Roberta on the Arts
An Interview with Dwana Adiaha Smallwood, A Recent Ailey Dancer, On Her Future Goals
Contact Roberta
Jazz and Cabaret Corner
On Location with Roberta
In the Galleries: Artists and Photographers
Backstage with the Playwrights and Filmmakers
Classical and Cultural Connections
New CDs
Arts and Education
Onstage with the Dancers
Offstage with the Dancers
Upcoming Events
Special Events
Memorable Misadventures
Our Sponsors

An Interview with Dwana Adiaha Smallwood, A Recent Ailey Dancer, On Her Future Goals

- Offstage with the Dancers

San Domenico NY
Tony May's
San Domenico NY

240 Central Park South
(59th St. & Broadway)
New York City, NY 10019


Dwana Adiaha Smallwood, Dancer

Former Dancer with
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
January 17, 2008

(See a December 19, 2002 Interview with Dwana Adiaha Smallwood)
(See Ailey Company Reviews and Photos)

January 17, 2008, with Dwana Adiaha Smallwood, a recent member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, at San Domenico NY across Central Park, over Renato’s choices of wines and a lovely mixed green salad and fresh breads.

REZ – This is a big transition time for you. What are your plans?

DAS – I spent 12 years with the Company, and I wanted to pursue other goals, while I still have energy, grace, and beauty. When I told Judith Jamison in Chicago about my decision, we both cried. She took a deep breath and said she knew way back in her mind that this would happen.

REZ – Tell me a bit about your early dance background.

DAS – I was in a North Carolina black repertory company from 1990-1993. I got to work with Mabel Robinson, a choreographer in the film, “The Wiz”. I just wanted to dance.

REZ – What were your favorite dances at Ailey?

DAS – “Revelations”, especially the “Wade in the Water” and the Umbrella dance, and, of course, “Cry”.

And, I wrote a book, called The Panty Line Is Played, about lingerie and dressing.

REZ - Who is assisting you now in your goals?

DAS – I have a great agency, Bloc, and I am working on a film in LA, called “The Great Observer”. It’s a story about Louis Armstrong. I also shot a video with a singer, Adele. I’m also hoping to go on tour with Alicia Keyes. It would be my goal to work with Spike Lee. Next week I’m performing at Lehigh University for a Martin Luther King, Jr. tribute.

REZ – Do you still live in NY?

DAS – Yes, I own a home in Brooklyn, an old brownstone.

REZ – How do you still stay in such great shape?

DAS – I work out daily at the gym, three hours, and, every other day I do severe cardio-weight-training.

REZ – I know the Ailey Company tours all over the globe. What was that like?

DAS – I kept a journal, I took long walks, I liked to wander. In South Africa, the audience began to chant, when we performed. They were shown Alvin Ailey’s videos. I remember Winnie Mandela coming to a performance. I love to travel, and I fell in love with Paris. We also went to Greece, Egypt, and Israel. Sometimes my Mom came with us on the trips, and she brought my brother.

REZ – You have had a great career and so much is now ahead of you. Please keep me posted. Thank you.

DAS – Yes, Ailey was one part of the goal. I want to put myself in places where things can happen. Thank you.

Dwana Adiaha Smallwood at the Bar
Photo Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Mixed Green Salad with Tomatoes and Parmigiano Cheese
Photo Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Renato and Odette Fada, Chef, at the Bar
Photo Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at