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Alvin Ailey 2000 - Success or Disappointment?

by Mila Gorokhovich
September 1, 2000
New York, NY

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Alvin Ailey Dance Theater
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
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www.alvinailey.org


Alvin Ailey 2000 - Success or Disappointment?


By Mila Gorokhovich


September 1, 2000





On July 30, 2000, I attended a performance of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre at the New York State Theater, which included "Grace" choreographed by Ronald K. Brown, Judith Jamison's (company director) world premiere of "Double Exposure", and "Revelations" choreographed by Alvin Ailey. I was looking forward to seeing the world premiere, as I have not been too familiar with the works of Judith Jamison.


I found the first dance, "Grace", quite disappointing, as I thought it difficult to find a relationship between the music and the dance movements. It was unclear and did not make a very good first impression of Mr. Brown's work. I found myself looking forward to the dance that I had seen a few times before and adored: "Revelations". However, as the following dance took place, my attitude during the show changed for the better.


The next dance was the Judith Jamison's world premiere of "Double Exposure", which demonstrated how well the Alvin Ailey Dance Company continues to grow and maintain its unique touch that makes it a world-class modern dance company.


The premiere was first shown to the New York audience in the end of July, alongside with "Revelations". I had always been fond of Ailey's work, but could not form an opinion of Judith Jamison, as I had never seen her choreography. "Double Exposure" turned out to have affected me very much in terms of what I thought of her style and structure in movements.


Double Exposure had a slight story line about one man who saw himself in another form. The form seemed to be his twin and they differed in appearance only by that one was dressed in white and the other in black. A bit later in the dance, three women who appeared to resemble nymphs joined them. However, the most fascinating thing in this performance was the background. The background contained a screen with images of both dancers as they moved. The clever way in which this occurred was done by one of the male dancers holding a tiny video camera. At certain moments, by what seemed to be the pressing of a button, an image of the dancer moving showed up on the large screen in the background. It was a very neat and original effect. It was the first time I had seen modern technology incorporated with the dance itself.


The choreography was set to music by Robert Ruggieri. It blended together extremely well and Jamison did a fabulous job with the entire performance. All the dancers moved with great energy and an outstanding coordination of movements. The agility of each dancer was seen clearly and the unity of the two main dancers was done very well. It was really a combination of the music and the well-choreographed dancing that made it a very enjoyable performance.


The afternoon concluded with the famous "Revelations", a variety of dances that were danced to a live gospel chorus and traditional, religious African-American music. This 1960 masterpiece is considered a tribute to the black heritage in America. I had seen the company dance "Revelations" a few times before and each time, I enjoy it more and more. The music consisted of holy blues blended in with a jubilant chorus and the dancing is, as always, spectacular. The audience stood up to join the chorus and clap to the last dance that was set to the song "Rocka My Soul on the Bosom of Abraham", a very catchy tune. The company performed it again as an encore and applause filled the auditorium.


Overall, it was a great performance and I particularly gained a liking to Ms. Jamison's work. I hope that "Double Exposure" will be seen throughout the world, as it is a definite must see for all dancers.




Contact Information: A schedule of events and further information of the Alvin Ailey Dance Company can be found at their official website, www.alvinailey.org. The Alvin Ailey Dance Center is located on 211 West 61st Street, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10023. The dance school can also be reached by telephone: (212) 767-0590.

The New York State Theater is located in 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023. New York State Theater is home to many companies in New York City: The New York City Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and the New York City Opera, to name a few. Tickets to performances range from $20-$75, depending on the show. More information on Lincoln Center can be found at www.lincolncenter.org. All New York State Theater events can be available by calling (212) 307-4100.

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