating love story.

 

It is called Turnabout

For those of you who don’t know, Turnabout is a love story, but it is not just about the lovers. Their family, friends, and even those whom only a mama can love, are all entwined in this must-read. 

The date of my appearance is   

Wednesday, September 1, 2010  

2 p.m. to 3 p.m. 

The lovely thing about this show is you may listen from your laptop or computer! 

Click here to go to the Radio Show. 

Or you may tune in online:  www.radiosandysprings.com/showpages/womansspirit.php 

Don’t forget, it’s next week: Wednesday September 1, 2010 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. 

As I said, I will discuss my latest novel. I will also explain to listeners how I found ‘my voice’ — my reason for writing.  Then two lucky winners will win their own signed copy of my book! 

This particular episode of ‘A WOMAN’S SPIRIT’ is also slated to be re-broadcast, and will be available for you to listen to in the radio show’s archives.  www.radiosandysprings.com/showpages/womansspirit.php 

I want you to listen. I’d like that. I also want you to enter the contest — not because I’ll get anything out of it … but wouldn’t it be great if you won?! 

Don’t forget, join us for a bit of cacao, cream, and meaningful chit-chat. You’re gonna love it!

August 16, 2010

More about my ‘Cohort Trilogy’

2nd in The Cohort Trilogy

Last time we ‘met,’ I was telling you about my novel Progression, which is the second install in The Cohort Trilogy. In this particular book a question is answered…

But first a little background to catch us up. In the first book, called Absolution, as some of you know, our gay male character, Beau, was betrayed, by one of his female cohorts. Girlfriend did this by by cavorting with Beau’s man, but what I didn’t get a chance to tell you last time was that girlfriend  had a secret. It was something that would surely add to the drama that the cohorts were already experiencing…if the secret got out. I can’t tell you what it is. You’ll have to read the first novel, Absolution to find that out. However, I can tell you one thing… the secret is not good.

Therefore, in Progression, the second book, readers find out the culmination of ‘the secret’ – that is, if it got out. LOL

In Progression, readers also get to meet our lovely gay Beau’s mother. This woman was out of his life for a good while. Again, you’ll have to read the first book to find out why; but now she’s back. She has also gotten ‘involved’ with the very wrong person. Mama Dearest – not her name — has become entangled with Beau’s ex, the skanky red-haired Sandal!

Can any good come of this union? Again, you’ll have to read to find out. You will also need  to read Progression, the sequel, in order to see the other ways in which our cohorts may or may not have progressed. In the second  novel, there is laughter, sometimes it may just pop out of you. (As a writer, I am actually that good, and I’m not being braggadocious—just real.) Also readers, you’ll  note that that there is an emotional element as well. Those who have read it, have called Progression an emotional ride. I however, have likened this tale to a roller coaster, because it has ups and downs, and twists and turns. Readers seemingly get jerked around, just like on a real roller coaster, as we zoom up one hill, only to plummet down another! I feel it’s all part of the flava, and it keeps readers wanting more, it keeps them desiring to turn pages.

One woman told me that she stayed up all night trying to find out what would happen, although she needed to be up early the next day for work. I was pleased that she was so interested, because it is my endeavor to create books that pique the curiosity. Although I want to entertain, I also try to write books that make readers think, and that is what I am endeavoring to do now, as I work on the third book in The Cohort Trilogy — the book that I wanted to tell you about.

It is called Iniquities, and this novel happens to focus on our lovely gay hunk Beau; it depicts more about his life than the first two books combined. ‘Iniquities’ gives us an in-depth look at Beau. We get to see him at work, at play, and in love, or lust – whichever he chooses. We see his memories and become privy to his innermost thoughts. Plain and simply put, in Iniquities we find ourselves in Beau’s world. This novel is steamy in places and other areas just may cause readers to hold their breath…

But I’ll tell you more about it. You know I will. Just meet me back here, real soon; and remember. If your day isn’t going well, simply decide to start it again. Find your ‘calm place,’ then ask for Wisdom. She will show up, and then you’ll be off again– doing your thing!

August 14, 2010

Things I want To Discuss

Okay, last time, I mentioned having a few things I wanted to discuss with you. Well one of those things is…my latest novel Turnabout. It is now on Amazon kindle, and it’s available on Kindle UK! I’m stoked. 

A deliciously frustrating and exhilarating love story.

 

 

The other thing I wanted to tell you about is a book I’m writing. I happen to be working on the third book in The Cohort Trilogy. For those of you who need catching up, this trilogy is about four friends, a sexy hunk of a gay male and his three women friends. In the first install of the trilogy, readers get to meet the foursome. Readers also get to see that the friends who call themselves ‘cohorts’ –because they are like partners in crime– believe their friendship is perfect, or darn near.  

However, their thing starts to unravel—with a betrayal. Isn’t that always how it begins? One of the women cavorts with the gay male’s love interest — his man. Oh, our male cohort’s name is Beau. Well, you know drama follows… You’ve got to pick up this novel. The name is Absolution, and it is available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million. 

1st in The Cohort Trilogy by April Alisa Marquette

 

Absolution is also available in stores, ask them to order it if you don’t see it. Store staffers will gladly do so and let you know when this juicy  book comes in. 

Now, to tell you—briefly, about the second novel in The Cohort Trilogy, it is called Progression. And as the name suggests, in this the sequel, readers get to see how the cohorts have progressed. We get to see if they are any wiser, since they’ve grown older. Also shown are others who were in the background of the prior novel, Absolution. However, in Progression, the second install, there are some characters! Our gay male hunk has another man this go ‘round. Beau’s new jump-off’s name is Sandal, and what a red-haired queen Sandal is! Readers just may want to strangle him, while others may laugh out loud at his antics. 

2nd in The Cohort Trilogy

 

You know what? I can’t even tell you about the third novel in The Cohort Trilogy, not yet, because there is more that I need to tell you about Progression

I gotta go put a load of laundry in though, since I didn’t do it earlier in the week. However, you know the drill. I’ll get back with you. We’ll pick up right here. Stay tuned… because as I said, I’ve I got stuff to tell you. 

Shout out to Tam! Hey lady.

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