Reviews - USA

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Fox Theatre, Atlanta GA
Saturday Feb 12 2011

By Deborah Searle.

What a celebration of dance, history and faith! Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater brought joy, life and excitement to the streets of Atlanta with their 2011 tour performance.

With a rowdy and excitable audience, Alvin Ailey showed us what dance can and should be, to rapturous applause and a standing ovation.

The first Act was a new work for the company entitled Anointed. Choreographed by Christopher L Huggins just last year, the piece had a more contemporary dance feel than the traditional modern work that Ailey is so famous for.  The music was mesmerizing and the choreography was daring and expressive. Several lifts and jumps had the crowd clapping and cheering mid performance. Anointed felt like a fresh and modern day dance piece, an interpretation for 2011. It showed us what the future can hold for the company. The bright costumes were stunning and Olivia Bowman Jackson as the leading lady was exquisite. She was strong, committed, elegant and a brilliant technician. Anointed was my favorite piece for the evening, yet there were some synchronicity issues. The work may need a little more practice to achieve perfect timing between all performers.

Forgotten Time, by Judith Jamison, was next, and was a display of the dancers’ strength and agility. The piece had a tribal feel and the performers, all in skin tones with small colorful swirls and stripes, were committed and convincing. This was Alvin Ailey at its best. The work was captivating.

Revelations. Photo by Christopher Duggan.

After the second interval we were treated to a film celebrating the 50th anniversary of Ailey’s famous Revelations.  With snippets of Ailey himself performing and comments from Ailey and current Artistic Director Judith Jamison, it was a rare insight into the man behind the company and his renowned Revelations. It was wonderful to see Ailey himself perform ‘Wading in the Water’ as his body rippled like waves.

To complete a wonderful evening the company then brought us Revelations, to cheers from the audience who clapped along and obviously enjoyed the performance.  Although such an old work now, the choreography is at most times very challenging and still exciting today. Revelations exhibits the training and strength of the company’s dancers,  as well as their energy and life. Briana Reed and Amos J. Machanic, Jr in ‘Fix Me Jesus’ were flawless and Clifton Brown in ‘I Wanna Be Ready’ showed us why he is a star. Revelations is such an important work for the company, in its message of faith, perseverance and deliverance and I felt privileged to share in its 50th anniversary.

Alvin Ailey ADT left me inspired, full of joy and convinced of the power of dance.  All must share in the magic of Ailey!

Top photo: Linda Celeste Sims. Photo by Andrew Eccles

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