By Keith Forest
The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater kicked off its 2012 season with a cast of spectacular dancers displaying sheer originality in a variety of exquisite theatrical pieces. After successfully wrapping up his extraordinary debut season as artistic director, Robert Battle continues to bedazzle audiences with an astonishing suite of performances. Carefully fashioning the old with new, the modern with classic, Battle once again proves his mastery of movement as an equalizer addressing social issues, taboos while uplifting and celebrating a people. “I am thrilled to be further expanding Ailey’s diverse repertory with new voices and talented contemporary choreographers that showcase the depth and breadth of the dancer’s artistry,” said Battle.
Hip Hop Choreographer Rennie Harris returns with his rousing creation Home. Inspired by the poems, stories and images of people living with HIV AIDS that were submitted to the Fight HIV Your Way contest (a Bristol-Myers Squibb initiative), Home with its hypnotic house music score cast an enchanting spell that heals the soul. With dazzling movement, twirls, leaps and hand-clapping adulation, this urban revival testifies, baptizes, redeems and crucifies ones spirit through hip hop movement. Dancer dancing freestyle display a variety of magnetic moves in exaltation to the high priest of rhythm in a comforting safe space called Home.
Czechoslovakian choreographer Jiri Kylian makes his astonishing debut with the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater this season. Contributing quite handsomely to the company’s rich repertory, the European choreographer makes a lasting impression with his provocative Mozart inspired Petite Mort. A French idiom for orgasm Kylian’s Petit Mort is pleasurably stimulating and features a cast of twelve scantily dressed dancers highlighted by four steaming duet performances. Using swords as metaphoric tools, the tantalizing cast of male dancers evokes the art of chivalry by fencing as their ladies-in-waiting break free from their Victorian frocks to join them. With well-orchestrated, sensual movement evoking a slight hint of erotica opposing sexes become one while delighting in the exploration of freedom in unity.
Ailey 2012-2-13 season is a must see. Other performances this season include the world premiere of choreographer Kyle Abraham’s Another Night, Garth Fagan’s From Before, Ronald K. Brown’s Grace, and Artistic Director Robert Battle’s Strange Humor. Performances are running thru December 30 at New York City Center, 131 West 55th street. For ticket and additional information visit www.alvinailey.org.
Photo credit: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Alicia Graf Mack and Jamar Roberts. Photo by Andrew Eccles.