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Review: Alvin Ailey at Clowes


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A promotional photo showing Ailey's current cast performing 'Revelations.'
  • A promotional photo showing Ailey's current cast performing 'Revelations.'
Alvin Ailey dancers illuminated four different styles of choreography with their signature vim, vigor and verve, attentive to the musicality inherent in each work.

Paul Taylor's playful yet majestic Arden Court, set to excerpts from several William Boyce symphonies in the Baroque tradition, was an exhibition of grace in motion, revealing what artistic director Robert Battle lauds as Taylor's genius for poetic dance, luring us into the contrasts between dark and light emotions.

While the company of nine together and individually gave the four movements expressive interpretations of relationships, the male dancers particularly were magnificent in the Adagio, a Taylor innovation showcasing the beauty of their bodies.

Kirven James Boyd gifted a bravura rendition of Battle's Takademe, alternately coy, wry, whimsical and philosophical, propelling himself through animated visualizations of Sheila Chandra's "Speaking in Tongues II," vocalizing syncopated syllables as Indian Kathak dance rhythms.

The process of evolving and going back to the beginning animates the compelling storyline of Rennie Harris Home, which requires the dancers not only to appropriate hip-hop but equally to "evolve" rapid, leaping moves from slow-motion spatial configurations. In homage to Alvin Ailey, Home honors his canon and goes beyond to the moves of the street and the club with a raw energy commanding attention to nuances of bravado and sexual intensity, driven by music by Dennis Ferrer and Raphael Xavier.

Closing with Revelations, Ailey's signature work that over 53 years, set on adaptations and arrangements of ten Traditional songs and an original composition by Ella Jenkins. No matter how often one experiences Revelations, it never fails to inspire reexamining the drift of one's life and finding deeper motivations to make a difference for the betterment of humanity.


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