Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is on tour and its only Southern California appearance is at the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa. The company is there until 30 March before they move on to Berkeley (Zellerbach Hall at UCB).The program varies, but every choice is good. We saw the Thursday evening show which included "Chroma," "D-Man in the Waters (Part I)" and "Revelations." The same program repeats Saturday evening (29 March 2014) at 7:30 p.m.
"Chroma" is a contemporary ballet by the British choreographer Wayne McGregor. The set is by minimalist architect John Pawson and the score by Joby Talbot. This might be too modern for some, but the muscular bodies twisting and the innovative lifts might inspire ideas in social dancers.
"D-Man in the Waters (Part I) was choreographed by Kennedy Center honoree and MacArthur Foundation Genius Award-winner Bill T. Jones. Jones also choreographed the Broadway musicals "Fela!" and "Spring Awakening" to win Tony Awards. The choreography is vigorous and yet has a child-like sense of humor for anyone who has experienced those old slip and slide water mats.
Alvin Ailey's own "Revelations" is a sure crowd-pleaser. Set to African-American spirituals, song-sermons and gospel songs, "Revelations" explores grief and joy as well as faith. "Revelations" might be the best known modern dance performance. At the performance I saw, the piece got the audience clapping and on their feet.
Today's matinee (29 March 2014) at 2 p.m. includes the mscular and lyrical "The Riber" which was choreographed by Ailey, Aszure Barton's "Lift" and Ronald K. Brown's "Grace."
Alvin Ailey changed American modern dance when he led a group of young African-American modern dancers in a performance in New York in 1958. Ailey was born in Texas and grew up under racial segregation. Because his mother was gang-raped by white men, he developed a fear of whites. He later moved to Los Angeles and graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in South-Central. He was introduced to the Lester Horton dance studio in Hollywood by his friend Carmen De Lavallade. De Lavallade would later be a guest dancer for Alvin Ailey's company and appear in off-Broadway and Broadway productions.
The last performance at Segerstrom (2 p.m. is the same program as the Saturday matinee. All programs are subject to change. If you miss Alvin Ailey in OC, you might be able to catch them at the other tour dates.
The Segerstrom Center for the Arts is located at 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. For more information or tickets visit <a href="http://www.scfta.org/home/default.aspx">its website</a>.
Costa Mesa, CA
Zellerbach Hall / University of California, Berkeley
Chapel Hill, NC
Memorial Hall / University of North Carolina
St. Louis, MO
Stanley Theater, Munson-Williams Proctor Arts Institute
Wang Theater / Citi Performing Arts Center
New Jersey Performing Arts Center
New York, NY
Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater
Tickets on-sale April 9th