Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Christopher Wilson in "WE. DANCE." (courtesy AAADT)

Essential Viewing: “WE. DANCE.”, a Powerful Video by Ailey’s Dancers

"When our hearts break, WE Dance."

That's the caption for this video, created by and featuring dancers from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Made in the midst of widespread protests over the death of George Floyd and so many other innocent Black people, it features poetic text written and performed by company member Hope Boykin, and moving, meditative dance footage from 25 other Ailey performers.


Here are the dancers featured, in order of appearance:

Hope Boykin, @hbdance
Yannick Lebrun, @yannicklebrun
Akua Noni Parker, @onlyupward
James Gilmer, @j_gilmer
Jacquelin Harris
Brandon Woolridge, @brandon_michael_woolridge
Samantha Figgins, @sfigg_udigg
Sarah Daley-Perdomo, @cherrysunblush
Jeroboam Bozeman, @jeroboamb
Jacqueline Green, @jagreen711
Jessica Amber Pinkett, @jessica.a.pinkett
Jermaine Terry, @jerms83
Jamar Roberts, @7jlr27
Constance Stamatiou, @constance.stamatiou
Belén Indhira Pereyra, @belen_pereyra_pro
Renaldo Maurice, @r_maurice25
Courtney Celeste Spears, @bahamaballerina
Christopher R. Wilson, @christopher.r.wilson
Vernard J. Gilmore, @vern93
Kanji Segawa
Clifton Brown
Miranda Quinn, @mirandaming4
Patrick Coker, @pcoke
Chalvar Monteiro, @chlvrmntro
Matthew Rushing, @matthewrushing73
Danica Paulos, @lens_of_the_heart

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Photo by Brooke Fera

Enter the World of the Knicks City Dancers with 2 of Their Newest Rookies

Auditions rarely fail to deliver on suspense. But this? This was the nail-biter to end all nail-biters. Hayoung Roh and Chelsea McCloskey, both professional dancers based in NYC, had made it through what felt like endless rounds of cuts, both on Zoom and in person. Out of the nearly 500 dancers (from 30 states and nine countries) who'd answered the Knicks City Dancers' open call for video submissions, just 20 remained—McCloskey and Roh among them. "We were separated into six holding rooms, where we kept trying to figure out the math," Roh recalls. "How many girls are there in total? Who was called back?"

Finally, the women returned to the audition room to dance one last time—or so they were told. Instead, KCD head coach Alyssa Quezada dropped her bombshell: All 20 women had made the final cut. They would be 2021–22 Knicks City Dancers: the latest and greatest edition of one of the most prestigious NBA dance teams. "It was the biggest celebration and the coolest moment of my dance career so far," says McCloskey now. And that was just the oh-so-perfectly-dramatic beginning.

Chelsea McCloskey stands on her left leg while kicking her right leg up with her arms crossed, a smile on her face. She is auditioning for KCD. Chelsea McCloskey Photo by Tess Mayer


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