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Martha's Vineyard continues to please

Yvonne Delaney Mitchell | 8/30/2012, 4:39 p.m.

One thing's for sure with Martha's Vineyard: It will never let you down. There is always the vast blue sky, where the wisps of clouds let your imagination run wild, envisioning your favorite mystical, mythical figure. Below, there's water, water everywhere. Lagoons, ponds, the docks with boats pulling in from far-off places like Montauk or Longport, N.J., or the boats whose sails billow in the soft breeze blowing off the coast of the mainland; watching the ripples or the waves is mesmerizing.

Then, there's the beach. Thankfully, the Inkwell has been cleared of rocks, and the sand is once again soft enough to set down your chair, spread out your beach blanket and get ready to see all of your favorite friends and make some new ones, as everyone who is on the island passes by at one time or another. Seen doing just that was Shirley Cuevas, who celebrated her birthday with a champagne toast along with Carol Bradley Pines and her daughter Pam; Janice Francis; Marie Baskerville; Tom and Shirley Williams (parents of TV and radio personality Wendy); Dr. Carol Kaufman; Father Darryl James; and all of the others who had gathered around her.

Father James was in relax mode, as he had hosted the chicken-and-waffles breakfast the day before with the help of Amy Ruth owner Carl Redding and then jetted off to Chicago to conduct a funeral. He then took the next flight out, back to MV, and there he was. Watching from the benches on the sidewalk above the beach were Kendall and LaVerne Flowers, who the previous evening had hosted, along with daughter Crystal and son-in-law Hon. Ludwig Gaines, the much anticipated White Party, where all guests were required to dress in white from head to toe.

The White Party has become the signature event for the annual Howard University Alumni Association Bison on the Vineyard gathering. Among those in attendance were Jen and Alex Seymour; Kurt L. Schmoke, the vice president of Howard University; Kristen Clark; and Chris Washington, president of the association (not the DJ). The evening's DJ was Russell Willis, who played all of the sounds from the early '90s, since both Chris and Ludwig are from the class of '92.

The highlight of my visit was an invitation to watch a rehearsal of Dance Theatre of Harlem II, the newly formed company that will put DTH back on the map. The company was there, in residence at the Vineyard Arts Project, to bond and learn nine new company works in nine weeks before embarking on a national tour, beginning Oct. 20 in St. Louis. Their New York performance will premiere April 10-14, so be sure to mark your 2013 calendar. There in the flesh was dancer Virginia Johnson, whose grace, warmth and charm are all you would expect from a prima ballerina, and then some, as she is very approachable. She is my personal role model.

Dance Theatre of Harlem started out as a dance school, formed by Arthur Mitchell and Karl Shook for youngsters to develop their artistic spirit in classical ballet, while engaging their minds and bodies in a positive and safe manner. It wasn't long after that the company was formed. DTH became the first Black, classical ballet company that was recognized around the globe. Mastering works by George Balanchine and new works of their own, Virginia Johnson, Eddie Shelman, Tania Leon (now living, performing and creating in Paris) and others in the fantastic company performed before kings, queens and presidents.