This post is about a person, a place and a time. But mostly about a beautiful person. I will start with the place and time: summer at the Golden Dome. I spent more than summers in that dance studio on the 2nd floor of the Garfield Park Golden Dome. But the feeling that I get when I think about that place is summery: warmth, joy, heat, inspiration, love, laughter and movement.
Albert Williams brought all of those things to that studio where he taught a jazz/fusion dance class. I came into that class with two left feet (and two left hands). Regardless, with words of encouragement and always with open arms, he made me feel like I belonged. I always felt like he was happy to see me.
The class was free for quite a while, and when a fee was instituted, it was nominal. Albert gave of his love and talents freely and asked for nothing in return except that you do your best. You just don’t meet many people like that.
It was a Monday night class 6:30-8:15pm, in which we would stretch – hip openers, hamstring lengtheners, and core strengtheners – while listening to some smooth grooves that Albert had put together. (He was also a wonderful deejay.) Then we’d get up and SWEAT, moving across the room, learning the attitude, confidence and sashay of a diva. (Finger snap!) He broke it down to the very last compound, and was patient. And with repetition I learned. And I danced.
The studio was a grand room with a wall of windows. I loved watching how the light moved through those windows as the seasons changed. In the winter, it would already be dark out when class started. In the summer, the light would slowly fade into the evening, and as summer progressed you could watch as warm orange, red, and violet filled the night sky. That is the picture, the feeling I get when I think of the place and time.
When I think of Albert, the feeling is love.
He brought me so much joy. I remember coming home from class one night with an inner smile that radiated out and stayed with me for hours. Yes, face formed in a smile for hours. There was always an energetic buzz after that intense workout.
Albert, you are no longer with us, but I am so happy that I got the chance to be your student and to receive the blessings that you so selflessly bestowed. You will live on forever in my heart.
Rest in peace, King Albert.
See “Comin’ Back Home To God (A Spiritual Suite)” featuring and choreographed by Albert Williams here.