If you love to see modern dancing at its best, don’t miss the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT) at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center’s Knight Theater Feb. 9 – 14, 2010. Led by acclaimed Artistic Director Judith Jamison for over 20 years, the Company, known for its spirited and often boisterous choreography mingled with grace and magic, continues to live up to its reputation of acclaim and then some.
Founded in 1958 by American activist and choreographer, Alvin Ailey, Jr., the Company has performed for an estimated 23 million people in 71 countries, gaining the nickname “Cultural Ambassador to the World. Credited with popularizing modern dance and revolutionizing African American participation, Ailey’s works reveals the rich message of African American culture through incredible and evocative American modern dance.
Creating a complete theatrical experience, including costumes, lighting, and make-up, Ailey's choreography is a colorful mix of his foundation in ballet with modern dance, jazz, and African dance techniques. One of his first notable works, Blues Suite, Suite became an instant success. Derived from blues songs and expresses the pain and anger of African Americans, Blues Suite defined Ailey's style. His signature work, Revelations, drew upon the blues, spirituals, and gospel.
Historically, the dancers come to the company trained in ballet, modern and jazz (even hip-hop today) and they are encouraged to infuse the choreography with their personal style. This is very evident in the opening number, an excerpt from “The Stack Up” (1982) where the members their own stuff as they dance to Talley Beatty’s upbeat choreography and music by Phillip Bailey, Larry Dunn, Maurice White and Verdine White and the thoroughly entertaining ensemble piece “Maneca.”
Among the diverse repertory of classics and new pieces, there are excellent solos such as “The Dream (Sweetheart/Mother/Wife)” by Renee Robinson”; “I Wanna Be Ready” by Guillermo Asca; and “In/Side (2008) in which Samuel Lee Roberts emotional performance makes Robert Battle’s choreography to Nina Simone’s classic “Wild Is The Wind” riveting. Dancer, Clifton Brown shines throughout the night, particularly when he performs with Linda Celeste Sims in an artfully graceful performance about the tension of relationships in an excerpt of “Bad Blood” (1984). What makes the night, however, is the Company’s rendition of “Revelations” (1960), the enduring masterpiece that has the indelible mark of Ailey’s choreography and spirit.
Tickets can be purchased online at BlumenthalCenter.org, by phone at 704-372-1000, or from the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center Box Office located in the Tryon Street lobby of the Belk Theater.
WHAT: ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER
WHEN: February 9 - 14, 2010
WHERE: Knight Theater (430 South Tryon St. / Charlotte, NC / 28202)
COST: Tickets start at $34
FOR MORE INFO: BlumenthalCenter.org; 704-372-1000; or at the box office