Home #Hwoodtimes The Undeniable Relevancy and Resonance of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre

The Undeniable Relevancy and Resonance of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre

Jamar Roberts Farewell Revelations Choreographer: Alvin Ailey Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Credit Photo: ©Paul Kolnik [email protected] NYC 917-673-3003

Starting a Four-Year Exclusive Southern California Residency at The Music Center, the 65th Anniversary Celebration of the Renowned Company is a Resounding Success

By John Lavitt

Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 3-25-2024

Believe it or not (😉), some people do not like Los Angeles. They refer to the City of Angels as an urban nightmare on the edge of the coming apocalypse. However, most of these people do not live here, and most have no idea of this city’s cultural wonders. A perfect example is the recent onset of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre’s four-year exclusive Southern California residency in Los Angeles.

As part of the 21st Season of Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center, the company began opening with a refreshing bang with the LA premieres of  Are You in Your Feelings? and Ode. Closing out the show, the company gave the audience what they wanted by doing a fantastic version of Alvin Ailey’s signature masterpiece, Revelations. Choreographed by the legendary dancer in 1960, the piece remains a rousing display of spiritual expression.

Still, Alvin Ailey would genuinely appreciate how much his dance company has evolved and expanded since his untimely passing in 1989. Indeed, in his heart and soul, Ailey was a true innovator who saw dance as an organic art form that always needs to grow and change. The goal is to stay relevant in changing times while continuing to resonate with the audience. With the LA Premieres of the post-Ailey work, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre proved that its continued relevancy is undeniable.

Choreographed by Kyle Abraham in 2022, Are You in Your Feelings? is a dynamic and vibrant piece about the complexity of male-female relations. Conveying the back-and-forth between desire and misunderstanding, the dancers express their emotions with sensual confusion. In other words, there is nothing easy about feelings or relationships. Scored to a “mixtape” of soul, hip-hop, and R&B, the piece also celebrates Black music and Black culture.

Ode – Choreographer: Jamar Roberts, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (Credit Photo: ©Paul Kolnik [email protected], NYC 917-673-3003)

The most powerful piece of the evening was Ode. Choreographed by Jamar Roberts in 2019, the flower backdrop to the piece with all-female dancers added to the thematic resonance. Indeed, it felt like the women were each the petals of a flower, struggling to blossom together in a challenging environment. The fragility and beauty in life are forever interconnected, and there is no triumph of the light without the shadows of the darkness. The emotive empathy of the dancers brought forth a power of feeling that was truly beautiful to behold.

After the second intermission, the night ended with Alvin Ailey’s signature masterpiece, Revelations. With Glorya Kaufman in attendance, the lovely philanthropist could experience the lasting effects of what she helps so generously to make happen. By providing tickets to a wide range of schools and community centers, the diversity of the audience at the performance was undeniable. When Revelations happened, the audience not used to such live performances was receptive and joyous. With a thunderous reception from the audience, the first night of the company’s Southern California Residency at The Music Center ended with an extended standing ovation. You could not help seeing how such a reception delighted the dancers on stage.

Indeed, it was a success. As Rachel S. Moore, president and CEO of The Music Center, expressed in a press release about the opening night performance, “The diverse pieces that Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will perform, including three works never before seen in L.A., convey the company’s passionate spirit and the dancers’ extraordinary technique… I also want to congratulate Ailey on its 65th anniversary, which coincides with The Music Center’s 60th year, and its continued success in inspiring audiences. We will proudly present this company for many years as it shines a light on the power and beauty of the performing arts.”

Photos by Paul Kolnick (Courtesy of The Music Center)