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Macaulay on Alvin Ailey SeasonGala w/Jamison, Winfrey

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#16 nysusan


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Posted 18 December 2008 - 06:26 AM

I saw the new piece, Fiesta Baroca, a few days ago. Unfortunately, I think the negative review it received in the NY Times is pretty accurate. The choreography is thin, and the piece is WAY too long to maintain the viewer's interest. There is a lot of pointless, rapid arm movement. The best parts are the 2 pdd, which are very acrobatic in nature. On a positive note, the costumes were very colorful, and I enjoyed listening to the recorded opera music to which the dance is set. Also on a positive note, I enjoyed the first piece on the program, Suite Otis. I didn't stick around for the final piece, Revelations, since I have seen it so many times in the past. The audience applauded both Suite Otis and Fiesta with hearty applause. In Fiesta, the Ailey dancers are so much better than the material they are given to perform.

Sounds like we were at the same performance, but I don't remember seeing you there - am I losing it? I saw that program on 12/14 (eve) and then saw the first Ailey & Ellington program last night. Agree about Suite Otis & Festa Barocca, I enjoyed the first piece, loved both the pdd and the costumes in Festa Barocca but could have skipped the rest. And it was definitely too long. The live music for the Ellington program was wonderful and brought a different energy to the performance. Attendance on Sunday was pretty good, but ast night it was packed! The gallery was closed but the rest of the theater was sold out except for the last row or 2 in the extreme sides of the rear mezz.

I stayed for Revelations both times- I can never see it often enough. It would be worth it to me, even if only for the sheer joy the dancers exhibit in the Move, Members, Move section however there is usually wonderful dancing throughout. On Sunday Constance Stamatiou & Anthony Burell danced Fix Me Jesus - they were new to me and did a surprisingly good job considering that I thought I'd seen the definitive version from Graf & Roberts last season. Last night it was Mr & Ms Sims, who were trancsendant. In fact, last night could have been subtitled Linda Celeste Sims night. Renee Robinson withdrew from the program so Sims danced all of her roles (except the umbrella woman in Revelations) as well as her own. It was remarkable to see her in Night Creature, then excerpts from Caravan, Pas De Duke, Three Black Kings and finally, in the Fix Me section from Revelations and then leading the finale & encore. It was quite a marathon. ALL of the dancing has been fabulous this season, in adition to Ms Sims I especially enjoyed Courtney Brene Corbin as the umbrella woman both nights, Clifton Brown as the second "Sinner Man" last night (amazing series of jetes, among other things), Hope Boykin in everything she did and I love Yannick LeBrun more every time I see him.

#17 abatt


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Posted 18 December 2008 - 08:14 AM

[Sounds like we were at the same performance, but I don't remember seeing you there - am I losing it? I saw that program on 12/14 (eve)

Oops. You're not losing it. I thought you were going to the 12/14 matinee. I didn't realize you were at the evening performance; otherwise I would have looked for you. (I was in the mid mezz) Oh well. I will be attending the Ailey - Ellington performances on 12/19 and 12/20 evenings. I'm not surprised that the performances featuring the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra sold very well. It's almost like getting 2 events for the price of one. I agree w. you about Linda Celeste Sims. She is presently my favorite female dancer in the company.

#18 papeetepatrick


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Posted 02 January 2009 - 08:19 PM

Doubt that I'm going to be a big Ailey fan, on the other hand tonight's program had no actual Ailey piece in it. But 'Suite Otis' delivered what I was looking for to an entertaining degree, in a kind of Broadway way, makes you think of Bob Fosse too.

I'd gone for 'Go in Grace', which has the a capella Sweet Honey on the Rocks doing simple movement (and very nicely) as well as singing beautifully and interacting with the dancers; this is imaginative, but I thought the piece could have easily been made into something great, or considerably better. None of the dancing by the real dancers was that extraordinary, and I didn't really find any of the songs so beautiful either, although they sing well. I kept thinking some instrumental accompaniment would not have hurt, but I guess they don't do that. Had good moments, though, and for musicians and other performers on stage together, it sure beat that production of 'Company' with saxophone players who had to, but could not, also act. kind of thing that needed opening up more, like the big sexy dancing in 'Suite Otis', and it never really did. I've gone backward, since I nearly left after 'Festa Barocca', which I found to be one of the trashiest things I've ever seen, good athletic movement to the cheapest effect. I don't even especially revere Handel among great masters, but they could have used the Collected Hits of the Silver Convention, for all the 'baroque' you got. It was the nightmare-dream-ballet for me, and painful when you'd think of Balanchine's Concerto Barocco, but even Paul Taylor's Esplanada, most of which I don't care much for, comes to life in the last piece, when the leaps are so far they've gained in weight and the girl dancers are caught as if Rubens women--this is very cool. There's nothing cool in 'Festa Barocca', just a lot of squiggly, cutesey stuff. The first 'pas de deux' is in purple day-glo bathing suit for her and electric-aqua swim trunks for him. Gwynnen Taylor Jones was like some summer camp lifeguard. Lots of garish satin dresses for the women, but the men wore just the skirts and were topless, and they looked ridiculous like this.

A nice evening, not great except for a little B'way electricity in the Redding piece. I've a limited dance budget, so once will probably be enough for a good long while, given the competition.

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