April Alisa Marquette's Blog

May 9, 2016

You know we loved him, right?

Hello Friends and Fam,

Today I just had to get with you. I have actually wanted to, for I don’t know how many days.
As of this writing, the world  recently lost a true icon and musical virtuoso, the peerless artist known as . . .Prince. Due to this loss, I — along with countless others are truly aggrieved.
superbowl prince
You may ask “Why?” You may even wonder if people like us aren’t being a bit dramatic and sentimental. If this is you, then you need me to break it down for you. Right here, right now.
Click on: Why we luh dat man Present tense, to begin to understand a bit about the man and his following.

 

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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.

August 21, 2013

Do You Embrace Yourself?

thumbs up hug

Loving one’s body, and mind — employing self-love is embracing one’s self. 

With that said; as modern people, we are often bombarded from every side by the media. It hits us with messages that say we are not enough — not tall enough, or thin enough, not light enough, or tan or bronzed or black enough. The message sometimes is we’re not young, hip, or smart enough either.

Then if that’s not the case,  we may wind up receiving the same  message, but in reverse. We are too much. We are much too loud, too big –we’re obese, or we’re too old or too boisterous. It can even be suggested that we are much too under — or over — qualified. Wow! All of these mixed messages can weigh heavily on a person’s mind, whether or not they know it.

To tell you the truth, all of these mixed messages are the anti-thesis of embracing ourselves. Click here to find out why

June 21, 2013

Consider Stillness

Filed under: A Must Read,Blog,Books,Contemplation,Daily,Devotion,Inspirational,Peaceful,Stillness — April Alisa Marquette @ 9:03 am

You know you loved a book when it stays on your mind, and when what you felt when you read it stays with you…

April Alisa Marquette's Blog

There is a book that I’d read a while back and I could not think of the name of it. I knew that upon beginning to read that particular book I’d garnered such a sense of peace. I could see the cover of the book in my mind, but the words just would not come clear.

Then I remembered. I’d been so enamored with the book that I’d had to blog about it, thus this re-post. Do enjoy…

I’ve recently begun to read Thomas Merton’s ‘A Book of Hours.’ A monk at the Trappist Monastery of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Merton has led the way for many in their search for the divine. Upon reading the first few pages of the book, I sensed the peace that this devout servant strove for. I like that he advises us to listen, in silence, and to surrender to silence when we are…

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November 3, 2010

Sowing — What Makes This Story Relevant

Hi all,

I want to share a story with you. It is one that I co-authored with Jessica Janna, renowned New York evangelist and song stylist. The name of her book is Sowing. It is the second install in her Relinquish and Reap Series, a collection of her memories.

Jessica, who is now seventy-something, recounts her years as an adolescent in the purse-sized book Sowing. She shares with readers some experiences of hers that became her secrets to carry… until now.

To read more about this remarkable woman of faith, take a peek at the review written by BellaOnline.com’s Christian Literature Editor, Lyn Sedmina.

It is my hope that after reading the review and the book, you will see what makes Jessica and her story — told in seven volumes — one for each decade of her life — relevant.

Available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and Books-a-Million.com

September 13, 2010

Consider Stillness

There is a book that I’d read a while back and I could not think of the name of it. I knew that upon beginning to read that particular book I’d garnered such a sense of peace. I could see the cover of the book in my mind, but the words just would not come clear.

Then I remembered. I’d been so enamored with the book that I’d had to blog about it, thus this re-post. Do enjoy…

I’ve recently begun to read Thomas Merton’s ‘A Book of Hours.’ A monk at the Trappist Monastery of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Merton has led the way for many in their search for the divine. Upon reading the first few pages of the book, I sensed the peace that this devout servant strove for. I like that he advises us to listen, in silence, and to surrender to silence when we are seeking God. Merton admonishes us to remember that patiently God waits, in silence, for us to arrive at the place where all our noise, both that that is inside us—continually telling us to do this and that, or go here and there—and the noise that is outside us, subsides. Merton lets us know that in order for this to happen we must allow all noise to cease. We must actively seek peace.

I like that the book is laid out in daily segments. Offered are verses and hymns, psalms and prayers, for every time of day and night. I love that the author ever urges us to consider stillness, the silence that can only come from within. He reminds us that at any time, one can begin this wonderful journey which ultimately leads to the sometimes untapped treasures that lie within each of us. Merton reminds us that this journey leads us to the greater knowledge that every single day, God is uttering us into being… into being someone more, someone peaceful, someone powerful, someone who ultimately realizes that he or she is eternally treasured. Merton also unlocks the recognition that each one of us is ‘full of paradise’ –oft times without recognizing it.

As many of us ponder and pray for those who transitioned during 9/11 –a day that will forever live in our psyches and hearts; as we seek peace and comfort for those left behind, for those who loved, and yet love; as we meditate on those who mourn, and as we remember those who can smile –perhaps even tentatively again, when for so long their hearts were in tatters, this simple Book of the Hours reminds us that in the midst of mind-numbing, heart-rending tragedy, yet God is there. He is…and He may be found, most often, in silence, in the beautiful stillness that each one of us has the ability to call from within.

I release prayers today, the way others release doves, for all who loved and lost, for those who were lost, but found their way, and for those who remain.

Today I wish you … precious peace.

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