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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary!
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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary!

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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary!
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
Dacquiri T’Shaun Smittick, Company Manager
Amadea Edwards, Manager, Performance and Production
Thomas Cott, Director of Marketing
Lynette P. Rizzo, Associate Director of Marketing
Christopher Zunner, Director of Public Relations

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
August 9, 2008


(See Other Ailey Reviews)

Program:

PHASES (1980) (Excerpt) Choreography by Alvin Ailey, Restaged by Masazumi Chaya, Music: “Flight Time” by L. Mizell; played by Donald Byrd, Costumes by A. Christina Giannini, Lighting by Chenault Spence.

Flight Time: Performed by Rosalyn Deshauteurs, Antonio Douthit, Chris Jackson, Gwynenn Taylor Jones, Willy Laury, Khilea Douglass, Roxanne Lyst, Constance Stamatiou.


REFLECTIONS IN D: (1962) Choreography by Alvin Ailey, Restaged by Judith Jamison, Music by Duke Ellington ("Reflections in D"), Costume recreated by Jon Taylor, Lighting by Nicola Cernovitch, Performed by Vernard J. Gilmore.


FOR "BIRD" WITH LOVE: (1984) “From all of us forever touched by his magic”. (Excerpts) Choreography by Alvin Ailey, Music by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Jerome Kern, Original music composed, assembled and conducted by Coleridge Taylor Perkinson, Set and costume design by Randy Barcelo, Lighting by Timothy Hunter.

"Bird" (a man, a musician): Performed by: Alto Sax: Clifton Brown.

Men Close to Him (musicians): Performed by: Trumpet: Antonio Douthit, Piano: Yannick Lebrun, Bass: Chris Jackson, Drum: Kirven J. Boyd, Tenor Sax: Marcus Jarrell Willis.

Women Close to Him (3 singers and a pianist): Performed by Roxanne Lyst, Courtney Brené Corbin, Khilea Douglass, Rachael McLaren.

Showgirls: Performed by Gwynenn Taylor Jones, Constance Stamatiou.

The Progenitor (the man who came before, a club manager): Performed by Anthony Burrell.


BLUES SUITE: (1958) “Dedicated to the memory of our Brother John Sellers”. Choreography by Alvin Ailey, Restaged by Masazumi Chaya, Music: Traditional, Decor and Costumes by Ves Harper, Costumes Redesigned by Normand Maxon, Lighting originally designed by Nicola Cernovitch, Lighting design by Chenault Spence.

Mean Ol’ Frisco: Performed by Vernard J. Gilmore, Malik Le Nost, Abdur-Rahim Jackson, Willy Laury, Yannick Lebrun.


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.

PILGRIM OF SORROW:

“I Been 'Buked”, Performed by The Company.

“Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel”, Performed by Malik Le Nost, Khilea Douglass,
Constance Stamatiou.

“Fix Me, Jesus”, Performed by Gwynenn Taylor Jones, Anthony Burrell.

TAKE ME TO THE WATER

“Processional/Honor, Honor”, Performed by Malik Le Nost, Roxanne Lyst, Yannick Lebrun,
Marcus Jarrell Willis.

“Wade in the Water”, Performed by Rosalyn Deshauteurs, Vernard J. Gilmore, Courtney Brené Corbin.

“I Wanna Be Ready”, Performed by Clifton Brown.

MOVE, MEMBERS, MOVE

“Sinner Man”, Performed by Chris Jackson, Yannick Lebrun, Marcus Jarrell Willis.

“The Day is Past and Gone”, Performed by The Company.

“You May Run On”, Performed by The Company.

“Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham”, Performed by The Company.

After seeing Judith Jamison (Artistic Director) of the Ailey Dance Theater on “Charlie Rose”, talking about the 50th Anniversary plans, I knew this summer Saturday event could not be missed. As it turned out, the weather was perfect, and 55th Street, between Avenue of the Americas and Seventh Avenue, where City Center has its entrance, was closed for a Street Fair. There were hot ethnic food stands, with international cuisines, clothing and jewelry booths, clowns and music-makers, and much more. Large balloon and banner decorations straddled the light-posts, and the ambiance was appropriately festive.

I attended the earliest of the City Center Ailey Anniversary performances, with excerpts and short works, listed above, all choreographed by Alvin Ailey. The stars of the Company, as well as newer members, performed with as much energy and gusto, as ever. But, first, Judith Jamison greeted the crowd, with “Hello New York!” She was exuberant, and City Center was packed for these free performances (reserved early on). Ms. Jamison’s pride and emotions could barely be contained. As always, she thanked her administrative staff, the dancers, the audience, the donors and corporate sponsors, and, as always, in absentia, Alvin Ailey, himself, her mentor and friend. Ailey died in 1989, and he was probably present in spirit.

I was not familiar with “Flight Time”, from Phases, performed by eight members of the Company. It was replete with rapidly running figures, flowing and falling, in joyful abandon. Vernard J. Gilmore danced Reflections in D, smoothly accentuating each of Ellington’s phrases. Mr. Gilmore wore bright blue pants, and his muscularity added strong imagery to this very charismatic work. Balance is key, and his taut physique helped him wind and unwind in solo force. For Bird with Love, in five parts, was mesmerizing and will hopefully be seen more often in repertory. The men, in pin striped suits, held mock jazz instruments, as music by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, and Jerome Kern played on. Clifton Brown remains one of the most riveting dancers today, and here he was as Charlie Parker, with alto sax, in a captivating solo. Females as showgirls (Gwynenn Taylor Jones and Constance Stamatiou) and as singers and a pianist (Roxanne Lyst, Courtney Brené Corbin, Khilea Douglass, Rachael McLaren) were sultry, sexy, and sensational. Anthony Burrell was the club manager, and I look forward to seeing this 1984 Ailey classic again.

“Mean Ol’ Frisco” from Blues Suite was next, and Vernard J. Gilmore, Malik Le Nost, Abdur-Rahim Jackson, Willy Laury, and Yannick Lebrun danced to “Traditional” music, bluesy and fast-paced. The dancers wore black unitards with bare arms, with red bandanas on their necks. Their arm movements were rolling and flailing, and the five mirrored each other’s motion, before falling to the stage, as a train could be heard, rolling by. The virtuosity and endless energy of the Company was fully on view in these challenging choices. As the favorite finale, Revelations was performed in its entirety. Numerous reviews of this work can be seen in this magazine, but my favorite highlights today were “I Been ‘Buked” (The Company), “I Wanna Be Ready” (Clifton Brown), and “Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham” (The Company). Kudos to Judith Jamison, kudos to all of today’s performers and technical artists, and, as always, kudos to Alvin Ailey, who must have been smiling down on his Company.



AAADT in "I Been 'Buked"
from Alvin Ailey's Revelations
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 50th Anniversary
Courtesy of Andrew Eccles




Clifton Brown in "I Wanna Be Ready"
from Alvin Ailey's Revelations
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 50th Anniversary
Courtesy of Andrew Eccles




Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 50th Anniversary
OnstageDancewear.com Guest
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 50th Anniversary
55th Street Fair Celebration
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 50th Anniversary
55th Street Fair Celebration
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 50th Anniversary
55th Street Fair Celebration
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 50th Anniversary
55th Street Fair Celebration
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 50th Anniversary
55th Street Fair Celebration
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 50th Anniversary
55th Street Fair Celebration
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 50th Anniversary
55th Street Fair Celebration
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 50th Anniversary
55th Street Fair Celebration
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 50th Anniversary
55th Street Fair Celebration
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 50th Anniversary
55th Street Fair Celebration
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 50th Anniversary
55th Street Fair Celebration
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 50th Anniversary
55th Street Fair Celebration
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 50th Anniversary
55th Street Fair Celebration
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 50th Anniversary
55th Street Fair Celebration
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 50th Anniversary
55th Street Fair Celebration
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 50th Anniversary
55th Street Fair Celebration
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 50th Anniversary
55th Street Fair Celebration
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 50th Anniversary
55th Street Fair Celebration
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 50th Anniversary
55th Street Fair Celebration
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 50th Anniversary
55th Street Fair Celebration
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 50th Anniversary
55th Street Fair Celebration
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower






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