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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Hymn, Among Us (Private Spaces: Public Places), Revelations
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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Hymn, Among Us (Private Spaces: Public Places), Revelations

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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
www.alvinailey.org
At City Center
www.citycenter.org

Alvin Ailey – Founder
Judith Jamison – Artistic Director
Joan H. Weill, Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Masazumi Chaya – Associate Artistic Director
Sharon Gersten Luckman --Executive Director
Calvin Hunt, Senior Director, Performance and Production
Terence Dale, Company Manager
Thomas Cott, Director of Marketing
Lynette P. Rizzo, Associate Director of Marketing
Christopher Zunner, Director of Public Relations

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
December 18, 2009


(See Other Ailey Reviews and Photos)

Hymn (1993): Choreography and directed by Judith Jamison, restaged by Masazumi Chaya, Text conceived, written, and performed by Anna Deavere Smith, Music by Robert Ruggieri, Original costumes by Toyce Anderson, Costumes redesigned by Jon Taylor, Set by Timothy Hunter, Daniel Bonitsky, & Donald J. Oberpriller, Lighting by Timothy Hunter, Performed by Constance Stamatiou, Amos J. Machanic, Jr., Glenn Allen Sims, Clifton Brown, Hope Boykin, Abdur-Rahim Jackson, Antonio Douthit, Anthony Burrell, Guillermo Asca, Rosalyn Deshauteurs, Renee Robinson, Jamar Roberts, Linda Celeste Sims, Matthew Rushing, Yusha-Marie Sorzano, Kirven James Boyd.

I had last reviewed this work in 2003, ten years after its creation by Judith Jamison. At that time and tonight, Ms. Deavere Smith appeared live, and this is one fine actor. Hymn is a series of dance vignettes that re-tell the legacy of Alvin Ailey. The voices one hears are Ms. Smith, as the various directors and dancers in the current and past Ailey Company, and Mr. Ailey, in his own taped recordings. Ms. Jamison has developed unique choreography that even allows the dancers to move just to dialogue. The solo mime performances, along with Robert Ruggieri’s music and Toyce Anderson’s iconic costumes, present the demeanor of Mr. Ailey, such as Glenn Allen Sims’ Never Spoken. Mr. Ailey is also depicted in realistic and poignant memories.

Renee Robinson dances her own memory vignette in The Search for Perfection, and Rosalyn Deshauteurs and Clifton Brown were mesmerizing in Cathedral. The passages of silence, dim lighting, and athletic virtuosity, both visceral and vibrant, are awesome. This musical and lyrical tribute is quite a fitting legacy. Other noteworthy vignettes are Yusha-Marie Sorzano’s A Message, Matthew Rushing's Whores in a Whorehouse Comin' to Church, and Linda Celeste Sims' sensual and sensational Black Dress. Ms. Deavere Smith takes on the exact accent of Ms. Jamison, Masazumi Chaya (Assoc. Artistic Director), and Ms. Robinson, as the dramatized dancer dances.


Among Us (Private Spaces: Public Places) (2009): Choreography by Judith Jamison, Assistant to the Choreographer: Clifton Brown, Original composition by Eric Lewis, Costumes by Paul Tazewell, Lighting and scenic design by Al Crawford, Performed by the Company. On second viewing, Among Us, from a different seating perspective, was even more meaningful.

Once again, Clifton Brown was the bluebird-like Genie, Jin, with his rhythmic head movement that transfixes his image. His muscularity gives his sleek radiant unitard a primal portrait in blue. Tonight’s cast was the same as my first viewing (December 4, 2009), but it seemed more improvisational in the theatrical gestures and more comfortable within the spaces of Ms. Jamison’s fantasy art gallery. In Afterwards, Clifton Brown, Matthew Rushing, and Vernard J. Gilmore were intriguing, reminding me of Jerome Robbins’ 1944 Fancy Free, while Ronni Favors and Matthew Rushing, in Lost & Found, were animated and engaging. As always, Linda Celeste Sims and Glenn Allen Sims, here again in Brights, were a show on their own.


Revelations (1960): Choreography by Alvin Ailey, Music: Traditional, Décor and Costumes by Ves Harper, Costumes for "Rocka My Soul" Redesigned by Barbara Forbes, Lighting by Nicola Cernovitch, Performed by the Company.

After the multi-layered, previous two works, I was ready for some spirituals, Revelations to the rescue. In tonight’s cast, we were royally treated to Clifton Brown’s I Wanna Be Ready, right on the heels of his marvelous performances in the previous two works! This is one artist with stamina. He was just as energized and brawny as if this were his first appearance for the night. Wade in the Water took on new dramatics, with Linda Celeste Sims, Glenn Allen Sims, and Brianna Reed, and Ms. Sims and Mr. Sims could dance this work just as perfectly and with such detail, probably in their sleep. Sinner Man brought out Anthony Burrell, Yannick Lebrun, and Michael Francis McBride in their iconic scissors leaps across stage en air.

Kudos to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. You can catch them on tour by checking www.ailey.org.


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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
in "Hymn"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik


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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
in "Hymn"
Courtesy of Nan Melville


<
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
in "Hymn"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik



src="http://www.robertaonthearts.com/images/photos/LindaCelesteSiims.JPG" />
Linda Celeste Sims in
Judith Jamison's
"Among Us"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik


Clifton Brown in
Judith Jamison's
"Among Us"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik


Jamar Roberts in
Judith Jamison's
"Among Us"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik


Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
in "Revelations"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik



For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net