Alvin Ailey’s Classic: Revelations

by Shaina McGregor on January 4, 2012

in Dance,Teen Reviews,TRaC


Antonio Douthit and Alicia Graf Mack of the Alvin Ailey American Dance. Photo Credit: Andrea Mohin.

Imagine a performance that fuses ballet, hip-hop and classic modern dance. Imagine an event where a 51-year-old piece of choreography is in the same program as a world premiere and the performances are so spectacular and fresh you have no idea which piece is older.

When part of an Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater experience, you find yourself constantly in awe of each amazing dance. Then… BOOM, Alvin Ailey’s classic, “Revelations“, dominates and you are blown away like never before. The person, in the seat next to you, whether you know them or not, becomes your close friend as together you groove to the beats.

The dancers own City Center’s grand stage as they waltz and ricochet across it from the very first minute; they ensnare you in their force field.  These artists do not follow the music, they are the beat.

In AAADT’S new piece, “Home”, the dancers take on a pedestrian countenance and move through hip-hop as beautifully as an American Ballet Theater danseur performs “The Nutcracker”. Their ability to transform from slinky, cat-like jazz creatures in the first piece, “Night Creature”, to down and dirty street dancers in “Home” is impressive. “Home” exhilarates.

You want a dance that will get you out your seat (literally), but still move you to tears and thoughtful reflection? “Revelations” touches all these aspects. This classic, choreographed in 1960 by Alvin Ailey himself, finds the dancers leaving their heart and souls on stage with every step. You might feel as if you are trespassing, but are too hypnotized to leave.

The technique is breathtaking. A magnificent woman stretches her leg to the sky and sustains its position as she takes a slow turn on her opposite foot. The men seduce the audience by attacking the air with  split jumps and quadruple turns.

Now, imagine that you are one of the dancers, taking your bows and receiving your standing ovations for a job well done. In a question and answer session after the show one of the Ailey performers joyously shares, “I am so grateful to be here and performing on this stage every year. It reminds me why I love to dance.”

Previous post:

Next post: