High Altitude Society: Dancers give back to the community
On a gorgeous, sunny Saturday on Aug. 8 along the Eagle River, two fine young gentlemen were being recognized for their contributions to the dance community at the home of some of their greatest fans. Tom and Jennifer Hillman, along with Cheryl Holman, hosted a lovely brunch soiree with friends from near and far. Michele and Steven Pesner had traveled all the way from the Hamptons outside of New York City to watch Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Antonio Douthit-Boyd and others dance at the Vail International Dance Festival.
Cheryl Holman, who spends time in both the Vail Valley and St. Louis, Missouri, was giddy with excitement and invited others to share in her enthusiasm.
Holman beamed, “Antonio and Kirven [Douthit-Boyd] are about to begin another chapter, coming off an extraordinarily successful professional career with Alvin Ailey for 11 and 12 years. As many of you know, Antonio started (his training) way back when at the Center for Creative Arts in St. Louis, Missouri.”
Holman announced that the two dancers have decided to retire from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and begin new careers as co-artistic directors of dance at the Center for Creative Arts.
Holman continued saying that she was thrilled “about the absolute gift and significance in their choosing to give back to the community. I could not be more excited, more grateful or thankful … not only are they phenomenal dancers and professionals, but they are really good guys … ”
When Antonio spoke of his younger years at COCA, Jennifer Hillman got emotional.
“That is the beauty of it. I feel very choked up because you were a child then and now you are an adult. The gift that you had that COCA brought out of you — the two of you are going to bring out of so many children,” she said.
In speaking to the rehearsal schedule involved for dancers performing in the Vail International Dance Festival, Holman concluded, “I have learned of the amount of time, rigor and discipline of the schedule, so, thank you for making the time to be with us. And, we will all be watching you tonight.”
Betty Ann Woodland is a longtime local who covers social events including fundraisers for nonprofits, local happenings and soirees of all kinds.