Afrocentric Theatre, Music, Culture and Business

Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre @ Sadler’s Wells (Dance Review) Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre @ Sadler’s Wells (Dance Review)
Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre @ Sadler’s Wells (Dance Review)

African-American modern dance employs various aspects of modern dance while infusing elements of African and Caribbean movements into choreography.


During the early 20th Century, African-American dancers such as Katherine Dunham and Pearl Primus used their backgrounds as dancers and their interest in learning their cultural heritage to create African-American modern dance techniques.


As a result of Dunham and Primus’ work, dancers such as Alvin Ailey were able to follow suit. Forming his own company in 1958, he would be forever know as a dance-maker, artistic director and more importantly as a social activist.


In celebrating 60 years of worldwide acclaim, Sadler’s Wells bring this celebrated dance company for three electrifying programmes of magical contemporary dance at this world famous venue.


Programme A (reviewed here) featured Lazarus a movement in two acts and the exhilarating gospel drenched masterpiece, Revelations – the most seen modern dance piece in the world.


Act 1 of Lazarus, was a dark moody piece with the dancers dressed firstly in ragged clothing and later in city clothing signifying the Northward migration of the freed slaves. With precise but languid movements the dancers beautifully articulated the not only of the great Depression but also echoes through songs like ‘Black Man in a White world’ of the segregated rural Texas and abject poverty and brutal racism that Alvin grew up in.


The second act was more dynamic and upbeat, the dancing more frentic, with amazing jaw dropping rhythmic footwork to a pounding house beats and a remixed version of Nina Simone’s ‘Feeling Good, choreographer Rennie Harris’s hip hop dance roots is clear to see.


Ailey’s signature masterpiece ‘Revelation’, is a series of dance pieces set to suite of gospel spirituals plays at the end of every programme was created to pay homage to and reflect the African American experience.


The piece which has enthralled audiences since its creation in 1960 is based on his childhood memories of his local Baptist church as well as interpretations of writing by political activists like William Baldwin and Langston Hughes.


With lithe and defined movements each dancers firstly dressed in brown then moving to white for the baptism section display a level of intensity, strength and grace that does justice to what was a brave piece of choreography when first performed.


Overall, the night was exhilarating, with great sometimes electrifying sometime sensitive and mournful performances all doing great justice to the legacy of the great man himself.


Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, Till 14 Sept, Sadler’s Wells, London EC1R 4TN, Tickets and details https://www.sadlerswells.com/whats-on/2019/alvin-ailey-american-dance-theater/

No comments so far.

Be first to leave comment below.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!