When the Dancers Have to Miss the Last Dance

When the Dancers Have to Miss the Last Dance

When the Dancers Have to Miss the Last Dance

When the Dancers Have to Miss the Last Dance

She would like to continue to develop her relationship with dance in ways that don’t have to do with the stage — at least for now. “I’ve been learning a lot about how else to take care of myself mentally, spiritually and emotionally with things like yoga, breath, work, meditation” she said. “It’s endless.”

With her husband, she has plans to attend workshops and training sessions this summer — yoga in India, Holotropic Breathwork in Spain and Vipassana meditation in Thailand. “I’m realizing things will be canceled possibly” she said. “But even though it’s so crazy now, it feels really good to know what I want to do, what I’m interested in. And I may not know exactly what that looks like yet, but I do have a vision of the person that I’m becoming.”

Ms. Boykin, 48, will remain in the dance world: She teaches and choreographs, making work that, increasingly, incorporates her writing. In 2019, she created and performed in one such dance featuring Lauren Lovette, a New York City Ballet principal, for the Vail Dance Festival. And “We Dance,” a recent Ailey Instagram video responding to the killing of George Floyd, as well as many others, is set to her text; she is shown reading alongside images of the dancers: “Our train, this train, this journey forward will not slow or stop,” she states in her clear voice.

She is busy. Ms. Boykin is the artistic lead of the Kennedy Center Dance Lab. And on June 14 she will show choreography as part of Virtual Works & Process, BalletX.

As she reflected on her Ailey career, Ms. Boykin shared a life lesson that she often thinks about: “I wish I had tried olives earlier,” she said. “I think I might have been 27. If I tasted an olive earlier, I would have known that this thing that looks like grape, but was not sweet at all and had a barrier in it that I needed to be careful of when I bit down, had a salty, savory flavor that I just adored. I feel like my mind was closed.”

As she finds herself not onstage, but teaching and performing virtually, she needs an open mind, and it has brought rewards.


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