Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

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I was young and in New York when Alvin Ailey launched his American Dance Theatre in March 1958, and happened at that time to be married to someone who ­loved dance. So we went. The performances were memorable but never as polished and professional as they are today, but even then the audiences were transported by the creativity and athleticism of the dancers.

First Alvin Ailey himself, and then the incredible Judith Jamison, Artistic Director, carved out a place for the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre in the dance firmament that became irreplaceable on the international cultural scene. Those who saw the dances then will never forget the sight of the incomparable JJ – in Revelations – with her big white umbrella “walking on the water” to the standing ovations of the audience asking her never to stop.

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And now… for the opening night gala… Alvin Ailey Dance performed the famous “Revelations” once again, with a live chorus and orchestral music, to an enthusiastically cheering audience of fans who once again stood and applauded with all the fervor they could muster.

Before this famous and beloved dance, there was an Ailey premiere with choreography by Wayne McGregor that took full advantage of the expertise of the Ailey dancers. Their supple ability for twists, turns and curls performing contemporary sculpture in motion -– dancers meeting, melding, embracing and parting -– created patterns on stage with each other in pairs and groups. The action was hypnotic yet vibrant, with always a sense of possible flight implied. This new work elicited enthusiastic applause, which should guarantee its future in the repertoire of Robert Battle, the new Artistic Director.

Should you wish for an experience so vital and expert that you “soar” out of the theatre, do go to Alvin Ailey. You’ll never regret the decision.

Barbara Tober

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