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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Chroma, D-Man in the Waters (Part I), Lift
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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Chroma, D-Man in the Waters (Part I), Lift

- Onstage with the Dancers

Salon Ziba

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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
At New York City Center

The Company:
Hope Boykin, Jeroboam Bozeman, Sean A. Carmon
Elisa Clark, Sarah Daley, Ghrai DeVore, Antonio Douthit-Boyd
Renaldo Gardner, Vernard J. Gilmore, Jacqueline Green
Daniel Harder, Demetia Hopkins, Megan Jakel, Yannick Lebrun
Alicia Graf Mack, Michael Francis McBride, Rachael McLaren
Akua Noni Parker, Belen Pereyra, Briana Reed, Jamar Roberts
Samuel Lee Roberts, Kelly Robotham, Kanji Segawa
Glenn Allen Sims, Linda Celeste Sims, Jermaine Terry
Fana Tesfagiorgis, Marcus Jarrell Willis
Matthew Rushing: Rehearsal Director/Guest Artist

Alvin Ailey – Founder
Judith Jamison – Artistic Director Emerita
Robert Battle – Artistic Director
Masazumi Chaya – Associate Artistic Director
Joan H. Weill, Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Bennett Rink -- Executive Director
Calvin Hunt, Senior Director, Performance and Production
Dacquiri T’Shaun Smittick, Company Manager
Christopher Zunner, Director of Public Relations
Emily Hawkins, Assoc. Director of Public Relations

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
December 20, 1013

(See Other Ailey Reviews and Photos)

Chroma (2006, Ailey Premiere 2013): Choreography by Wayne McGregor, Music by Jack White and Joby Talbot, Set by John Pawson, Costumes by Moritz Junge, Lighting by Lucy Carter, Restaged by Antoine Vereecken, Performed by a Company ensemble of ten.

This highly muscular 2006 work by Wayne McGregor, an Ailey premiere, is all about stark lighting and shock motion, a gripping tour de force and a great opening for my arrival this Ailey season. The ensemble of six men and four women creates moments of women walking toward men, leaping with scissors kicks and muscular stretches, all in staccato tempo. Sharp defined postures change instantaneously. The central movement was ethereal, like an electronic version of Arvo Pärt’s music, while the choreography was at times evocative of Robbins’ “Glass Pieces”. A rear dark box serves as the starting point for onstage action, fully lit in sharp contrast, with dancers in shadowy profile. Dancers ripple slowly up through their arms, gazing intently at the audience. The larger choreography is propulsive, with weight shifting as dancers push and propel each other. It was interesting to see such familiar performers in new shapes and attitudes, a magnetic viewing experience. Linda Celeste Sims and Antonio Douthit-Boyd were especially gripping and electric.

D-Man in the Waters (Part I) (1989, Ailey Premiere 2013): Choreography by Bill T. Jones, Restaged by Janet Wong, Music by Felix Mendelssohn, Costumes by Liz Prince, Costumes re-created for Ailey by Jon Taylor, Lighting by Robert Wierzel, Performed by a Company ensemble of nine.

Bill T. Jones’ 1989 work is another Ailey premiere, an homage to Demian Acquavella, a dancer who died of AIDS. Tonight’s Part I of D-Man in the Waters was set to Mendelssohn’s ”String Octet”. There were symbolic choreographic elements throughout this work that evoke the scourge of AIDS. With contrasting moods, dancers in khaki and military fatigues move with a sense of casual purpose. They huddle, then switch places in line, one dancer always moving forward and falling. Hands clap over each other, fast, in front of their faces. Dancers roll on the ground, running, falling, rolling, leaping, much like Taylor’s Esplanade. Women surround one male dancer, who supports their forceful collapses, then they support him as well. Alicia Graf Mack and Glenn Allen Sims caught my eye throughout.

Lift (2013): Choreography by Azure Barton, Original Music by Curtis Macdonald, Costumes by Fritz Masten, Lighting by Burke Brown, Performed by the Company.

This final new work, Lift, completing tonight’s unique program, featured choreography by Aszure Barton. Curtis Macdonald’s charged new age music, in an African drum motif, is featured along with Fritz Masten’s costumes, with their feathery-grassy roughness in the design. This is an earthy work, with most of the Company onstage. They dance to some human sounds, and they also perform mating rituals, hence the bird-like skirts. Men are bare-chested and slap their own legs in macho “come hither” fashion. Women lean on the men, a mating dance, and the men fill space with rounded postures. This reminded me of tropical birds I’d seen in the Galapagos years ago. Ms. Barton’s work is primal and pulsating, driven and dynamic.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Alicia Graf Mack and Vernard J. Gilmore
in Wayne McGregor's "Chroma"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
in Bill T. Jones's "D-Man in the Waters" Pt. 1
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's
Jacqueline Green, Linda Celeste Sims,
Kelly Robotham, and Belen Pereyra
in Aszure Barton's "LIFT"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at