Saturday, December 23, 2017

Lift Your Spirits into the New Year with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Disclosure: Opinions expressed are 100% our own. We were provided tickets to facilitate this review. 

Gifting an experience seems so much cooler to me than new pajamas, a glitzy piece of jewelry or a gadget that will end up being not as trendy in just a year. In a world where we seem so caught up in who has what new hot item, creating long lasting cherished memories with loved ones is truly what the holiday season should be about. Dance is such a beautifully uniting art form that doesn't isolate or exclude, it pulls you in and captivates your spirit and mind and to me that's such a priceless gift to give and receive. You'll witness such stunning bodies of art, gracefully tell culturally rich stories to the audience of an Alvin Ailey Dance Theater performance, in a way unlike any other show you've seen. The new repertoires of work led by artistic director Robert Battle effortlessly evoke the feeling of Ailey's dictum that "dance is for everybody" as theater goers from all over witness refreshing works.

Over the coarse of 5 weeks {November 29th - December 31st} the Ailey company brought inspiring stories to the stage at the New York City Center, culminating with Mr. Ailey's Revelations - one of the most popular works of modern dance in the world and truly an uplifting piece of work.  For the 2017 Repertory aside from the 18 Returning favorites, there are 3 premieres that include: Mass, Members Don't get Weary & Victoria along with 3 new productions: The Golden Section, Shelter & Stack Up. 

I'll never forget my first introduction to Alley with my husband Mike and then my second visit with our son CJ who was mesmerized and inspired just weeks before starting his scholarship program at the pre-professional performing arts grade school Ballet Tech. Being able to experience the Ailey Dance Theater for a third time during a Saturday matinee right before the holidays with my sissy Nicole was such a special treat. Following performances of the 4 classics: Four corners, After the Rain Pas d Deux, The Hunt and Revelations we had the pleasure of sitting in on a Free Q&A with the dancers and the audience who were completely captivated by the years of enriching tradition and poise we witnessed. 

My favorite of the morning hands down was the performance of Four Corners which brings to life the vision of four angels standing on four corners of the earth and powerfully showcases the roots of West African dance blended with modern choreography. While watching I couldn't help but stare at the tone of the backbones of the female dancers through the cutouts in their dresses and sat in awe of the suspension of their body to each beat. Four Corners trails the dancers as they rise to seek a life of peace on the “mountaintop,” a powerful and hope-filled journey of tribulation, devotion, and triumph.

So moved by the performance, after the show I suggested to my sister that we trade in our ticket stubs to try a complimentary African Dance class at the Ailey Extension which offers real classes for real people. 

After the Rain was light and airy, filled with emotion and simply beautiful - with just a male and female pas de deux {ballet dance duet}. Set to music by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, the sensual duet has resonated deeply with audiences and has been praised for its intricate partnering.

An audience member during the Q&A had asked what I'm sure so many of us may have been wondering about the performance of The Hunt: "Why were the men wearing those interesting long skirts in that piece" to which one of the dancers explained that the men were hunting each other and it was a juxtaposition of the female. This ballet for six men examines the relationship between modern sports and the rituals of the gladiators. Costumed in long black skirts with under layers of red, the dancers throw themselves into a pre-hunt ritual, as they stomp and pound with thunderous power revealing the robust side of human nature and the thrill of the hunt.

To me, Revelations is a body of work that transcends time and reminds me of my own personal journey in life, despite the obstacles faced always full of hope. Alvin Ailey’s signature masterpiece pays homage to and reflects the cultural heritage of the African-American, which Ailey considered one of America’s richest treasures – “sometimes sorrowful, sometimes jubilant, but always hopeful.” 

Choreographed when he was only 29 years old, Revelations is an intimate reflection inspired by childhood memories of attending services at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Texas, and by the work of writers James Baldwin and Langston Hughes.

Above photos provided by Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Photographers: Paul Kolnik, Gert KrautBauer and Nan Melville

With just 10 performances left for the year be sure to grab your tickets, including the Special Season Finale on New Year's Eve, December 31st. at 7pm which will also have Revelations featured. Tickets starting at $29 are on sale at the New York City Center Box Office, through City Tix at (21) 581-1212 or online at or 

1 comment:

  1. It’s been some time since I’ve seen the Alvin Ailey dance group. I’ve always enjoyed their performances.



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