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Alvin Ailey makes triumphant return to Boston for Celebrity Series 75th season

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

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To the roar of an excited, enthusiastic crowd at the Wang Theatre, Celebrity Series of Boston presented the triumphant return of Alvin Ailey dance as it soared through the Citi Wang Theatre from Thursday, May 1 through Sunday, May 4!

Scene from Revelations
Scene from Revelations
Courtesy of Gert Krautbauer/Celebrity Series of Boston

Celebrity Series of Boston has been celebrating its 75th season and will festivities will culminate in a public dance extravaganza in Copley Square called, ‘Le Dance Continental’ May 16 through 18. The final performance will take place on Thursday, May 29 with baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky! Visit www.celebrityseries.org and www.alvinailey.org for insight into Alvin Ailey’s innovative style of dance. Get glimpses of this visually stunning performance in the following slideshow.

What sets Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater apart from other theatrical works is that each night is unique and dedicated to a specific theme. With concise, floating dancers adorned with glorious visual effects, these performers launch into gorgeous feats of movement to an often jazz-infused beat. These captivating dancers form into collected imagery and luscious moments, moving with ease through complicated grace. It is flowing, ethereal, and an often romantic journey.

Friday’s performance began with Alvin Ailey classic, ‘Night Creature,’ with music by Duke Ellington, costumes by Barbara Forbes, and lighting by Chenault Spence. ‘Night Creature’ captured a stealthy and mischievous tone through its heavy jazz rhythms.

The flowing, multi-colored costumes contributed to the playful tone and the dancers swayed and burst on the stage aloft a spot lit background. Pinnacle dancers Linda Celeste Sims and Vernard J. Gilmore, led the dancers through the fox trot and other movements in a dazzling, captivating formation.

In ‘Pas De Duke,’ the audience revisits Duke Ellington’s heart thumping, horn infused rhythms, combining a bit of ‘West Side Story’ with a humorous, sizzling performance from dancing duo Jacqueline Green and Kirvin Dout-hit Boyd. With costumes by Rouben Ter-Arutunian, this sharp duo is striking in classic, black and white pants suits, hinting at a bit of rebellion. Through the glimmer of a smile and a subtle gesture, they are simultaneously fierce and amusing, and Alvin Ailey’s insightful, transforming choreography allowed the audience imagined glimpses of a piano and a horn.

Simply staged, graceful, and powerfully romantic, ‘The River’ infuses lighter musical selections by Duke Ellington, while dancers plunge themselves into incredible solo and group postures. Lithe and joyful, in flowing pastel costumes by Christina Giannini, dancers depict multiple scenes of nature and stories of renewal and romance. A particular highlight is a pair of dancers, swaying like gazelles, portrays a long awaited meeting. This dance sequence possesses glimpses of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ As Duke Ellington so eloquently states, “Of the well spring of life…of reaffirmation…of the heavenly anticipation of rebirth.”

From warm hues of yellow to red under a bright sun to the cool, magnificent flow of the ocean, ‘Revelations’ is spiritual, haunting, and lively. However, the remarkable special effects of ‘Wade in the Water’ sequence by Barbara Forbes from ‘Revelations’ are astonishing. Dancer Belen Pereyra glides through the ‘water,’ depicted with deep blue, flowing ribbons. Dressed in a white, flowing dress and carrying a parasol, she is surrounded by an array of seemingly floating dancers in white. Upbeat and unforgettable, ‘Wade in the Water’ is an unsurpassed masterpiece.

See the grand finale of Celebrity Series of Boston’s 75th anniversary season with ‘Le Grand Continental’ in Copley Square and baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky at NEC’s Jordan Hall! Get a peek at the Celebrity Series of Boston’s 76th season by visiting www.celebrityseries.org and find out when ‘Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre’ will be touring next at www.alvinailey.org.