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Saturday night, what an amazing performance. This was, I believe, the second performance of a world premiere of Lynn Taylor-Corbett's Prayers from the Edge, an exciting, beautiful, and touching piece that was, as I understand it, about gang warfare and was inspired by a trip to the Middle East. When I say that it might sound sort of programmatic, but it wasn't -- just sheer joy and excitement. I enjoyed every minute -- some amazing pas de deux -- and didn't have my usual immature wish that they'd just skip this piece and get on with Revelations. ;)

Happily, they did Revelations, too (none of us found Dance at the Gym too inspiring on this particular night), and the audience response was so overwhelming that they did an encore! Have others seen encores in dance before?

I was struck more than ever by the intense connection between dancers and audience at an Ailey performance. So much of the modern I have seen, mostly up at Jacob's Pillow, has been so cerebral. I have very much enjoyed the Limon company, which also dares to be beautiful and passionate. I would be grateful to anybody who would tell me what else I might enjoy.

And go to see Ailey! If you visit the NY Times website you can get 20 percent off.

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Originally posted by balletmama

. . . the audience response was so overwhelming that they did an encore!  Have others seen encores in dance before?

Yes, as a matter of fact. Very shortly after his arrival in the US, Baryshnikov danced the Don Q pas with Kirkland at a benefit for Pennsylvania Ballet at Brooklyn Academy of Music. Audience response was so loud and sustained, they were compelled to repeat the coda.

Also saw Ailey -- on the 10th -- and had the same experience with Revelations as you did. Company looked fantastic throughout: Winter in Lisbon, The River (with guests in honor of Chaya's 30 years w/ Ailey), and Revelations.

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I've seen Ailey Company, in which they kept doing the end of Revealations as an encore about 5 times!

Revealations makes a deep connection with the black church experience. I've found that audience react as if they're in church.

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I think Revelations makes a deep connection with almost everyone! The music in totally infectious, the choreography and the dancing wonderful, and I really think one relates to this whether they have anything to do with church or being black or anything else!

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Just had the absolute pleasure of seeing Alvin Ailey's American Dance Theater perform at Purchase College last night - "Wow!" The 3 pieces were Love Stories (2004) choreographed by Judith jamson with Robert Battle and Rennie Harris to the music of Stevie Wonder), Shining Star (2004) by David Parsons with music by Earth, Wind and Fire and, finally Revelations (1960) an Alvin Ailey original with traditional gospel music. :tiphat:

I wish I knew the individual dancers by name, but sadly I do not. The last time I saw this company perform was when they were at the New York State Theatre about 4 years ago (?) - and I definitely recognized at least two dancers - "principals" if they refer to them that way...

Although I have always loved Revelations, last night I thought I'd died and gone to heaven during Shining Star. :unsure: What's not to love about that piece? Thought the use of the white over coats was wonderful - and, frankly, I was mesmerized by the beauty and sensuality of the dancers and Parson's piece itself.

Oh to be young, fit and a great dancer - these dancers really and truly looked as though they were having the time of their lives - in all three pieces. My guess is that they all had a lot of real fun in Love Stories. :grinning-smiley-001:

I hear they're going to be at the NJPAC and Leonard Lopate will be there speaking with Judith Jamison. I hope someone with more of a way with dance words will report back. :yes:

Edited by BW

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The Ailey Company performed excerpts from Revelations at the Monday fundraiser at City Center. I had not seen the company in some time & was astounded at the high level of dancing in the company now.

They are, perhaps, less "individual" than they used to be but such fabulous dancers, including one young man (sadly, I don't know his name) with one of those Zelensky/Malakov jumps that absolutely seize your heart.

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They will be touring Texas next year I think and I cannot wait. I was completely taken by Revelations when I saw it the first (and only) time, years ago. Wonderful music, choreography, costumes, lighting, etc. And I am not even a Christian. It made me buy a biography of Ailey..and yes I finished reading it.

I think that the piece has a universal appeal.

If I recollect, they did do an encore. I think they are prepared for it usually. At that time I though it was spontaneous, but was to learn about the rehearsed bows...and pre-planning of various other aspects of presentations, as I learnt more about the world of dance/theatre.

This brings about another minor question. Do you think the dancers hate repeating the dance ..over ..and over...and over? The reason I ask is that professional ballet dancers (and artistic staff) seem to moan/groan and roll their eyes when asked about the Nut. They have done it so many times and so often, that the joy is not quite there!

Edited by amitava

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All I know is, every time I see the company dance Revelations, they do it at 1000 percent. I don't know how they could sustain that if it were not sheer joy.

I wonder if, doing it as often as they do, it becomes so completely ingrained in their brains and muscles they are free to let go and experience it on something like the same soul-stirring level we do.

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I am so jealous. The Ailey company hasn't been in Toronto in years. I last say them about 10 years ago - and yes, Revelations had an "encore." It might have even been two...it was so long ago, I barely remember. Every once in a while I check to see if they are performing in a nearby state, but it has never worked out that I am able to travel at the right times. You are all very lucky!

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They will be touring Texas next year I think and I cannot wait. I was completely taken by Revelations when I saw it the first (and only) time, years ago. Wonderful music, choreography, costumes, lighting, etc. And I am not even a Christian. It made me buy a biography of Ailey..and yes I finished reading it.

I think that the piece has a universal appeal.

If I recollect, they did do an encore. I think they are prepared for it usually. At that time I though it was spontaneous, but was to learn about the rehearsed bows...and pre-planning of various other aspects of presentations, as I learnt more about the world of dance/theatre.

This brings about another minor question. Do you think the dancers hate repeating the dance ..over ..and over...and over? The reason I ask is that professional ballet dancers (and artistic staff) seem to moan/groan and roll their eyes when asked about the Nut. They have done it so many times and so often, that the joy is not quite there!

Is it ok to revive this thread? I have yet to see the Ailey company live and they're coming to City Center this next month. If I wanted to see just one or two programs, which would you experts recommend? Thanks.

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Well, I think it's ok to revive the thread, especially to talk about the Ailey company...

If it's Ailey's work itself that you're interested in, the 12/5 program (Night Creature, Cry, River, and Revelations) is a good choice, as is 12/7 (Memoria, River, and Revelations) Cry is a wonderful solo, and an excellent glossary of Ailey style. You can see his Horton background there, as well as the changes that he made in it. Memoria is beautiful, a great group work, but then River and Revelations are also stunning group works.

But Ailey himself always thought of the company as a mixed-chreographer ensemble, for all that his name is over the door, so the 12/13 program (Shining Star/David Parsons, Solo/Hans van Manen, Portrait of Billie/John Butler, Episodes/Ulysses Dove, Revelations/Ailey) might be a good choice. Van Manen and Butler aren't in too many repertories these days, and it's so interesting to see what their vision of modern dance was. Parsons is having a successful post-Paul Taylor career as a choreographer, and Dove's work is showing up in many reps lately (including Pacific Northwest Ballet here in Seattle)

And there's Tharp's Golden Section, which is a high-energy, virtuoso, work. They will look absolutely stunning in it -- I'm positive.

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I can't improve on Sandi's recommendations! I guarantee that Revelations will send you out of the theater walking on air.

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I can't improve on Sandi's recommendations! I guarantee that Revelations will send you out of the theater walking on air.

Thanks to you both. Revelations sounds imperative, and I think I'll go at least on 12/5 and possibly one other.

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Just returned from the Ailey matinee at City Center. The program was Memoria (Ailey), The Golden Section (Tharp), and Revelations (Ailey). What a sensational performance from everyone. The dancers looked absolutely stunning in the Tharp. While I'd seen a video of the Tharp dancers performing this many years ago, my only live viewing of this piece was with the vintage Hubbard Street Dance Company, while it was still under Lou Conte. The Ailey dancers were more physical and engaged in the choreography than I remember Hubbard to be, and I'll tell you, the Ailey men should have their own calendar.

The company could add Revelations to every program forever, and I would not get tired of seeing it. It's just plain genius, and it's obvious that the dancers love it as much as the audience.

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Just returned from the Ailey matinee at City Center. The program was Memoria (Ailey), The Golden Section (Tharp), and Revelations (Ailey). What a sensational performance from everyone. The dancers looked absolutely stunning in the Tharp. While I'd seen a video of the Tharp dancers performing this many years ago, my only live viewing of this piece was with the vintage Hubbard Street Dance Company, while it was still under Lou Conte. The Ailey dancers were more physical and engaged in the choreography than I remember Hubbard to be, and I'll tell you, the Ailey men should have their own calendar.

The company could add Revelations to every program forever, and I would not get tired of seeing it. It's just plain genius, and it's obvious that the dancers love it as much as the audience.

It sounds like a great program -- I thought that the company would thrive in The Golden Section, and I'm so glad you had the chance to see it.

And yes, there's a very high hunk-factor in the company, isn't there...

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Just returned from the Ailey matinee at City Center. The program was Memoria (Ailey), The Golden Section (Tharp), and Revelations (Ailey). What a sensational performance from everyone. The dancers looked absolutely stunning in the Tharp. While I'd seen a video of the Tharp dancers performing this many years ago, my only live viewing of this piece was with the vintage Hubbard Street Dance Company, while it was still under Lou Conte. The Ailey dancers were more physical and engaged in the choreography than I remember Hubbard to be, and I'll tell you, the Ailey men should have their own calendar.

The company could add Revelations to every program forever, and I would not get tired of seeing it. It's just plain genius, and it's obvious that the dancers love it as much as the audience.

This was the same performance I got to! I can't add much except to say the whole afternoon was just thrilling. I was kind of hoping they'd do an encore for Revelations, but that wasn't to be. Maybe our audience wasn't enthusiastic enough? I thought we were cheering pretty well.

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I was kind of hoping they'd do an encore for Revelations, but that wasn't to be.
Don't forget, Klavier, they still had an evening performance just a few hours away. I've never understood how dancers get through Matinee days, even without encores, and especially at the end of the week.

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A recent -- well, fairly recent -- e-mail from the Ailey Company features three videos: Excerpt from Tharp's The Golden Section, excerpt from Jamison's Reminiscin', and an interview with the charming and dynamic Renee Robinson on the occasion of her 25th anniversary with the company. Congratulations, Renee! :blink:

All three are linked on this page. You need to log in username aileyclub and password 1958.

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Renee Robinson is a wonderful dancer – I’ve enjoyed her performances immensely over the years. Unfortuntely this year even though I went to see the Ailey company 3-4 times I managed to miss her completely.

Still, there are so many wonderful dancers in this company. My 2 favorites this season have been Linda Celeste Sims and Clifton Brown. Sims is very graceful with beautiful, almost balletic limbs but with freedom of movement through her torso and a strong sense of groundedness which is very unballetic -but very Ailey.

I saw her dance The Lake and Two Cities sections of The River (at different performances). They don’t dance this on point, which obviously makes no difference for the men but I found it to be a major drawback in the women’s parts. For me, she was the only one of the women who captured the fluidity of this piece while dancing on demi point. She was stunning in everything I saw her in this season.

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A recent -- well, fairly recent -- e-mail from the Ailey Company features three videos: Excerpt from Tharp's The Golden Section, excerpt from Jamison's Reminiscin', and an interview with the charming and dynamic Renee Robinson on the occasion of her 25th anniversary with the company. Congratulations, Renee! :flowers:

All three are linked on this page. You need to log in username aileyclub and password 1958.

Thanks so much for the link and logins -- I love that piece and am thrilled that they're doing it. What a blast!

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....[Linda Celeste] Sims is very graceful with beautiful, almost balletic limbs but with freedom of movement through her torso and a strong sense of groundedness which is very unballetic -but very Ailey.

I saw her dance The Lake and Two Cities sections of The River (at different performances). They don’t dance this on point, which obviously makes no difference for the men but I found it to be a major drawback in the women’s parts. For me, she was the only one of the women who captured the fluidity of this piece while dancing on demi point. She was stunning in everything I saw her in this season.

And in the finale to a final week performance of The Golden Section she combined virtuosity with the contemplative state of a Saint: this was Catherine in Ecstasy, I think even moreso than in what we saw from Tharp's company a quarter century ago. For years now she has been The Complete Female Dancer in this company, the one you'd come to see if they'd only post their casting. But now she has a co-equal at the top.

Farrell Reborn, Transformed

Alicia J. Graf was a revelation in this company of revelations. She could be brilliant in Balanchine at DTH, and 'though her pointes have been taken away her Farrellesque style has not only been permitted at Ailey, but obviously encouraged to flower. On the same program as Mrs. Sims' exstasis, Ms. Graf danced in Uri Sands' new Existence without Form. She was not in the premiere, so did not receive mention in most reviews (but was heaped with praise in Deborah Jowitt's for VV). Dancing with a knee heavily wrapped, she flung herself gleefully into Farrell unbalances, with corresponding daring amplitude. Her joyous romp/duet with Hope Boykin was not without that Farrellesque glance to tell us that she knew we were watching and had better not even blink. This is a not-to-be-missed ballet, one case where a comissioned score (by Michigan's Christian Matjias) was a perfect vehicle for dance.

Earlier I'd seen her in the somewhat overlong Reminiscin', where her unfettered grand extensions and terrific audience contact first brought The Greatest Dancer of All Time to mind. But it was in Revelations, with live music and without her name listed on the scorecard, that she sealed the deal. Fix Me, Jesus is probably Ailey's masterpiece within a masterpiece. She surely transfixed me. She had the power of Farrell in the opening prayer of Mozartiana. While waiting for Reichlen to get her proper grand Suzanne roles at NYCB, I now know where to get my Farrell fixes. If you are young enough to have not seen Farrell, or old enough to miss her, here's a way to know what her dancing felt like.

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Alicia J. Graf went back to her ballet school in Baltimore recently to teach a class.

The Baltimore Sun article below gives some background on the 27-year old ballerina turned Ailey dancer. After serious injuries earlier in her career, she spent three years earning her BA at Columbia, but eschewed Wall Street opportunities to return to dance. There is also an interview with her teacher.

Graf, 27, is the most famous dancer to emerge from Ballet Royale. The former Centennial High student is a principal dancer with the famed Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which tours the world and is based in New York City.

"Of all the students I've had, this one was given, I believe, a gift from God," said Donna Pidel, who founded Ballet Royale in 1994 and was Graf's dance instructor. "She's definitely the most gifted student I have had."

http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/...rtslife-theater

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Three stars are leaving Ailey. From today's e-mail from the company:

FINAL PERFORMANCES FOR DWANA, ASHA AND WENDY!

Catch the Company’s final spring engagement at New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark for three performances only, May 4-6. Two different programs will offer repertory favorites from Alvin Ailey, Twyla Tharp, Ulysses Dove, Hans van Manen and Uri Sands.

This weekend will mark the final performances by Company members Dwana Adiaha Smallwood, Asha Thomas and Wendy White Sasser. The Sunday matinee will feature all three women in the beloved Ailey masterpiece Revelations. Come say farewell and thank-you to these extraordinary dancers for the passion and artistry they have shared with Ailey audiences around the world.

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