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Kevin Wynn's Tracing Sirocco at the Ailey Citigroup Theatre
-Onstage with the Dancers

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The Kevin Wynn Collection
Premiere of Tracing Sirocco
(Kevin Wynn Website)
Company Manager: Jana Hicks
242 East 15th Street #7
New York, NY 10003

Ailey Citigroup Theatre
405 West 55th Street at Ninth Avenue
New York, NY 10019
(Theatre Website)


Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 7, 2006
Originally Published on

Kevin Wynn, a dance professor at Purchase College, once a soloist with Limón Dance Company, is known for choreography of energized and unique works. Tracing Sirocco is a bit more than one hour, performed without intermission, and is set in an African desert to music by Luna Reyes, with costumes by Kendell Jenkins and Nadia Tarr. The musical score is perfectly conceived for the Ailey Citigroup Theatre, as the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is housed in this bright new building and its genre is often connected with pulsating African-inspired, modern dance.

Tracing Sirocco is non-stop propulsion of an ensemble of 16 dancers, with cartwheels, leaps, lifts, anger, adoration, sorrow, seduction, dives, fights, roll-overs, roll-unders, swinging, and embracing, to a Gospel-African-New Age score. An advantage of Citigroup Theatre is the sophisticated lighting, in patterns, stripes, spots, and spotlights, with ever-changing variations in color, texture, and brightness. Strange crackly sounds contrasted with exotic percussion in a blaze of buoyant movement. There were African chants and African language in faint repetitions, with a whirling dervish of solos, duos, and ensemble choreography that had no pause.

This primal work includes male dancers in snakelike attacks, with aggression juxtaposed with anxiety, angst, and alarm. A sorrowful Gospel was heard at the height of electronic mayhem, replete with kick-boxing imagery and lunges to dancers' shoulders. The second half of the work featured flesh-colored costumes, in contrast to the solid, chocolate silkiness of the first half attire. Two male dancers wore athletic thongs in near naked dance, but later added African wraps to match the flowing shirts and costumes of the ensemble. The lighting in the second half was brighter and the electronics were oceanic. The predatory hovering of the males occurred in this section, before wind chimes rang against deep electric tones.

The treacherous choreography with catapulting dancers resumed, as bird calls and airplane engines led to male violence and tension that added even more edge to a most edgy work. Warm red glows appeared with the sound of perhaps a broken record and repeated words winding and fading. All 16 dancers were onstage at the finale with flailing arms to the rhythm of language. Tracing Sirocco is an exhausting work to perform and just as exhausting to experience. Amazingly, all dancers were upright and in good shape at the curtain. Kudos to Kevin Wynn and his 16 dancers.

The Kevin Wynn Collection
Photo courtesy of John Horne

The Kevin Wynn Collection
Photo courtesy of John Horne

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