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Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
Performance Reviews
The Joyce Theater
United States
New York City
New York
New York, NY

Ailey II

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 31, 2004
The Joyce Theater
175 Eighth Avenue (at the corner of 19th Street)
New York, NY 10011

About the Author:

Ailey II

(See Other Ailey Reviews)

Sylvia Waters, Artistic Director
Judith Jamison, Artistic Advisor
Sharon Gersten Luckman, Executive Director
Calvin Hunt, General Manager
Beth Olsen, Public Relations Manager

Performers: Kirven J. Boyd, Courtney Brené Corbin, Khilea Douglass, Marimba Gold-Watts, Robert Halley, Katherine Horrigan,
Zach Law Ingram, Chris Jackson, Willy Laury, Leyland Simmons,
Yusha-Marie Sorzano, and Sharron L. Williams.

Presented at the Joyce Theater
New York, NY

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 31, 2004

Ailey II has been the second company of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater since 1974, when it was originally called the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble. The Company's 2003-2004 tour includes performances in 40 cities across the country. The Company has received many awards and honors. (Program Notes).

Intimate Voices (2003): Choreography by Igal Perry, Music by Johann Sebastian Bach (Six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello), Cellist: Egil Rostad, Costume Design by Igal Perry, Costumes Constructed by Corin Wright and Rachelle Etienne, Lighting by Clifton Taylor, Performed by the Company. On a dark stage, with the talented Egil Rostad on solo cello for Bach's mournful and mesmerizing Six Suites, the Ailey II Company appeared in solo, duo, and ensemble choreography, with a name for each dance to the mood and rhythm of the particular Suite, such as Yearning, Relentless, and Courante. Athletic partnering and outstretched arms were the signature motif for this work. Igal Perry has envisioned a guttural, but elegant interpretation of Bach's solo cello Suites.

Point of Departure (2003): Choreography by Troy Powell, Music by Michael Wimberley & Nioka Workman, Costumes by Sosa, Lighting by Al Crawford, Performed by Khilea Douglass and Chris Jackson. With one very open door, left stage, this work, infused with the angst of a relationship about to end, is a creation of Troy Powell to new music, but old themes. Al Crawford has designed lighting of bright red stripes across the black backdrop, like searing wounds that pierce inner emotions. Ms. Douglass and Mr. Jackson were well partnered and in focus with the energetic sensations and driven score.

Mourner's Bench (1947, 2003 Company Premiere): Choreography by Talley Beatty, Music: Traditional, Costumes Recreated by Corin Wright, Lighting Recreated by Al Crawford, Performed by Zach Law Ingram. This bench (similar to the Martha Graham Company's Deep Song) was the vehicle for muscular balance, as Mr. Ingram, all in brown, spun on one foot, leg extended, turning in tight circles, on every edge of this light, golden bench, with a gold on brown stained glass window, with funereal qualities, projected to his rear. The traditional gospels seemed to possess Mr. Ingram's soul with soothing inspiration.

Prayer in Discord (2003): Choreography by Nathan Trice, Music by Ryuichi Sakamoto, Costume Design by Elena Comendador & Nathan Trice, Costume Construction by Elena Comendador, Lighting by Steven Petrilli, Performed by Sharron L. Williams. This was a muscular and haunting piece, for solo and ensemble, to exciting choreography by Nathan Trice. The elegantly up-stretched arms and silent lips moving in prayer both enhanced this evocative work.

Divining (1984, Excerpt): Choreography by Judith Jamison, Music by Kimati Dinizulu & Monti Ellison, Original Costumes by Masazumi Chaya, Costumes by Andy Kay, Lighting by Timothy Hunter, Performed by Khilea Douglass. This very unusual solo, danced by the talented Ms. Khilea, to electric percussion, would be fascinating to see in its entirety.

The Hunt (2002): Choreography by Robert Battle, Music by Les Tambours du Bronx, Costumes by Mia McSwain, Lighting by Burke Wilmore, Performed by the Company. Robert Battle's work is pulsating and powerful. Mr. Wilmore's lighting was noteworthy for complimenting the dynamism of the music and choreography.

I look forward to seeing this youthful ensemble again and in their next ventures and dance companies. Kudos to Sylvia Waters.

Company Members of Ailey II
Photo courtesy of Roy Volkmann

Sharron L. Williams
Photo courtesy of Roy Volkmann

Leyland Simmons
Photo courtesy of Roy Volkmann

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