Thursday, December 27, 2012

'Tis Also the Time of Year to Indulge in Alvin Ailey



BY TAMARA BECK

FOR
many, taking the kiddies to see a production of “The Nutcracker” is a holiday tradition. Taking in a performance of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT) should also be a favorite diversion of the season for the whole family and any visitors to New York City.

The company is performing at New York City Center through 30 Dec. Hurry!

AAADT is a national treasure, known far and wide for its showcase “Revelations,” created in 1960 by a 29-year-old Alvin Ailey as a nostalgic tribute to his Texas youth. Going to church with AA is a special privilege.

Yannick Lebrun takes flight in "Takademe." Photo by Andrew Eccles.

“One of the promises of my company,” founder and choreographer AA said at the time, “is that its repertoire will include pieces that ordinary people can understand ... That’s my perception of what dance should be – a popular form wrenched from the elite.”

The journey in “Revelations,” from “I’ve Been ‘Buked” – with music arranged by AA’s friend and mentor, Hall Johnson – to “Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham,” arranged by Howard A. Roberts, is a pageant of joy and inspiration. Ailey dancers display athleticism, exuberance and grace. They are a glorious troupe. (See video at top.)

The dancers are also stylistically suited to performing from the Paul Taylor cannon. “Arden Court” was added to Alvin Ailey’s programming last season with PT himself on hand to direct. The dancers sublimely execute this regal, yet down-to-earth work and its handsome partnering.

Robert Battle, the new Alvin Ailey Artistic Director (only the third) who was handpicked by a retiring Judith Jamison last year, has also added works to the repertory. His “Takademe,” set to Sheila Chandra’s “Speaking in Tongues II,” is an Indian Kathak-style dance. As such, it has intricate footwork and elaborate, if unfussy motion. As performed by Yannick Lebrun, the lively and enchanting solo soars.

“Takademe” is paired with the Afro-Carib jazz of Garth Fagan’s “From Before” (1978). The vitality of the music, Ralph MacDonald’s “Path” and the movement call for toe-tapping and big smiles. (See video above.)

Visit http://www.alvinailey.org/ to learn more about Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, including tickets and showtimes.

1 comment :

 
Creative Commons License
VEVLYN'S PEN: The Wright take on life by Vevlyn Wright is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License .
Based on a work at vevlynspen.com .
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at vevlyn1@yahoo.com .