CriticalDance Forum

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
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Author:  ncgnet [ Sat Apr 17, 2010 7:42 am ]
Post subject:  Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

From Karen Campbell in the Boston Globe: Ailey troupe celebrates director’s dancing spirit

From Keith Powers in the Boston Herald: Alvin Ailey’s rich legacy lives on

Author:  ncgnet [ Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

From Marcia Siegel in the Boston Phoenix (following a review of BB's Coppélia): Happy returns - ... Alvin Ailey at the Wang

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre announces a new artistic director.

Robert Battle has been named the successor to Judith Jamison. Daniel Wakin reports in the New York Times.

NYT: Daniel Wakin report

Alastair Macaulay adds commentary on the artistic implications of the selection.

NYT: Alastair Macaulay

Author:  David [ Sun Sep 19, 2010 10:16 am ]
Post subject:  Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in London

Suite Otis, The Hunt, Dancing Spirit, In/Side, Revelations
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London; September 14, 2010

By David Mead

Always elegant and exuberant, the Ailey dancers are a treat to watch. They sashay their way through programmes with such togetherness and verve, no easy things to match, that it’s difficult to imagine anyone else dancing their works. Like all good companies they also have a respect for their history, but therein also lay a problem. Perhaps that respect is too deep, but for too long the company seems to have stood still choreographically. There have been many new works, but little sign of moving on. At last though there are rays of light. While this programme had plenty of looking back, it also gave a glimpse of what might be to come in two excellent works by Artistic Director Designate Robert Battle, who takes over the reins on July 1, 2011.

Highlight of the evening was Battle’s “The Hunt”, which although previously danced by Ailey II, was receiving its main company premiere. This choreography of this ritual combat for three men versus three men is carried along powerfully by pounding drumming of the French percussion group Les Tambours du Bronx. It is full of drama as the six men, dressed in Japanese-style long black skirts with red linings stalk and fight each other. But put aside any ideas of a crude representation of tribal dance. Battle is far more original and inventive than that as he plays with the constantly shifting rhythms and urgency of the drums. A special mention too for Burke Wilmore’s outstanding, mood-inducing, lighting.

The second Battle work, “In/Side”, is a tormented solo danced to Nina Simone’s “Wild Is The Wind”. Samuel Lee Roberts was an imposing presence right from the start as he entered spider-like upstage. His face seemed to increasingly contort in a mental anguish that reverberated through his perfectly formed muscular body. Full of powerful reaching out gesture and silent screams it was as if he was pleading with us to help release him from whatever terror was afflicting his body. It was impressive indeed.

The evening opened with “Suite Otis”, George W. Faison’s 1971 tribute to the late, great Otis Redding. Danced to such classics as “Dock of the Bay”, “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” and “Try a Little Tenderness”, it deals with the relationships between six couples in a series of boy-girl vignettes. The dancers all gave strong performances, but while there are moments of tenderness and moments that make you smile, it is all very undemanding stuff. The garish candy floss pink costumes seemed hugely appropriate given that the dance has just about the same lack of substance. The music and Redding’s voice are so powerful, emotive and full of soul, yet there was little of that in the dance.

Ronald K. Brown’s “Dancing Spirit” has a little more depth and certainly more choreographic structure. It plays out pleasantly enough. Brown makes great use of diagonals and processions as he develops the initial African dance inspired movements and geometry of the piece, simultaneously and gradually upping the tempo. There is a sense of dancing on some warm Caribbean beach under the stars, even before they appear on the backdrop. But despite the evocative mood, “Dancing Spirit” never really goes anywhere and ultimately dissolves into nothingness. Only one section sticks in the memory, Renee Robinson’s emotional solo danced in front of Clifton Taylor’s rising full moon.

And so to “Revelations”. Yes, it’s a classic. Yes, it’s full of invention, colour and changes of mood. Yes, it should be loved and admired. Yes, it’s one of those small number of landmark works everyone should see. And yes, the dancers always make it look fresh, which says as much about them as it does about the work itself. In fact it is so good that it highlights the paucity of variation and invention in many of the other pieces. But does it have to appear on every programme, especially where two otherwise different bills are being presented in the same week? It’s like returning to a favourite restaurant but always having to have the same dessert. Maybe I’m among a minority, but I like to try, and see, different things. And are the company really saying that there are no other works in the repertory that they could finish a programme with? Mr. Battle, it’s time for the occasional change of menu.

Despite the reservations about some of the choreography and, it has to be said, the poor sound quality in “Suite Otis”, the Ailey dancers were, as ever, a joy to watch. Excellent individual performances came from Clifton Brown and Renee Richardson, both dazzlingly splendid throughout. Some of the work may be old fashioned in some ways, but it’s a treat to see a company so absolutely together and enjoying what they are doing. They also have a great rapport with their audience, and there are not too many companies who can say that.

A version of this review with photographs will appear later in the magazine.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater can be seen during October 2010 in Nottingham, Birmingham, Plymouth, Cardiff, Bradford, Edinburgh and Newcastle. See for details, dancers’ diaries and other features.

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Mon Nov 29, 2010 2:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre opens the 2010-11 season with a run of performances at New York's City Center on Wedesday, December 1, 2010. In the Wall Street Journal, Pia Catton interviews Artistic Director designate Robert Battle about his plans for the future.

Wall Street Journal

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

The Ailey Company is performing at Seattle's Fifth Avenue Theatre, March 25-27, 2011. Carole Carmichael previews the performance in the Seattle Times.

Seattle Times

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Mon Mar 28, 2011 7:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Jean Lenihan reviews the Friday, March 25, 2011 performance at Seattle's Fifth Avenue Theatre in the Seattle Tiimes.

Seattle Times

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

In the New York Times, Alastair Macaulay reviews the five-week 2011-12 Winter Season.

NY Times

Author:  sulli [ Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

It reminds me one year ago when I saw it with my friends. The ticket reads, “Robert Battle’s First Season, and if you still have yours, hang onto it. Decades later, when the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is still going strong, 2011 will be recalled as the year when even the warm, loyal City Center audience found new surprise and reward in the companys offerings, the season when even jaded critics were forced to sit up and take notice.

Update News: Check this out

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre - Birmingham Tickets ... pm/629493/

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Robert Gottlieb reviews the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre for the New York Observer.

NY Observer

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

In the New York Post, Leigh Witchel talks to Ailey dancer Alicia Graf.

NY Post

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Longtime Ailey dancer Renee Robinson retires from the company and is interviewed for the PBS News Hour.

PBS News Hour

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Sat Feb 23, 2013 3:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

In the Miami Herald, Jordan Levin reviews the Thursday, February 21, 2013 Miami performance of Jiri Kylian's "Petite Mort," Ronald K. Brown's "Grace," Robert Battle's "In/Side" and Alvin Ailey's "Revelations."

Miami Herald

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Sat Feb 23, 2013 3:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Jordan Levin reviews the Ailey Company's second Miami program on Friday, February 22, 2013:

Garth Fagan's "From Before," Robert Battle's "Strange Humors," Ohad Naharin's "Minus 16" and Ailey's "Revelations."

Miami Herald

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Wed Dec 18, 2013 2:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

In the New York Times, Brian Seibert reviews the Friday, December 13, 2013 performance at City Center, featuring works choreographed by Alvin Ailey to music of Duke Ellington, plus "Revelations."

NY Times

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