Cocktails, MUSIC, Dining And Of Course Great ART

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth has just announced two great dates for the fantastic “First Friday” series. They’ve always been great, and these two will be even better. Mark your calendar for December 2, 2016 and January 6, 2017. The Modern has joined forces with Shipping & Receiving (the Near Southside music and night-life venue) to showcase great local musicians in the grand lobby from 6 to 11 pm on these dates.


On these two dates you can explore the outstanding KAWS, WHERE THE END STARTS with extended, late-night hours and also enjoy great music, cocktails and food. You can also enjoy a full menu in Café Modern.


The price is $10 and does include gallery admission. Modern members and Star-Telegram Press Pass holders will get free admission. These dates will go fast, you can get tickets at Shipping and Receiving.  You can also join the Modern as a member at joining the Modern.

There will also be a 20 minute docent led tour of the galleries at 6:30 pm. The bands playing are:  December 2–The Burning Hotels and January 6–ISHI and Sudie.


For more about this event and others at the Modern which includes the schedule of the films of the Magnolia at the Modern films, visit The Modern.

Can’t make it to Fort Worth, Texas–check your local area for programs.  They are out there, and remember “thisisyourbestyear” .  There is even room to dance! 


Top Read Posts Of 2015

It has been a wonderful year, talking and discussing so many different topics with you the readers.  Your comments have been funny, informative, creative and given me ideas of other topics.  “thisisyourbestyear” is about us and our journey.

Our top 5 posts of 2015 are as varied as you the readers, but in each one of them there is a strong woman of a certain age somewhere.  Here’s the list.

  • #5  A House Where “Sunny” Shines Bright  Mrs. Sunny Graham is a dynamic businesswoman, entrepreneur, wife and mother.  Her most endearing quality was that she is an extraordinary mentor who is always giving back.  Her story is a great American story of hard work and determination.   Her post is:
  • #4 Interview With The Artistic Director Of The Dallas Black Dance Theater–April Berry  Ms. Berry is a former dancer who was stepping into some very big shoes when she took over the helm of the Dallas Black Dance Theater.  Her journey to this position highlights her passion for dance.  Her vision for the Dallas Black Dance Theater is a labor of love.  Her post is:
  • #3 Breast Cancer Awareness–Prayers For Paulette And Her 8 Children  This post started when I noticed Paulette on Facebook, and could not believe that she had 8 children.  This is a story in itself.  Paulette Leaphart  is a beautiful woman inside and outside.  She is fighter, she is a warrior.  She is taking on breast cancer.  Her story is of faith in God.  Her post is:
  • #2 MegaFest 2015 August 20-22 in Dallas, Texas  Bishop T. D. Jakes held a press conference with the city leaders of Dallas to announce MegaFest would again be held in Dallas.  First Lady Serita Jakes was there to not only lend support, but to let them know of the many activities that were for the entire family and some that were just for women.  Their post is:
  • #1 Old Ladies And Crazies  Can I just say that the old, crazy ladies in the post are my heroes.  They epitomize what “thisisyourbestyear” is about.  We may be women of a certain age, but we are not the same.  We do not fit a particular mold.  Mrs. Inda Lou Lambert Schell did not let the death of her husband deter her, she decided to travel just like they had planned.  She went on with her life.  Her post is:
Remember “thisisyourbestyear”!  Women of a certain age are________(you fill in the blank).

2015-2016 Dallas Black Dance Theatre


dallas black dance theater 2
Photo by Amitava Sarkar

One of my favorite things to go to is the performances that the Dallas Black Dance Theatre puts on each year.  They have just announced their 2015-2016 season which they have titled “VISION RENEWED”. The Dallas Black Dance Theatre is Dallas’ longest continuously operating dance company.

dallas black dance theater 3
TruPhotography by Jamie Truman

This will be their 39th season which speaks volumes of the following that the company has.  This year as they have in the past, the company will perform at their home base, the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre.  They will also perform at Dallas City Hall and bring their performances to Fort Worth and Richardson before going to other cities including, Denver, Colorado and even traveling internationally to Matamoros, Mexico, Belize City, Belize and Iquique, Chile.

Subscriptions are now on sale with single tickets going on sale September 10, 2015.  Tickets can be purchased by calling the AT&T Performing Arts box office at (214) 880-0202 or

To see a list of performances and times, go to

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”–why not dance?

Photo by Sharen Bradford--The Dancing Image
Photo by Sharen Bradford–The Dancing Image

Interview With The Artistic Director of The Dallas Black Dance Theater–April Berry

You know how you feel when you get something that you have wanted?  It is the best feeling.  Well I feel very good.  I was able to interview the new artistic director of the Dallas Black Dance Theater, Ms. April BerryMs. Berry will lead the 38-year-old dance company that has always been led by the founder and visionary and creator–Mrs. Ann Williams. Ms. Berry will lead a company that has been able to grow while other dance companies have come and gone from the dance scene.

Ms. Berry 2
Solo from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre – Caverna Magica

She is a former principal dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.  She has been an artist-in-residence of several universities including Ohio State University, and has taught  Dunham workshops around the country. 

I was fortunate enough to catch Ms. Berry between her many obligations to the company and to the city of Dallas for an interview.  She is a woman on a mission.

Our interview was more of a conversation, and it went as follows:                

At what age did you take your first dance lesson, and was it love at first movement?  I was 6 years old, and I took my first lesson at a neighborhood dance school.  It was love at first movement.  I began to take my dancing seriously at about the age of 12 when I asked my mother if I could attend a school that stressed both the arts and academics.  She allowed me to attend the National Academy of Ballet and Theater Arts in middle school.

If not dance, then what would you have done?  Teaching the arts would be something that I would have done, and I do. 

You tried out for the Alvin Ailey Dance Company three times, what gave you the tenacity to never give up? I knew this company was for me.  I had attend the Ailey school on scholarship, and I knew it was for me.  The first time I tried out, I was told that I was too young.  The second time I was told that I didn’t have enough stage experience, and was told to go and get some experience.  The third time, I told myself this was it. If they don’t choose you the third time, then it is basically over.  At this audition there were about 500 girls trying out.  It was a two-day audition.  On the second morning, there were about 150 girls left.  At the end of the day they chose 3 girls and I was one.  I can remember asking why it took me 3 years to get selected.  Mr. Ailey told me, I now had the experience, and I had the look they were looking for that year.

I sometimes think that our young people aren’t equipped to accept disappointment. When you talk to young people, do you share this journey with them?  I always share this story with them.  I stress that sometimes the reason you are not chosen especially in the arts is that it not about your talent or shill. It maybe that you are not the type they are looking for at the time.  Sometimes they want you to go away and get more experience to see if you are willing to put in the work.  I tell young people they should be strong, accept critiques, be resilient and be flexible–have faith and believe.

Ms. Berry 1
Studio photo – April Berry with Desmond Richardson

I saw you perform with Kevin Brown to “Fix Me Jesus”, it was beautiful.  Thank you, that was during my younger years.

There are several dance companies that have ceased to exist or gone together such as the two companies that make up the Texas Ballet.  How has the Dallas Black Dance Theater been able to sustain itself? The company has always had the unique and strong vision of its founder, Mrs. Ann Williams.  She knew where it started and where it was going. She had a long-range and long-term vision.  The infrastructure was put in place that would work.  The company has been able to retain and recruit the products (the dancers) on the stage.  The company has a motto which is “It will get done one way or the other”. 

I saw the company a couple of years ago during Easter service with the St. Paul United Methodist Church at One Arts Plaza, and I think I read that the company will perform on Easter Sunday again.  Yes this service is on the calendar.  We will also be performing in Fort Worth at the Scott Theater on March 20 during the Dancing Beyond Borders series.

Ms. Berry 3
Dallas Black Dance Theatre – Photo By: Sharon Bradford – The Dancing Image

What is your vision for the company? Growth, growth in terms of artistry.  The dancers who are fantastic also need growth and inspiration.  They need to stay engaged.  I want new choreography whether local, regional, national or international. I want new people to help elevate us and help us grow in our artistry.

I want to open up the academy and increase the attendance by offering more and different classes for all ages.  I would like to bring in new dance faculty. I would like for the company to perform more regionally–around Texas.

Besides the Dallas/Fort Worth area, what has been your favorite city to live in?  Oh my that’s a hard one since I love this area.  There is so much to do from shopping, arts, the lakes are here and the hospitality.  I love the aspect of family and faith.  You know I’m from New York, but I think I would choose Charlotte North Carolina.  I just like the friendliness of the people.

Thank you so much for your time Ms. Berry I look forward to seeing the company perform, do you have any questions for me?  I would love to know what your readers would like to know about the Dallas Black Dance Theater, do they come out to the performances regularly in Dallas or Fort Worth?  I’m sure they do, we’ve been to the Wyly Theater often to see them.  I know that people in this area like dance.  I can’t remember, I think it was the Dance Theater of Harlem that performed last year at the Bass Hall.  We made it a family outing with cousins from here and East Texas bringing our daughters.  I am a firm believer that you can’t be what you have never seen. I remember taking my youngest one to the opera.  She told me she didn’t know if she would go back, and I told her at least she had been to a performance.  That is so right, when I decided I wanted to train seriously my mother took me to see a dance company and thank goodness it was the Dance Theater of Harlem. That’s when I saw ballerinas of color–African-American on stage–that just got me more excited about having a career in dance.

Please keep us in mind when you have performances and activities.  Thank you again.  Thank you.

You can read more about the Dallas Black Dance Theater at:

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Make it a point to see the Dallas Black Dance Theater this coming year.  I know you will enjoy it!


Welcome to This is Your Best Year!!!

Welcome to thisisyourbestyear”!  You and I are on this journey together.  Together and collectively, we will give suggestions on living life to the fullest.  This is a blog for women who thought that when they reached this age, life was over.  This is for all of those women who thought their mothers were old at this age–well they may have been, but that’s not the case anymore.


We will discuss everything from health, beauty, faith, life, children, grandchildren, exercise, careers, retirement, starting all over again in love and/or career. We will talk about learning the word no, taking time to be who we are.  With this blog we will have fun, we will talk fashion, food, travel and all kinds of products–in other words, we’re going to talk about us.

You can always email us at and see all the things we are doing by visiting us at thisisyourbestyear on these social media sites–Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and YouTube.  We are also on Twitter at: thisisyourbestyear@mariciajohns.

Let’s get excited ladies, and stay tuned.  Remember–“THIS IS YOUR BEST YEAR”!