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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater - Reminiscin', Vespers, Caught, The Winter in Lisbon

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
December 6, 2006
New York City Center
130 West 56th Street
(Audience Entrance is on West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues)
(Entrance for Studios and Offices is on West 56th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues)
New York, NY 10019
212.247.0430

Featured Dance Company:

Alvin Ailey Dance Theater
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
405 West 55th Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 405-9000
www.alvinailey.org

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, General Manager/Director of Production
Amadea Edwards Andino, Manager of Administration
Dacquiri T'Shaun Smittick, Company Manager
Jodi Pam Krizer, Director, Marketing and Public Relations
Lynette Rizzo, Associate Director of Marketing
Jennifer Fyall, Marketing Coordinator
Megan Fortunato, Public Relations Specialist


(See Other Ailey Reviews and Photos)
(See Ailey School Groundbreaking Ceremony)
(See Ailey Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony)
(See Tour of New Joan Weill Center for Dance)
(See Dwana Adiaha Smallwood Interview)


About the Author:
Reminiscin' (2005): (See December 30, 2005 Review). Choreography by Judith Jamison, Music by Various Artists, Costume Design by Ann Hould Ward, Lighting Design by Tim Hunter, Scenic Design by Michael Fagin, Assistant to the Choreographer, Clifton Brown, Performed by Dwana Adiaha Smallwood, Alicia J. Graf, Rosalyn Deshauteurs, Tina Monica Williams, Wendy White Sasser, Courtney Brené Corbin, Jamar Roberts, Chris Jackson, Amos J. Mechanic, Jr., Zach Law Ingram, Antonio Douthit, and Malik Le Nost.

With a late-night bar scene, similar to Hopper's Nighthawks, the Company danced Ms. Jamison's recent work with aplomb. Couples meet, come together, stay together, split up, seduce again, and more. The vocal score includes songs of Roberta Flack, Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and Diana Krall. Ms. Jamison has captured the essence of relationships and related emotions with humor and wisdom. Dwana Adiaha Smallwood, Alicia Graf, and Rosalyn Deshauteurs plus Jamar Roberts, Chris Jackson, and Amos J. Mechanic, Jr., were especially poignant and persuasive in their partnering and solos. Ms. Jamison should choreograph new pieces as often as possible, even though the Company now boasts 200 works by numerous artists, with 79 of these by Alvin Ailey alone.

Vespers (1986): Choreography by Ulysses Dove, Restaged by Masazumi Chaya, Music by Mikel Rouse, Lighting Design by William H. Grant III, Performed by Dwana Adiaha Smallwood, Linda Celeste Sims, Olivia Bowman, Briana Reed, Tina Monica Williams, and Hope Boykin. This electrically charged work, with dramatic drums and lighting, black costumes, and café chairs, has dancers propelling themselves across the stage and against each other. Ulysses Dove's medium is stark sensation, and the audience was breathless throughout.

Caught (1982): (See December 22, 2005 Review). Choreography by David Parsons, Staged by Elizabeth Koeppen, Music by Robert Fripp, Lighting Concept by David Parsons, Lighting by Howell Binkley, Performed by Clifton Brown. I have seen this work performed by ballet dancers at Galas, at Parsons Dance performances, and a few times at Ailey. Last year, I saw this work with Linda Celeste Sims. This year, in a bookend to the electronic Vespers, Clifton Brown took the challenge, and his elevation and lifts were exciting. The timing of the hand-held light, to match the dancer's elevation, to catch him/her in flying mode, is quintessentially challenging, and Mr. Brown did quite well, with a few near misses. It also seemed that the stage lights were a bit less dark than last time, and, for this work to succeed in visual imagery, there must be a very dark stage, only to be lit by the dancer in flight or standing, firmly on the ground. Mr. Brown is to be applauded for his command of the idiom.

The Winter in Lisbon (1992) (Dedicated to the Memory of Gary Deloatch.): (See December 7, 2003 Review). Choreography by Billy Wilson, Restaged by Masazumi Chaya, Music by Dizzy Gillespie (and Charles Fishman, opening theme), Costumes by Barbara Forbes, Lighting by Chenault Spence, Performed by Renee Robinson, Glenn Allen Sims, and the Company. One of the less dramatic dances in the Ailey repertoire, The Winter in Lisbon is uplifting and cathartic. It's a perfect closer, a feel-good dance, pulsating, like Revelations, with Dizzy Gillespie's soaring jazz, with American, Latin, and African roots. Renee Robinson and Glenn Allen Sims were outstanding and edgy in the Lisbon duo, and, in San Sebastian, Guillermo Asca danced with magnetic presence. Billy Wilson has a ballet and Broadway background, and his versatility and eclectic approach to the music were obvious in the choreographed techniques, showcasing this four-segment work. Barbara Forbes bright costumes are notable for encapsulating the brightness of the mood.
Ailey Company Members in Reminiscin' by Judith Jamison

Ailey Company Members in Reminiscin' by Judith Jamison

Photo © & courtesy of Paul Kolnik


Clifton Brown in Caught by David Parsons

Clifton Brown in Caught by David Parsons

Photo © & courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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