BWW Reviews: Alvin Ailey's FROM BEFORE, World Premiere of LIFT, and REVELATIONS
I admit I was a bit daunted at the task of writing a review for Alvin Ailey. I mean, this is the 42nd season- what do you say about the show that hasn't already been said before? But upon telling my friends and colleagues where I was going on Friday night, I was met with a lot of questions. Alvin Ailey- what is that? Who are they? What kind of dance do they do? Never heard of it. I was in shock. How was it possible that someone, especially peers who grew up in New York, had never heard of this incredible company. And suddenly, I felt like I had a purpose again. I had the opportunity to introduce my friends and my readers to the amazing Alvin Ailey Company.
I first saw Alvin Ailey perform when I was 16 years old. I was visiting New York for the first time and, being a dancer myself, begged my dad to take me. Of course, he agreed, having no idea what he was getting himself into but, a few hours later, we both left the show in awe. Years down the line, and I live in New York now- I've seen many spectacular Broadway and dance performances and am blown away by the talented performers who live in this city on a daily basis, but there's still something just completely awe-inspiring about Alvin Ailey.
For those who don't know, Alvin Ailey is a modern African dance company that is best known for its strength, powerful isolations, and breath-taking lifts and leaps, and did I mention strength? Despite the horrible downpour of rain outside on Friday night, the house was packed and buzzing with excitement and anticipation for the world premiere of Lift, choreographed by Assure Barton. The artistic director came on stage before the show began to let us know that "if you're still feeling a little chilly, we'll warm you up." And that's exactly what the night did.
The evening began with a performance of From Before, which premiered at Alvin Ailey last year. This piece is a wonderful demonstration of the complete control these company dancers have over their bodies, with hard-hitting isolation of their hips, shoulders, chests, and even feet. They hit the accents in the music strongly, their bodies completely in tune with the African drums. These dancers performed with confidence, completely comfortable in their bodies and their movements. The choreography for From Before, done by the incredible Garth Fagan, keeps my love and hope for dance alive and well. In a world of dance where tricks are quickly becoming more popular and prevalent than form and actual dance choreography, it's refreshing to know there's a place where dance is still alive and going strong- and that place is Alvin Ailey. Fagan's choreography was perfectly designed in order to showcase these incredible dancers' skill, balance, and strength.