It’s week three of Alvin Ailey’s tour across the UK and we checked in with Glenn Allen Sims on his UK experience so far…
Hello United Kingdom! My name is Glenn Allen Sims, and I am dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater currently in my 20th year. It is a pleasure to be back in London! It has been 6 years since we last performed in the U.K. Unlike past visits when the weather was grey, chilly, and rainy; perfect weather for autumn. This time, the sun is shining and the weather is WARM! We are at the end week two of our sold out performances at Sadler’s Wells, and the audiences have been phenomenal! Each night that the curtain rises, the audience reacts as if they are at a rock concert, screaming, clapping, and whooping. I must say, this is impressive to hear at the top of a performance.
As you know, we have been rehearsing and performing endlessly. Company members have had their first time performing new roles in works like Four Corners, LIFT, Piazzolla Caldera, Open Door, and Revelations to name a few. Needless to say, I have had very little time to do any sight seeing nor to see what is new and fresh here in London. I am grateful to have seen all the major sights on previous visits.
You might ask, what do you do when you’re not dancing? Well, on Monday September 12, my wife Linda Celeste Sims who is currently in her 21st year with the company, went to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! One of my favorite stories since childhood! In my opinion, how fitting it is to see a musical that is truly British. A story of an impoverished lad, Charlie Bucket, whose dreams and ideas become a reality when he finds the golden ticket to enter Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory. This was a definite “must”; to witness an iconic story unveiled on stage… the children stole the show, the set design was whimsical, and the evening was nothing short of “pure imagination”! The only element missing was the scent of chocolate wafting in the theater! We both agreed, that this evening was a great way to pay homage to the brilliance of the late actor, Gene Wilder.
(Above: Linda Celeste and Glenn Allen Sims at the Royal Theater watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)
Another highlight of week two was having the opportunity to facilitate a workshop class for the students of Kingston College. The students traveled to Sadler’s Wells and danced in the same studio that we conducted our rehearsals/class on a daily basis. The class was Horton based and most of the dancers were familiar with the technique. (Now that I think about it I should’ve photographed the dancers demonstrating a lateral T for the contest.) All though our time together was brief, I was able to teach the dancers a part of “Daniel” from the company’s signature work Revelations. Only a few have seen Revelations, and for those who have not witnessed the beauty of Revelations had the chance to see it in its entirety during the student performance the following day. What a joy it brought me to see their faces light up when they heard the music. It’s moments like this that inspires me to keep dancing. It’s moments like this that assures me that I am in the right place at the right time… Sharing. Thank you London for the sun, warmth, and your unyielding passion for Ailey! Next up, Plymouth and Birmingham…
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Linda Celeste Sims & Glenn Allen Sims in Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain Pas de Deux. Photo by Paul Kolnik.