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.

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November 7, 2013

My lil’ stroll down memory lane

Filed under: Blog,Bookstores,Friendship,Thought Provoking — April Alisa Marquette @ 7:38 am
Tags: , , , , ,

In taking a lil’ stroll down memory lane, I  just want to share with you that recently I got to spend some time with extended family members. Boy, was it wonderful! Just being with my cousins, aunties and uncles brought back floods of Imagememories.  When we were all young we had no idea that the greatest gift that our Nana could give us was to insist that all of her family spend the major holidays together. a few times it seemed like an imposition, especially as we all started growing, spreading our wings and trying to become the people we wanted to be. However, now looking back, I see that my grandmother was a very wise woman. Although we weren’t aware of it at the time, she was actually giving us a foundation, to which we could return at any time. I have aunties who yet do that to this day. We lost one such beautiful shining light, but she did not leave us without admonishing us to keep the tradition of getting together alive. Therefore, despite all that keeps me busy, I have re-committed myself to the legacy of love that we have been left.  I think one of my cousins said it best in a cute little post. It read, and I’m paraphrasing, cousins are the first friends we have in life. In my book, sometimes they are the BEST friends we can have in life.

So there you have it, my lil’ stroll down memory lane.

Well, gotta run my darlings, but live and love!

 

family

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

July 9, 2013

Ever start the day feeling not quite right?

Ever start the day feeling not quite right? Well, I’ll tell you something. You can fix that. How, you might ask. With the power of your mind of course. A man once told me that it didn’t matter what happened to him, he could always start his day over — in his mind. So I tried it, and today I’m even going to let you join me. Watch me now… because I am going to do something we often did as kids when things didn’t go like we wanted them to. I am going to indulge in a virtual ‘do-over.’

Since I feel like crap at this moment, I’m going to have a huge cup of coffee. This one right here…coffee

Then although I know it’s laden with calories and sugar, I don’t care right now. I am am going to enjoy a virtual apple turnover. apple turnover See, I’ve even taken a ‘bite.’ Mmm…dee-lish!

When I finish it, I am going to get up in this comfy bed where I will pull the covers over my head and sleep until I feel ready to face the day. comfy bed …Reaching from beneath the cover to turn out the light.

A virtual two hours has passed. Ahhhh, now I’m waking up. I feel refreshed and new. waking up new Don’t I look it?

 

You should try it. It’s amazing how just thinking about doing a few needful things will rejuvenate!

Well, I’ve got to go, get a few things done, now that I’m all better, therefore…

Until next time,

April

 

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.

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!!!

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!

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