Dance aficionado André Leon Talley rearranged a trip to China, presumably for Chanel's pre-fall show in Shanghai, so he could make it to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s opening Wednesday night, which was also a celebration of Judith Jamison’s twentieth year as artistic director. (Just so you get a sense of his level of dedication, Denzel Washington, who was co-hosting the gala with his wife, Pauletta, had to cancel because of a filming conflict.) ALT sat with Jamison and star dancer Jamar Roberts at the Hilton Hotel, as giant cutouts of dancer silhouettes towered above him, and talked about his love of dance, horses, and trees — but not, of course, of those unfair people who are denying The September Issue its shot at an Oscar.
Did you ever want to be a dancer?
No, I never wanted to be a dancer, but I have always respected everything that Alvin Ailey ever did, and I’ve always liked the dance of Martha Graham. I’ve always admired dancers, the discipline of dancers. The only thing I’ve ever wanted to do that I haven’t done is ride a horse. I think dancers are the most extraordinary people, because they can make their bodies art. And this is one of the most glamorous companies, ever. It’s always a beautiful opening night. It’s full of glamour. This is Jamar [gestures to amazing dancer sitting next to him]. Look. He’s hungry now. And he’s in Sean John! Sean John! The tie and everything! Sean John dressed the guys and Badgley Mischka the girls. I respect the company so much. I respect everything that Judith has done. I go to their rehearsals. I worship them!
You go to rehearsals?
Yes, they invite me and I walk in and sit and just watch for an hour. Like at lunch hour from one to two or twelve to one. It’s close to my office. Have you met Eric Lewis? He’s a composer. He makes fabulous music!
Have they taught you any dance moves?
No, I wouldn’t be so presumptuous.
Will you get on the dance floor tonight?
Don’t ask me to dance. I won’t dance! Like Fred Astaire. There’s a certain moment when you have to maintain your dignity. Now, if it wasn’t a large room and it was someone’s private party, I might get up and dance. But I love this opening-night gala for Alvin Ailey.
Where does the desire to ride horses come from?
Because I’ve always thought that the discipline of the horse and the man and dance are the same thing to me. It’s ballet. It’s ballet!
Because the man and the horse are ballet. The communication between the man and the horse in a race, that’s sort of a little dance. And I’ve always thought the costumes of men on horses are the same as people on dance floors.
One other thing. The September Issue is out of contention for Best Documentary at the Oscars.
The Valentino documentary made the list.
I don’t know what happened. I think that’s unfair.
Sorry to tell you.
I didn’t know that news!
Are you still playing tennis?
I’ll do horse and dance only. The horse I will do.
What do you want for Xmas?
I love to have people give me trees as gifts. For my garden.
No, not a sapling. A little bit older than a sapling. Something that’s evident that it’s a tree that’s gonna grow.
What kind of tree?
I like a Chinese blossom/Chinese fountain tree. It looks like a fountain. It’s a hybrid. It grows like a fountain and it has pink flowers in spring. But I’ll do a Japanese Maple any day.
Most Viewed Stories
The Fashion Executive Who Doesn’t Wear Underwear on Dates
25 Famous Women on Being Alone
22 Intimate Lost Photos of Marilyn Monroe
How Angelina Jolie Won the First Big Battle in Her Divorce
It’s Time to Get Over Your White Feelings and Start Taking Action for Black Lives
Prince George Has No Time for Justin Trudeau’s High Fives
The Will & Grace Reunion Was Intensely Documented for Social Media
Amy Schumer Went All Out for the Kiss Cam at a Mets Game
The 6 Best Denim Shops on Etsy
Madame Clairevoyant: Horoscopes for the Week of September 26
From Our Partners
powered by PubExchange
Latest News from The CutDesperate Tom Hanks Scours City in Search of Weddings to Crash
He’s at it again.A Brief Encounter With the Screaming Reality Stars of Marriage Boot Camp
Jim and Amber Marchese explain that alleged domestic-violence incident, while Jade and Tanner Tolbert promise to make more reality TV.Imagine Being Able to Get a Year’s Worth of Birth Control at Once
California women can, starting in January.Adele Could Not Care Less About the Brangelina Divorce
So please don’t pretend like she does.Los Angeles Police Confirm Active Criminal Investigation Against Derrick Rose
It’s separate from the civil suit, which will come to trial next week.Renowned Founder of Pussy Posse Goes to Washington
Leonardo DiCaprio met with President Barack Obama for another historic hotness summit.We’re Very Worried About Brangelina’s French Vineyard
We hope Château Miraval keeps making wine.Prince George Has No Time for Justin Trudeau’s High Fives
No time at all!The Couture Craftswoman Bringing Her Vision to the Street
Christelle Kocher splits her time between Chanel and her own couture-meets-streetwear line.What Fashion Anthropologists Think About the Relentless Cargo-Shorts Boom
There’s a lot going on in those pockets.
Mars enters Capricorn.Lupita Nyong’o Dropped a Rap Video to Celebrate Her 3 Million Instagram Followers
She debuted a short video on Instagram.Amy Schumer Went All Out for the Kiss Cam at a Mets Game
She had a kiss for her dad and her boyfriend.The Fashion Executive Who Doesn’t Wear Underwear on Dates
This week’s sex diary.Marc Jacobs’s Dog Has His Own Coffee-Table Book
Neville Jacobs, Instagram celebrity.The Will & Grace Reunion Was Intensely Documented for Social Media
Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Megan Mullally, and Sean Hayes want you to feel FOMO.Emma Watson Helped Make a Short Film to Inspire You, Ladies
Jump those hurdles. Swing from a chandelier.Get Gender-Free Fashion Delivered to Your Hotel Room
Best room service ever.Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis Are Having a Girl
It’s yet another reason to be #NeverTrump.The Newsroom Meets Mad Men in the First Trailer for Amazon’s Good Girls Revolt
Revolt away, girls.