The photograph shows Sara Yarborough and John Parks in Alvin Ailey's Hidden Rites. They were members of his City Center Dance Theatre and in this piece are playing the roles of two deity spirits who dominate the action. In Hidden Rites, Alvin Ailey delved so deep into the African roots of black ritual that it became a study of the roots of all ritual. The patterned tights have African sources but also suggest the Minoan civilisation of Crete, of around 2000 B.C. The action centred on universal themes of creation, love and death. This was in keeping with Ailey's aims. Although his company had its roots in African- American culture, he always wanted it to include the best works from whatever source, and not be limited in themes.