DANCE REVIEW | Alvin Ailey dancers shine at Orpheum Theatre

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On May 1 and 2, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater was in town at the Orpheum Theatre. Artistic director Robert Battle admitted when he opened the show that “We haven’t been here for a few years, but we’re here now. I’m happy and I want to share my happiness.” He said that he measures the audience’s happiness by ticket sales. The dancers performed for a packed house.

After seeing the performance on May 1, I was left with no question as to why words like illustrious, fantastic, and magnificent always accompany a description of an AAADT show. Collectively the two-hour performances showcased Revelations, a pair of pieces dance legend Alvin Ailey choreographed in 1960, which at the time reflected his life experiences.

The show was filled with the highest leaps and most dynamic turns only a natural-born dancer could make—at some point throughout the five dance segments each dancer was able to showoff their individual talent.

In Takademe, an Indian Kathak inspired piece choreographed by Battle, dancer Samuel Lee Roberts smoothly ticked every inched of his body matching almost every syllable of Sheila Chandra’s Speaking in Tongues.

The Hunt, an all-male dance, is close to the most interesting and fascinating piece most will ever see, considering the choreography and costumes. From the very beginning with the amazing 20-minute opener Home, it was understood that the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre is simply about interpretation through the art of dance. This was no ordinary recital.  Purpose and meaning shined through every motion. Through movements so fluid, beautiful, foreign and precise, the dancers told stories of sorrow, spirituality, banishment, and accomplishment.

A component of Revelations was performed to “Fix Me, Jesus,” dancers Briana Reed and Jermaine Terry leaving a lasting impression.

Although each arrangement represented a different era and subject, every dancer moved as if they kept in mind things every dance instructor or choreographer had ever told them like; “Be sure to keep a strong stance, ” or “Use every extension of your body to portray an honest passion.”

Whether you’re a fan or even cognizant of the musical selections, the company’s 54-year history or the objective of the show, those factors are second to the dancing—what the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is undoubtedly about.


Coverage of issues and events affecting Central Corridor communities is funded in part by a grant from the Central Corridor Collaborative.